Speculating on Vanderbilt's Next AD

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Knoxville News-Sentinel (Tennessee)


Vanderbilt is looking for a new athletics director after David Williams announced his resignation Tuesday.

The job has its ups and downs. A new AD must balance academics and athletics while figuring out how to renovate the football stadium and compete in the SEC. But it pays about $1.1 million per year, according to Williams' portion of Vanderbilt's most recent tax returns.

Numerous names could surface during the search. But here are some candidates from varied backgrounds that Vanderbilt might consider (in alphabetical order):

Brad Bates: Former Boston College AD and Vanderbilt administrator now works for search firm under former Vanderbilt AD Todd Turner.

David Blackburn: Former Chattanooga AD is now MTSU senior associate AD. He was thought to be the front-runner for the UT job in 2017.

Greg Christopher: Xavier AD and former Purdue associate AD has been coveted for numerous jobs. Xavier's profile fits Vanderbilt.

Sean Frazier: Former Alabama football player and Wisconsin deputy AD is now Northern Illinois AD.

Rick George: Colorado AD was a Vanderbilt associate AD in the 1990s. He's from the past, but he understands the landscape.

Derrick Gragg: Tulsa AD was Vanderbilt football player and administrator in the 1990s.

Mark Jackson: Villanova AD is a strong fundraiser and has been mentioned in searches from Virginia to Southern Cal. He is among the hottest names in recent AD searches.

Joe Karlgaard: Rice AD is a rising star. He was a candidate for the Virginia job, and he fits Vanderbilt. The Stanford alum values high academics and athletics success.

Pat Kraft: Former Indiana football player and Temple AD was a finalist for Maryland AD job.

Doug Knuth: Nevada AD has a good fundraising track record and has been mentioned in numerous searches on the West Coast.

Candice Storey Lee: Former Vanderbilt basketball player, three-time graduate and senior women's administrator serves as deputy AD under Williams.

Chris Massaro: MTSU AD knows the Midstate well and has deep SEC roots as a South Carolina administrator for 20 years.

Rob Mullens: Oregon AD has SEC ties as a former Kentucky deputy AD. He was a finalist for the Auburn AD job.

Joe Parker: Colorado State AD struck a $37.7 million naming rights deal for a new 41,000-seat football stadium, which opened in 2017 on time and on budget. Vanderbilt could use such help with its stadium.

DeWayne Peevy: Veteran Kentucky deputy AD oversees Wildcats men's basketball with a heavy hand in fundraising.

Julie Cromer Peoples: Arkansas senior associate AD has worked at Indiana and in an academics-focused role in the NCAA office. She was among first women in the Big Ten to supervise football operations.

Derek Schiller: Perhaps a curveball, but the Atlanta Braves president of business is a Vanderbilt alum.

Reach Adam Sparks at [email protected] and on Twitter @AdamSparks.

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September 13, 2018


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