Western Carolina University Chancellor David O. Belcher announced Friday, Nov. 4, the appointment of a 15-member search committee that will help select the university’s next director of intercollegiate athletics.
Belcher also announced that Collegiate Sports Associates, a North Carolina-based executive search consulting firm, has been hired to assist the committee in its work. The firm was founded by Todd Turner, a 30-year veteran of intercollegiate athletics administration whose career includes stints as director of athletics at four major universities – the University of Connecticut, N.C. State University, Vanderbilt University and the University of Washington.
Shea Browning, associate general counsel at WCU, is chairing the search committee, which includes current and former student-athletes, Catamount Club representatives, and members of the external community with experience in athletics administration.
“This committee features a broad cross section of people who have a deep interest in Catamount athletics,” Belcher said. “I am urging the members of the committee to conduct this important search as quickly as possible. At the same time, I want them to take the time they need to conduct an extremely thorough search to ensure that we find the strongest possible leader who can take our athletics program to the level of excellence we expect.”
The committee will search for a permanent successor for C. Joseph “Chip” Smith, WCU’s former director of athletics who held the position from September 2004 until Oct. 25 of this year. Fredrick Q. Cantler, WCU’s longtime senior associate athletic director for internal operations, who retired in March after 33 years of athletics administration, agreed to come out of retirement to serve as interim director of athletics.
The committee’s decision on the next director will play a major factor in deciding Western Carolina’s University’s next football coach, as former head coach Dennis Wagner resigned from his position after last Saturday’s loss to Appalachian State University.
In a press release from the university, WCU officials stated that the hiring of a new football coach will “commence immediately and the completion of that search will be a top priority of the university’s next director of athletics.”
Members of the search committee:
Joseph D. Crocker, director of the Poor and Needy Division of the Kate B. Reynolds Charitable Trust. A former member of the WCU Board of Trustees and board chairman from 2001 until 2003, Crocker is a member of the WCU Foundation Board. A 1974 graduate of WCU, he was a member of the men’s tennis team.
Boyce Dietz, regional field representative for U.S. Rep. Heath Shuler (D- N.C.). Former head football coach at Swain High School, where he served for 20 years as director of athletics, he was president of the N.C. High School Athletic Association. A 1971 graduate of WCU who earned his master’s degree from WCU in 1984, he is former director of the university’s W Club.
Fred Goldsmith, field representative for the Fellowship of Christian Athletes. A resident of Franklin, Goldsmith was formerly head football coach at Rice University (1989-93), Duke University (1994-98) and Lenoir-Rhyne College (2007-10), and at Franklin High School (2001-05).
Samantha Hodge, current WCU student-athlete and a member of the women’s soccer team. Vice president of the Student Athletic Advisory Council, Hodge is a member of the class of 2013.
Dale Hollifield, retired customer service manager at UPS. A member of the Catamount Club Board of Directors from 2005 until 2008, Hollifield is a 1965 graduate of WCU and played on the WCU football team from 1962 until 1964.
Gorham Bradley, WCU assistant director of athletics for development and director of the Catamount Club. A 2004 graduate of WCU, Bradley is a former member and former coach of the men’s golf team.
Larry Hunter, WCU head men’s basketball coach.
Gibbs Knotts, interim dean of the WCU College of Arts and Sciences. Knotts is the university’s faculty athletics representative, serving as the liaison between the faculty and the Department of Athletics. He currently serves as president of the Southern Conference, and ran track and cross country at the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill.
Dianne Lynch, WCU chief of staff.
Greg Parsons, retired senior vice president with Blockbuster Entertainment. Parsons is president of WCU baseball’s 1002 Club and is a member of the Catamount Club board of directors.
Kirk Roach, sales executive with ADP. Roach, a former student-athlete who was an All-America placekicker with the WCU football team, played professionally in the National Football League. He is a member of the WCU Athletic Hall of Fame and his No. 14 Catamount jersey has been retired.
Kevin Stanberry, coowner and vice president of Stanberry Insurance Agency. A 1994 graduate of WCU, he is a member of the Catamount Club board of directors.
Dave Thompson, regulatory and compliance manager for Amwins Group Inc. A 1975 graduate of WCU, Thompson is a member of the Catamount Club and is president-elect of the organization.
Laura Leatherwood, vice president of student and work force development at Haywood Community College. Leatherwood earned a bachelor of science in business administration with a concentration in business law at WCU in 1993 and went on to earn her master’s and doctoral degrees from WCU in 1996 and 2007, respectively. A member of the Catamount Club board of directors, she serves on the College of Business advisory board.