Penn’s athletic director search is beginning to heat up.
After a new website dedicated to the search announced two open forums — taking place Feb. 11 and 12 — the committee’s website released that Daniel Parker of Parker Executive Search has been retained as the consultant in the process of finding outgoing Athletic Director Steve Bilsky’s successor.
The firm’s website says that Parker Executive Search completes most sports executive searches within 4-5 weeks, keeping up with Penn’s objective to find a new AD by the end of the semester.
Parker Executive Search’s normal timetable proceeds by understanding its client and figuring out the client’s ideal candidate, identifying candidates, facilitating interviews and following up — all while maintaining complete confidentiality, which Provost Vincent Price emphasized two weeks ago.
“These processes work best when there is a lot of information that flows into the committee and no information that flows out,” Price said.
PES has an extensive history in sports-related searches. The firm has been responsible for more than 130 athletic director and coaching placements. PES was also hired to help the NCAA find its new President in 2010 and has played a part in filling 12 NCAA executive positions.
The firm has worked with other Ivy League schools before, organizing Brown and Dartmouth’s athletic director searches in 2004 and 2010, respectively.
However, Parker Executive Search has not been without controversy. Indiana contracted PES to help the school find a new men’s basketball coach in 2006, leading to the hiring of Kelvin Sampson. But just two months into his tenure at Indiana, Sampson was hit with recruiting violations for his time at Oklahoma, giving Indiana a black eye in the process.
Additionally, the firm has taken some blame for coaching hirings that have gone wrong at Kentucky in 2007 and Pittsburgh in 2010.
Past controversies aside, the firm will now play an essential role in the rest of Penn’s search — as PES notes on its website, it organizes both interviews and travel, while also conducting background checks.
So with the addition of Parker Executive Search and all the experience it brings, Penn’s hunt for Bilsky’s successor is in full force.