Archive for Wednesday, May 14, 2003

Search for AD on hold

KU’s quest to heat up after commencement

May 14, 2003


Pursuit of a new Kansas University athletic director is more or less on hold this week because of the numerous functions associated with commencement.

Chancellor Robert Hemenway and interim AD Drue Jennings are a committee of two seeking a replacement for Al Bohl, who was fired April 9 after only 20 months on the job.

"I know I've been busy," Jennings said Tuesday. "But it's just crazy for the chancellor. He has so many things to do."

Nevertheless, Jennings said he has been "trying to do a little bit every day" and has talked with Hemenway on a regular basis since April 28.

"There hasn't been a lot of progress," Jennings said. "We've been pulling together some names and making phone calls. But we haven't compiled a formal list."

Jennings said he has received a "smattering" of unsolicited resumes and letters and phone calls from alumni and friends recommending potential candidates.

Commencement will be Sunday, so Jennings is hoping he and Hemenway will be able to devote more time to the process next week.

Hemenway is chair of the NCAA Division One board of directors and has said he plans to use contacts he has made while serving in that post to identify potential successors to Bohl.

It's believed Hemenway also has talked with Chuck Neinas, a former Big Eight Conference commissioner who now runs Neinas Sports Services Inc. in Boulder, Colo. Neinas assisted four Big 12 Conference schools -- Missouri, Oklahoma, Kansas State and Texas A&M; -- in finding new athletic directors.

Several names have surfaced as possibilities, including three in-house candidates -- associate ADs Richard Konzem and John Hadl and Williams Fund director Jay Hinrichs. Other possibilities are listed on the Web at, including the odds on their chances of landing the job.

One name on that list is Gale Sayers, the former KU football All-American who was in town last week for his annual golf fund-raiser for the School of Education.

Sayers, who runs a computer company in Chicago, may have been approached about the KU job while he was here. Sayers was athletic director at Southern Illinois University from 1976-81.

Hemenway has targeted July 1 as the starting date for the person who will take charge of the $27-million budget of the KU athletic department.

"Or even sooner than that," Jennings said. "Once the ball starts rolling, I think it will go quickly."

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