Over the past couple weeks, we at the WMSB have identified prime candidates for William & Mary’s vacant Athletics Director position (articles you can find both here and here). However, what we haven’t talked about yet is the selection process itself. Who’s actually involved in making this monumental decision? What types of questions are the search committee asking these candidates? And which questions do we think are most important to the W&M community?
In this article, we hope to inform our readers on who’s pulling the strings behind the curtain & what types of questions they should they be asking AD candidates. A
nd while we don’t claim to hold any insider information, we certainly can shed light on various pieces of the selection process.
Starting from the top: William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe announced the formation of a search committee tasked with finding the university’s next Director of Athletics back on March 15.
W&M’s search committee is co-chaired by Interim AD Jeremy Martin (who by the way, has done a tremendous job in steering W&M Athletics in the right direction). This same committee is managed and staffed by school consultants and assisted by former Virginia AD Craig Littlepage, who’s affiliated with Collegiate Sports Associates.
Suffice to say, this group is not lacking firepower; the full committee is also loaded with W&M alums. With all this firepower forming a massively diverse range of William & Mary interests, perspectives, & insights, we’d like to think it’d be hard for William & Mary to mess this one up:
Dr. Matthew T. Lambert ’99, co-chair
Dr. Jeremy P. Martin Ph.D. ’12, MBA ’17, co-chair
Ms. Deborah S. “Debbie” Ratliff, W&M Search Consultant
Mrs. Mashea Mason Ashton ’96, M.A.Ed. ’97
Mr. Mark E. Boddy ’87
Mr. Marc K. Elim ’88, P ’21
Mrs. Sue Hanna Gerdelman ’76, P ’07, P ’13
Ms. Peel S. Hawthorne ’80
Dr. Christopher D. “Chris” Lee
Mrs. Jennifer Tepper Mackesy ’91
Mr. Christopher M. Norris ’95
Ms. Nyla Pollard ’21
Mr. Jason L. Simms
Dr. Michael J. “Mike” Tierney ’87, M.A. ’89, P ’15
Mrs. Barbara Berkeley “Bobbie” Ukrop ’61, P ’85
Mr. H. Thomas “Tom” Watkins III ’74, P ’05, P ’11
Mr. Alan F. “Al” Albert ’69, P ’03
Dr. Virginia “Ginger” Ambler ’88, Ph.D. ’06
Mr. Daniel D. Dixon ’17
Mr. Dane Fischer
Mr. Theodore “Ted” Hefter ’21
Ms. Linda A. Knight
Mr. Jimmye M. Laycock ’70, P ’14
Mr. Michael W. “Mike” London, Sr.
Mr. Joseph J. “Joe” Plumeri II ’66
Mrs. Lisa E. Roday P ’13, P ’14
Mr. Todd A. Stottlemyer ’85, P ’16, P ’21
Mr. Michael P. “Mike” Tomlin ’95
So we’ve mentioned several highly qualified AD candidates in recent articles, and now we’ve detailed the search committee that’s involved in the selection process itself. What we must next understand centers around the types of questions the committee is asking during interviews…and are there certain questions the W&M community would like to be asked more than others?
To help us answer this question, a fellow W&M die-hard and Tribe alum was kind enough to brainstorm the below list of interview questions. We’re leaving his name out of this article, but want to pass along our kind regards (via a Thomas Jefferson-inspired “here, here!”). Below is a non-exhaustive list of questions we think are vitally important to the W&M community moving forward — questions that the incoming AD must have good answers for:
- What are your ideas for increasing ticket sales?
- How would you go about attracting students and younger fans to games?
- What steps could Tribe athletics take to make parking, and hence game access, easier?
- What ideas do you have for enhancing game day/night experience at contests?
- What impacts do you see esports having on spectator sports attendance at Wm & Mary?
- What are your ideas for increasing donations from existing donors and expanding the size of the donor base?
- Identify the pluses and minuses of Tribe athletics’ present conference affiliation. What remedies are there for the minuses?
- What are your expectations of the conference commissioner and staff?
- What should the response of Tribe Athletics be if existing conference membership were to change? Should Tribe athletics have a contingency plan for this possibility? What would it look like?
- Are the on field/court competitive outcomes (i.e. win/loss record) produced by Tribe athletics over the last five years sufficient to produce the greater community engagement the College is seeking? Is this record indicative of what Tribe fans should expect over the next five years? Why or why not?
- In your estimation, which has a greater impact on increasing ticket sales/community engagement – win/loss record or the identity of the opposition? Why?
- Charleston’s new basketball coach said at his introductory press conference words to the effect of if Gonzaga can do it, why not here. What would your bumper sticker vision be for Tribe fans at your introductory press conference?
Suffice to say, these are fantastic questions that should be asked across the board to each and every prospective AD candidate that comes through William & Mary’s door. The list runs the full gamut of relevant topics, including conference alignment, recent win/loss issues, current trends in the collegiate athletics space (such as esports), and expectations of the league commissioner.
For us, it’s very hard to key in on any particular question as the most important one, as any incoming AD should have rationally solid answers and sustainable solutions for every single one in order to land the gig. Perhaps a question on Name/Image/Likeness and its potential implications for W&M is also in order. Also asking a prospective AD’s thoughts on the potential for a P-5 Super League breakaway conference (which may happen during their tenure) and how that would affect W&M.
And one more on how the loosening of transfer guidelines (i.e. it’s now easier than ever for athletes to transfer out of W&M) is affecting W&M Athletics as a whole, and how that should be approached in order to achieve sustained athletic success at W&M. But which questions are most important to you? Let us know in the comments and on social media. Are there any that are missing?
With approximately one month until we expect to hear an official hiring announcement from William & Mary, there’s certainly still time for W&M fans and alums to participate in the process — although that time is running short!
As always, the committee welcomes comments, insights and referrals at ADSearch@wm.edu.
LET’S GO TRIBE.