The Claremont-Mudd-Scripps Athletic Department has been searching for a new director of athletics ever since Terrance Tumey’s departure for Division I Fresno State in June 2018, and the search process is likely reaching its end.
“The search is progressing on time and we are hoping to have finalists on campus later this spring semester and ultimately have the new director of athletic, physical education and recreation on board by this summer,” said Sharon Basso, Claremont McKenna College’s vice president of student affairs and chair of the search committee.
The search for a new AD has been an interactive process involving members of the administration, current athletes and staff.
CMS hired Odgers Berndtson, a consulting group specializing in sports leadership in higher education, to head the search. Berndtson held three open meetings on campus in October to converse and build a candidate profile for the position.
Basso also reached out to students at CMC, Harvey Mudd College and Scripps College and encouraged them to share their input with the firm through an email survey.
Berndtson took the information gathered from students and staff during the fall meetings to create an extensive position brief explaining the AD position, CMS values and the application process. The hiring team has been in recruiting mode since January.
Last week, the team gathered to review applicants and narrow the field for the first round of interviews. The finalists for the position will be forwarded to CMC President Hiram Chodosh, who will make the final hiring decision in consultation with the presidents of HMC and Scripps.
Ellery Koelker-Wolfe CM ’19, a guard on the CMS women’s basketball team, and the current president of Student Athlete Advisory Committee, attended one of the meetings to share her thoughts on what a good candidate would look like.
“Students were essentially there to tell the firm about what it is like to be an athlete here,” Koelker-Wolfe said. “[Berndtson] wanted to get an understanding of the three-college dynamic, what we value here and how athletes are really here to compete and win.”
Even though she is a senior and won’t personally see the changes the new AD might make, it was important to Koelker-Wolfe to have her voice heard throughout the hiring process.
“I’ve seen CMS through a couple of transitions, and I’ve also seen CMS take off with a string of national championships last year, and I take a lot of pride in this program and want to see the success continue,” Koelker-Wolfe said.
One of the senior’s suggestions to the firm was to look into female candidates for the position.
She also shared her input on the alumni network within the CMS community and the ways that a new AD might strengthen the network for athletes. Most of all, she wants a candidate who embraces Division III athletics.
“Mainly, I’d like to see a new hire who understands Division III and wants to be in Division III, instead of using Division III as a platform to get to a Division I school,” Koelker-Wolfe said.