Jan. 4, 2012
STORRS, Conn. -
University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst announced on Wednesday that the school will begin a search for a permanent athletic director immediately. Parker Executive Search, Inc. of Atlanta will assist the university in this national search, supporting the committee and the President in the selection process.
The search will be completed with a new athletic director named within next three months.
"This is one of the most important positions at the University, given our tremendously successful athletic programs and the challenges ahead in college sports," says Herbst. "We seek an extraordinary leader who will shape the future of our program, emphasizing above all else - academic performance, transparency and integrity. Our new athletic director will build upon the strength of our programs and will be welcomed into this highly ambitious Husky family. I expect our new leader to maintain the excellence we already have, but to also forge new paths, so that UConn can lead the nation in both winning and student-athlete academic success. We have such wonderful young men and women in our program, across so many highly competitive sports and I expect our athletic director to be a role model to them and to our entire student body."
Interim athletic director Paul Pendergast asked Herbst to take his name out of consideration for the permanent athletic director position and will co-chair the search committee. Pendergast will remain at the university, working with the UConn Foundation, and focusing on fundraising for the UConn Health Center and the Division of Athletics. Pendergast will also manage UConn's outreach efforts and relations with the business community, alumni, partners, donors and fans.
The Athletic Director Search Committee members are:
Paul Pendergast, Committee Co-Chair, Interim Athletic Director
Carol Polifroni, Committee Co-Chair, Professor of Nursing, and Chair of the President's Advisory Committee for Athletics
Andy Bessette `75
, Executive Vice President and CAO, The Travelers Companies, Former men's track All-American and Olympian
Scott Brown, Professor of Educational Psychology, NCAA Faculty Athletics Representative
Andrea Dennis-LaVigne '03, Former UConn Board of Trustees member, Owner, Bloomfield (Conn.) Animal Hospital
Jim Penders '94, `98, Head Baseball Coach, Former Baseball Student-Athlete
Tom Ritter, '77 Law, Vice Chairman, UConn Board of Trustees; Partner, Brown Rudnick, LLP
Rachel Rubin `77, Chief of Staff, Office of the President
Management of the UConn athletics program will be the primary task of the new athletic director, along with all compliance and academic support responsibilities. Fundraising is also key to the position and Pendergast has made significant progress the new athletic director will build upon.
Pendergast successfully secured a $4.5 million gift recently from Peter J. and Pamela H. Werth of Woodbridge, Conn., toward the planned basketball practice facility - the largest single gift to Athletics in its history.
"Paul has done an outstanding job as interim athletic director and we are very fortunate that he will remain here at UConn," said Herbst. "He has provided strong leadership during this period of transition and I cannot thank him enough."
"As I told President Herbst, I'd like to devote all of my time to key areas where I can best serve this institution," said Pendergast. "This is an amazing place and I am excited about the work ahead."
Pendergast will continue to serve as the interim athletic director until the permanent athletic director is in place. Joanne Fazio of the Office of the President will support both the Committee and Parker Executive Search.