Posted: Aug 22, 2012 8:04 AM by Breanna Roy - MTN News
Updated: Aug 22, 2012 8:14 AM
MISSOULA- It's been a summer of uncertainty for Grizzly athletics, but on Tuesday there was a little more security as the University of Montana announced its four finalists to fill the vacant Director of Athletics position.
Even after UM's bold move of firing the head football coach and athletics director in March, and despite the three ongoing outside investigations of the school, it turns out the job has a lot of appeal as more than 60 people applied for the spot.
"We were fortunate to receive an extremely strong and large pool of candidates," UM President Royce Engstrom commented.
The search committee selected four finalists to interview on campus next week.
Carl Clapp of the University of Hawaii at Manoa , where he works as an Associate Athletics Director, is one of the finalists. He's also held A.D. positions at three other schools in the continental United States.
Kent Haslam is the only local to make the list. He's been the Associate Athletic Director for Development with the UM Foundation for six years, and before that he spent six years at Northern Arizona University. He was also Manager of Media Communications for the Salt Lake Olympic Organization Committee back in 2002.
John Johnson is a familiar face to the Big Sky Conference, having spent seven years as Athletics Director at Weber State, until 2004 when he moved north to Washington State University where he works currently as Senior Associate Athletics Director.
Finally, Chris King made the list. He's been Director of Athletics at the University of Texas- Pan American since 2009 and before that, he was an Associate Athletic Director at the University of Alabama for seven years.
"This is a very desirable job, obviously, people from all across the country felt that the University of Montana represented a good opportunity for them, so, again we were delighted to see such a strong pool," Engstrom said Tuesday.
We'll get to meet all four candidates in person at public forums next week as each finalist will spend a full day at campus interviewing with everyone from members of the athletic program to President Engstrom himself. The first visit is scheduled for Monday, which is also the first day of classes for students.
Each forum will run from 5:15 to 6:15 p.m. in the University Center Theater. Clapp will be on hand Monday, Johnson on Wednesday, Haslam on Thursday and King will be there on Friday August 31st.
Engstrom added in a news release that, "These finalists are passionate about their work and exhibit the strong leadership skills needed to take Grizzly Athletics to an even higher level of excellence. I encourage you to actively participate in the forums and provide your feedback to the members of the search committee."
One name that didn't make the list of finalists was UM's Associate Athletic Director Jean Gee, who's been holding down the top spot all summer. Back when she applied for the job, she told us it wouldn't bother her if she didn't get the slot/ She said at the time she's just happy to continue to work in the UM Athletics Office.