CARBONDALE -- SIU President Randy Dunn has appointed an 11-person committee to select the school's next athletic director, according to a news release earlier today, and hopes to fill the position this spring.
Dunn did not respond to an interview request sent earlier today, but issued a press release that named the members of the committee. Terri Harfst, the director of SIU's office of financial aid, will chair the committee. Dr. Roger Herrin, a current member of the SIU Board of Trustees, along with a current Saluki coach (track coach Connie Price-Smith), two students, two former student-athletes and four staff members make up the group.
Oscar Medina, a senior distance runner on the track team and the president of the Student Athletic Advisory Committee, and softball player Alyssa Wunderlich are the students on the committee. Former basketball player Barry Smith, who is a former president of the SIU Alumni Association, and former quarterback Joel Sambursky will help pick Mario Moccia's successor.
Moccia left after eight years to become the new athletic director at New Mexico State, his alma mater.
Sambursky, a member of SIU's Hall of Fame, was on the board of trustees before new Illinois Gov. Bruce Rauner removed him earlier this month as part of a state-wide purge of Pat Quinn appointees. Rauner removed more than 160 state workers from their jobs, but left open the possibility of them being reappointed. Major Gen. Randal Thomas, the chairman of the SIU Board of Trustees, told The Southern Illinoisan earlier this month he would ask the governor to reappoint Sambursky to the board.
Faith Miller, an associate professor in dental hygiene, and Julie Partridge, an associate professor in sport and exercise psychology, were the two faculty representatives on the search committee. Partridge took over for SIU's interim athletic director, Dr. Harold Bardo, as the Salukis' NCAA faculty athletic rep last year. Matt Baughman, the assistant to the chancellor, and Julie McDannel, an administrative business associate in the chancellor's office, are also on the committee.
Reached at her office earlier today, Harfst declined to comment on what kind of candidate the committee will seek, as it hasn't met yet. Harfst said the committee plans to meet with Dunn on Friday afternoon to talk about the parameters of the search.
In addition to hiring a new athletic director, SIU is in the middle of pursuing a new chancellor and new provost.