Kevin Anderson to be introduced as new Maryland athletic director

By Eric Prisbell and Steve Yanda
Washington Post Staff Writers
Sunday, September 5, 2010; 12:26 AM

Army Athletic Director Kevin Anderson will be introduced as the next athletic director at Maryland on Tuesday, making him just the fourth African American to actively hold the position at a Bowl Championship Series conference school.

The 55-year-old Anderson, who has led the athletic department at West Point since December 2004, will succeed Debbie Yow, who left after nearly 16 years to take the same position at North Carolina State in July.

"Kevin has built a solid program of competitive and academic success at the U.S. Military Academy, supporting the student-athlete and demonstrating that academics and athletics can go hand in hand," Wallace D. Loh, Maryland's recently appointed president, said in a statement. "I am convinced that his leadership will raise Maryland Athletics to even greater heights. We are delighted to welcome Kevin into the Terrapin family."

Terrapins men's basketball Coach Gary Williams said one of the most important factors for him was that Anderson is the "type of person who can make an athletic department a cohesive unit. I'm the basketball coach, but I am also a Maryland grad and I think there is a great deal of potential we can get to."

Maryland's athletic department staff members are scheduled to meet with Anderson at 11 a.m. Tuesday, an athletic department source said. Anderson, who has a strong background in fund-raising, will lead a 27-sport athletic program that has a $55 million budget.

Anderson was among three finalists considered by a 17-member search committee during a two-month search that intensified once Loh was appointed the next Maryland president in mid-August.

Connecticut Athletic Director Jeff Hathaway, a Maryland native who also graduated from the school, was considered the leader until late in the week when discussions about the position broke down for reasons that were unclear, two sources familiar with the interviews said. The reasons were not believed to be related to money. Yow had recommended Hathaway to school officials upon her departure.

Warde Manuel, the athletic director at Buffalo, was also a finalist, the sources said.

Maryland interim athletic director Randy Eaton, the athletic department's chief financial officer who was nominated for the permanent position, said Saturday that he was not asked by the search committee at any point to interview for the full-time position. He also said he was not asked, nor did he offer, any application materials. Eaton said he would prefer to remain in the Maryland athletic department under the new athletic director.

Multiple sources familiar with the situation said Eaton did not actively pursue the permanent job because, in the event he was not selected, he did not want to be seen as a threat to the new athletic director.

Anderson joins Ohio State's Gene Smith, Virginia's Craig Littlepage and Syracuse's Daryl Gross as the only African American athletic directors at the 66 BCS-level schools. Anderson is the only African American athletic director in Army's history and, upon his hiring at West Point, was one of just seven African American athletic directors in division I-A.

Anderson serves as chairman of the Division I men's basketball issues committee and was elected second vice president of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics this past June.

He previously worked as executive associate athletic director at Oregon State, executive associate athletic director for external affairs at the University of California and as director of annual giving at Stanford.

One high-end Maryland donor, who asked for anonymity so he could speak freely about the decision, found the choice uninspiring because of Anderson's lack of experience rebuilding high-profile football programs.

Decisions about the Maryland football program will be among the most pressing for Anderson in the coming months. The team has suffered four losing seasons in the past six years. The school saw a 17 percent drop in season ticket sales following last season's 2-10 record, the first 10-loss season in school history.

After this season, Coach Ralph Friedgen is owed $2 million on a contract that expires following the 2011 season and has said he hopes to continue coaching beyond that. Meantime, offensive coordinator James Franklin was named Friedgen's successor in February 2009 and will be owed $1 million if he is not named head coach following the 2011 season.

A school official said Friedgen, who was not on the selection committee for the new athletic director, will wait until a formal announcement on the athletic director is made before commenting. The Terrapins open the season Monday against Navy.

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