It’s been more than seven weeks since Penn President Amy Gutmann announced that Athletic Director Steve Bilsky will retire effective June 30. So for the first time in 20 years, Penn is looking for a new athletic director.
That process is expected to begin in earnest later this month. Penn Vice President for University Communications Stephen MacCarthy confirmed to The DP Monday that Provost Vincent Price’s office is coordinating the search and plans to announce advisory committee membership after spring semester classes begin on Jan. 15.
Leo Charney, a spokesperson for the Provost’s office, also confirmed to The DP Monday that membership announcement has been slightly delayed since not all prospective members have been available to indicate their availability over winter break.
“The successor, you’re not involved in that, you don’t want to be,” Bilsky said on Nov. 21, the day Gutmann announced his retirement. “Where I’m involved in is the global challenges, what lies ahead. I have a great relationship with the Provost so we talk about those kinds of things, but when it comes to checking and selecting people, that’s their call.”
It remains to be seen which members will comprise the advisory committee. A comparable search is ongoing at Princeton for Athletic Director Gary Walters, who announced in September that he will step down at the end of June 2014, the same time as Bilsky.
A website entitled The Athletic Director Search launched on Sept. 23, following Walters’s retirement announcement on Sept. 4. The Princeton Athletic Director Search Committee includes two faculty members, two coaches, two student-athletes, two administrators and three alumni. Princeton also held three open forum dates in October and November in which members of the Tigers community were invited to weigh in on the athletic director search.
Bilsky’s predecessor, Paul Rubincam, a 1959 Penn alumnus and former Penn basketball player, served as director of alumni affairs at Wharton before becoming athletic director. Rubincam had also worked for the University since 1962. Two other names that were rumored in connection with the athletic director post upon Rubincam’s resignation were Jerry Berndt and Ed Zubrow, both ex-Penn football coaches. Fred Shabel, Penn’s athletic director from 1967 to 1975, was the first non-Penn alum to ever become athletic director.
So if history repeats itself, Bilsky’s successor is likely to have ties to Penn, but the next couple of months will reveal whether that trend continues.