Jared Osumah of the University of Maine is tackled by Bryant University's Torrey Dixon during their game at Alfond Stadium in Orono in this September 2017 file photo. The Black Bears won 60-12. A search is underway for a new athletics director at UMaine and a new one could be selected by mid-July. Credit: Terry Farren | BDN

Three current University of Maine head coaches, a player on the men’s basketball team and a former Black Bear All-American football player are among the 14-member search committee that will be help choose the institution’s next athletic director.

The new AD will replace Karlton Creech, who left after four years to become the vice chancellor for athletics, recreation and Ritchie Center Operations at the University of Denver.

Jim Settele, the chief of staff to UMaine president Susan J. Hunter, has been serving as the interim athletic director.

Robert Dana, the chairman of the committee and the school’s vice president for student life and dean of students, called it a “very robust and energetic” committee and said “there isn’t a member of the committee who doesn’t bleed blue for the entire institution.”

“I’m very happy with the committee,” he said. “It’s a very good representation of the university. We have representation from athletics, academics, student-life, the alumni association and people from the community. I wanted to have a balanced committee.

“It’s very broad-based and has great depth and a tremendous amount of passion,” he added.

University of Maine women’s soccer coach Scott Atherley, men’s hockey coach Red Gendron and women’s basketball coach Amy Vachon; men’s basketball player Vincent Eze from Bethlehem, Pennsylvania, and former All-American defensive lineman and current business owner JoJo Oliphant will serve on the committee.

Other members include Lynn Coutts, the senior associate director of athletics; Dr. Sandra Urioste-Stone, assistant professor of nature-based tourism; Dr. Niclas Erhardt, the interim dean of the Maine Business School and NCAA faculty athletics representative; Paul Hannigan, longtime athletics supporter and president-owner of Bee Line Cable; Tyson McHatten, assistant athletic director for sports information and communication; Ann Maxim, director of academic support for student-athletes; Dr. Kenda Scheele, assistant vice president and senior associate dean of students; Mike Scott, director of ASAP Media Services and past president of the faculty senate and Seth Woodcock, the senior associate athletic director for development.

Woodcock also served as an interim AD at UMaine after Steve Abbott left.

UMaine has had six athletic directors or interim athletic directors the past 12 years.

The next order of business is to hire a consultant or consultant firm to help with the recruitment of candidates.

The committee will review the consultant candidates next week and hope to choose one by the end of next week.

“We need a consultant who will best serve the needs of the university,” said Dana.

Once they name a consultant, they will start having committee meetings and begin the process of examining resumes and setting up interviews with the finalists.

Dana anticipates having a name submitted to new president Joan Ferrini-Mundy in July. Ferrini-Mundy will take over from Hunter on July 1.

“We’re mindful that she’s taking over on July 1 and that she will have so many things to attend to,” said Dana. “We want her to be able to look at this with every ounce of clarity she needs.

“So I wouldn’t think we would have a name for her before the middle of July,” he said.

Dana, who is being assisted by Chris Lindstrom and Brian Drisko from the university’s human resources department, said he recognizes how important the hire will be.

“The athletic department is an essential element to the university community and the state of Maine community,” he said Dana. “The right person is going to be a person who embraces that and understands how important it is. You cannot understate how important the athletic department is to the whole state. It’s a gem.”

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