Finalist pulls out of consideration for SEMO athletic director

Thursday, December 11, 2008

One done, one out and one to go.

Southeast Missouri State University hosted the first of its candidates for athletic director Wednesday, the same day one of the three finalists withdrew from consideration.

Timothy Hall, the athletic director at the University of Missouri-Kansas City since February 2007, pulled out of the process just two days after he was named as a finalist and one day before he was supposed to visit Cape Girardeau for his interview.

John Shafer, the former athletic director at Mississippi and Eastern Kentucky and a longtime athletic administrator at Georgia, met with several groups on campus Wednesday. He participated in Southeast's traditional public forum for high-profile athletic department hires.

Michael Waddell, senior associate athletic director at the University of Cincinnati, will be on campus Friday.

Shafer, 62, has been out of athletic administration since leaving the athletic director post at Eastern Kentucky, another Ohio Valley Conference school, in 2004 after 19 months due to health reasons. He previously had spent four years at Ole Miss and 17 years at Georgia.

"I miss the kids, I miss my colleagues, I miss the associations I had for all those years," Shafer said. "That's all I've done for my entire life. That's what I do. And for that reason, I am standing before you."

Shafer said the key to quickly improving Southeast's athletic program is a change in attitude.

"We're beat up, and there's no reason to be this beat up," Shafer said. "A lot of it is self-inflicted."

Southeast's vacancy was created in October when the university terminated Don Kaverman's employment with 120 days' notice. Kaverman remains on administrative leave until Feb. 7, while associate athletic director Cindy Gannon is serving as interim athletic director.

On the same day Kaverman was fired, the university announced an NCAA investigation into the men's basketball program and placed coach Scott Edgar on administrative leave pending the outcome of the investigation, which is expected in the spring.

The university had just completed earlier this year an NCAA investigation into the women's basketball program that began in January 2006. That investigation resulted in vacating the victories for two seasons, including the 2005-2006 campaign that marked Southeast's first OVC tournament championship in women's basketball and first NCAA Division I tournament appearance.

Shafer said he was able to bring about a quick turnaround at EKU that included OVC All-Sports trophies in the men's and women's programs, improved academic performance and securing new corporate sponsorships.

"I understand the difference between a $50 million budget and a $5 million budget," Shafer said. "I understand the challenges."

Hall has produced results in his 22 months at UMKC, implementing a strategic plan, launching a women's soccer program with a new $5 million stadium for soccer and track and creating a Hall of Fame.

He decided to pull out of consideration sometime between meeting with Southeast's search committee Sunday and contacting a university consultant Wednesday.

Hall said it was a tough decision he and his family made.

"It's a great job, just not the right fit for me at this time," Hall said.

Kathy Mangels, Southeast's vice president for finance and administration, said the process will continue with Waddell's interview Friday. She said the feedback from both candidates' visits will be forwarded to university president Dr. Ken Dobbins for action on filling the vacancy or extending the search.


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