UMass athletic director search appears to be winding down



Last modified: Thursday, April 16, 2015

The UMass athletic director search could be drawing to a close shortly.

According to multiple UMass sources, former Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore and Buffalo associate athletic director Allen Greene both met with various campus representatives Thursday, while Georgia Tech associate athletic director Ryan Bamford came to campus Friday.

Originally there was supposed to be a five finalists. One withdrew prior to this round of interviews, while another pulled his name from consideration on Friday.

The position opened when former athletic director John McCutcheon announced he was leaving to become the athletic director at California-Santa Barbara on Jan. 29. A search committee chaired by vice chancellor John Kennedy working with Parker Executive Search narrowed down the initial list of possible choices. Members of the committee interviewed an undetermined number of candidates at a Bradley Airport hotel earlier this month to create a list of finalists.

Kennedy hasn’t responded to multiple phone messages. But sources said that a decision could be made as soon as this weekend with an announcement coming as early as the beginning of next week.

Fiore, who was fired at Stony Brook at 2013, has been a controversial candidate. UMass’ Center for Education, Policy and Advocacy, an agency of the student government, has encouraged people to write letters against Fiore via its Facebook page and included a sample letter signed by two UMass athletes. It references an espnW story that alleges mistreatment of employees by Fiore at Stony Brook:

“Dear A.D. Search Committee Chair Kennedy, Committee, and all it may concern, The University of Massachusetts chapter of GO! Athletes, the national organization of LGBTQ collegiate student-athletes, finds the consideration of Jim Fiore as Athletic Director unacceptable. The search committee’s consideration of Fiore as a candidate for Athletic Director directly contradicts the University of Massachusetts’ efforts to cultivate an LGBTQ-friendly environment for all students, including an increasing number of student athletes. In November of 2013, Fiore was dismissed with 31 months left on his contract as Athletic Director at Stony Brook University. Only a few days later, Kate Fagan, journalist from espnW trusted by UMass’ Derrick Gordon to publish his coming out story, reported Fiore was accused of discriminating against his staff and University employees based on gender, age and sexual orientation. Fagan’s article was supported by anonymous sources within Stony Brook Athletic Department and Fiore’s staff. Fiore allegedly interrogated both coaches and student athletes concerning their sexual orientation. The athletic director for the University of Massachusetts must lead the university in tackling important issues regarding the future of UMass Athletics and foster an environment where staff members, students, and athletes feel safe and represented. As acknowledged by the Search Committee’s chair, Vice Chancellor John Kennedy, the next AD must also be the ‘face of UMass Athletics’ and we find Jim Fiore’s actions to contradict the values that have been so passionately upheld by the University. It is critical that UMass Athletics continues its work to affirm the integrity and standards of our University’s commitment to all LGBT students, coaches, and faculty. As such, we call on the committee chair, the committee, interim AD Robert M. Goodhue, Chancellor Subbaswamy, and the AD search committee to immediately dismiss Jim Fiore as a candidate for UMass Athletic Director, including assuring that he is not invited to campus as a finalist for the position.”

FOOTBALL SCHEDULE — UMass spokesmen John Sinnett confirmed that the Minutemen and Rhode Island have mutually agreed to cancel their scheduled football game during the 2016 season. Neither school will pay a buyout for dissolving the contract. UMass is searching for Bow Subdivision opponents to fill its schedule for that season and releasing Rhode Island, a Championship Subdivision team, gives them some flexibility on dates. The Minutemen can likely add another FCS team at a later day. For URI, withdrawing allows them to play Kansas that weekend for a higher payday.

FBSchedules.com announced the dates of UMass’ upcoming series with Georgia Southern. The Eagles will play in Amherst of Foxborough on Oct. 21, 2017, while the Minutemen will travel to Statesboro, Georgia, on Sept. 8, 2018. UMass and Georgia Southern met in the Division I-AA playoffs in 1998 and 1999. Both have since moved to the FBS.

Matt Vautour can be reached at mvautour@gazettenet.com. Get UMass coverage delivered in your Facebook news feed at www.facebook.com/GazetteUMassCoverage


 


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