Copyright 2018 The Bismarck Tribune, a division of Lee Enterprises
All Rights Reserved
The Bismarck Tribune
GRAND FORKS -- The University of North Dakota has hired Bill Chaves from Eastern Washington as the school's next athletic director.
The school has set a press conference for 11 a.m. Tuesday, Jan. 16, in Ralph Engelstad Arena to introduce Chaves.
Chaves signed a four-year contract worth $200,000 per year Saturday.
Chaves interviewed for the job Wednesday, Jan. 10, and Thursday, Jan. 11. UND President Mark Kennedy offered him the job Friday, Jan. 12, and he officially accepted Saturday morning.
Chaves, 51, has been the athletic director at Eastern Washington since 2007. He will start at UND on March 1.
"I'm feeling very good," Kennedy said. "He's been an athletic director of the year nationally a couple of times. He's achieved a national championship in FCS football and been to the playoffs several times. He's brought a couple teams to the NCAA in men's basketball.
"He's had success with building a coaching team that attracts wonderful athletes with a whole range of sports.
"Chaves will take over for Brian Faison, who announced his intention to retire in October. Faison will remain on as a special advisor to athletes through June 30.
Roughly 50 people applied for the athletic director position according to UND spokesperson Peter Johnson. A 15-person committee narrowed the field down to 12 for video interviews, then picked four to bring on campus.
The other finalists were Western Michigan senior associate athletic director Monty Porter, UND Champions Club executive director Mike Mannausau and Texas-San Antonio deputy athletic director Kellie Elliott.
Kennedy had in-person meetings with all four finalists and received feedback -- both face-to-face and through an electronic system set up for stakeholders. He said that UND had "four great finalists," but Chaves "topped the list when you totaled it all up.
"Chaves is familiar with UND's athletic program because Eastern Washington also plays in the Big Sky Conference.
The Eastern Washington football program won the national championship in 2010 -- something that excites UND football coach Bubba Schweigert.
"Since he's been there, they've been really successful in football," Schweigert said. "I'm sure he understands what it takes to be a successful football program at the FCS level. We hope he can come here and help us and challenge us to get to that level.
Chaves also has hockey in his background.
He's had stints at Quinnipiac, UMass and Northeastern, which all have Division I hockey programs, and his son plays the sport. Chaves frequently attends Spokane Chiefs games. The Chiefs play in the Western Hockey League.
"I think you need to know and love hockey to be able to effectively lead an athletics department at UND," Kennedy said. "He's been at three athletic programs that have had hockey. His son plays hockey. We're looking forward to him immersing himself into the hockey culture here. He's well along the way knowing what it takes to succeed in hockey."
Eastern Washington's men's basketball team reached the NCAA tournament in 2015.
"It's a new change," UND men's basketball coach Brian Jones said. "I think he's obviously really well prepared for this job, for the new opportunity. In his interview, he talked about the excitement in leading us into the Summit and Missouri Valley. Being an AD and doing the things he's done at Eastern Washington, he built that program as a whole into something that's very competitive. I'm excited for that."
Read More of Today's AB Headlines
Subscribe to Our Daily E-Newsletter