UW-Whitewater names finalists for athletic director position

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Tom Miller
Friday, April 25, 2014

WHITEWATER--After six months of dissecting the resumes of 50-plus candidates, a UW-Whitewater committee has narrowed the list of finalists for the athletic director position to four.

The finalists are: Amy Edmonds, who has served as interim athletic director since Paul Plinske left last August; Charlie Gross, the associated athletic director at UW-Milwaukee; Mike Mattia, senior associate director of athletics at Johns Hopkins University; and Kim Fierke, director of athletics and chair of physical education at Hartwick College.

Plinske left to take over as athletic director at the University of Nebraska Kearney, an NCAA Division II university, on Aug. 23, 2013. Plinske was the AD at Whitewater for nine years.

UW-Whitewater hired a search firm to gather a list of possible successors. The firm came up with more than 50 candidates, according to John Chenoweth, the head of the UW-W search committee who narrowed the field to the final four.

“That was a number that we expected,” Chenoweth said of the search firm’s original list. “We had a quality pool.”

Chenoweth, along with seven other committee members, will supply Chancellor Richard Telfer the pros and cons of each of the final four candidates. Telfer then will make the final decision, and the school will negotiate a contract with that selection, Chenoweth said.

The overall process has been typical for a high-echelon position, said Chenoweth, who has served on many selection committees at Whitewater.

“Six months is pretty typical,” Chenoweth said.

Other members of the school committee include a student-athlete, two head coaches, a vice chancellor for advancement, a director of multicultural affairs and a community member.

The four finalists will participate in open forums starting Monday. The public forums will be held in Timmerman Auditorium in Hyland Hall, Room 1000, from 3 to 4 p.m.

Gross will participate Monday, while Mattia is scheduled to meet Wednesday. Fierke comes Friday, and Edmonds wraps up the meetings Monday, May 5.

UW-Whitewater has become one of the top NCAA Division III athletic programs under athletic directors Shawn Eichorst and Plinske.

Eichorst, who was the UW-Whitewater athletic director from 1999-2003, went on to be a senior associate athletic director at South Carolina from 2004-05, executive associate athletic director at the University of Wisconsin from 2006-2011, director of athletics at the University of Miami from 2011-12 and now is the director of athletics at Nebraska.

So far this year, the Warhawks won NCAA Division III championships in football and men’s basketball, finished second in the national finals in wrestling, finished third in the NCAA Division III women’s basketball tournament, placed fifth in the women’s indoor track and field championships and were sixth in the men’s track and field championships.

Whoever is hired will need to oversee the continuation of these recent accomplishments.

The candidates will address how they plan to maintain that success and their plans to build on that success in the future.

“There’s high expectations,” Chenoweth said. “Both athletically and academically.”

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