Clemson begins national search for new AD

by - Senior Writer -
Barker said the next AD will have big shoes to fill to follow Phillips.

CLEMSON – Clemson University president James Barker said Thursday that the search for a new athletic director will begin immediately and be national in scope.

Barker, speaking during the press conference to announce the retirement of current athletic director Terry Don Phillips, said Clemson should be an attractive place for the right candidate.

"I think this is an ideal environment to attract athletic director here,” Barker said, then added he doesn’t have a timetable for making a hire. “I think the timetable will unfold naturally. We don’t see ourselves working against any deadline. We will begin today and see how this unfolds. We have – thanks to Terry Don’s work – a very successful environment and someone will have the chance to come in here and build on that. I don’t see that we have a crisis to fix and this is the ideal environment to attract someone.”

Barker said a search committee has already begun its search to find a replacement, with Barker serving as the chair of the three-person committee. The other members are David Wilkins, president of the Clemson Board of Trustees; Janie Hodge, Faculty Athletics Representative; and Neill Cameron, who is the Vice President for Advancement at the university.

“Fortunately, I’ve done this once,” Barker said. “Neill Cameron was a part of that first search, and he will be a part of this one. We’ve had some experience, but I think it’s a whole new environment. The whole cast of characters have changed in that 10 years. It’s a new responsibility and new opportunity for us.”

When asked what has changed since his last search, he said it is having balance the need of today’s fan base – and their quest for instant information – versus the need of doing what’s right for the university

“Communications,” Barker said, “The speed at which decisions seem like they need to be made, and having the wisdom to know whether you need to operate at that pace or to slow it down a little bit, and be more thoughtful. That certainly has changed. The responsibility that is there, the dollars involved. Consider the new contracts that are there for the ACC and from other sources. We’re dealing with really large sums of money now.

“The work that I’m doing on rules for the NCAA, that’s going to put more responsibility back on the universities that has never been there before. The university is going to decide much of what is right and wrong. If they don’t get it right, the punishment is going to be much heavier than it ever has been before, too.”

Barker mentioned expertise a fundraising as a key attribute that potential candidates need to possess.

"I think fundraising will be an important component to the responsibilities going forward,” Barker said. “We want to find someone who fits Clemson and will be very comfortable in this environment. A good fundraiser is aggressive, really skilled with people [and] enjoys interacting with people, finding what’s important to them and shaping what’s important to them in what our needs are, and putting those two things together. “

Barker said that while members of the Athletic Advisory certainly have the option of helping with the search and making suggestions, finding and hiring the right candidate will primarily be the focus of the search committee, and he will ultimately make the final decision.

"I don't think there's any reason to drag it out for any extended period of time,” he said. “It does allow us the chance to be thoughtful and open to suggestions. I will be open to suggestions of people and qualities."

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