ENMU’s search ongoing

By Kevin Wilson: CNJ staff writer

PORTALES — Later this summer, Eastern New Mexico University expects to have a new athletic director and men’s basketball coach.

But school officials aren’t married to any idea the athletic director must precede the coach he or she will oversee.

“In a perfect world, that’s what we like,” ENMU President Steven Gamble said. “There could be reasons the athletic director search ends up taking longer. But our goal is to have an athletic director that can talk with the candidates.”

Faculty athletic representative Gene Smith is heading the committee to replace Maguire, who requested reassignment after eight seasons as athletic director.

History professor Don Elder heads the committee to replace Shawn Scanlan, who was let go after nine seasons as Greyhound basketball coach.

The school aims to get both positions filled by July 1, the date Maguire will step down as athletic director. But it’s not a drop-dead date, Smith said, and he said his committee is more focused on a “prudent, well thought out” search.

“I’m optimistic we will have one here this summer,” Smith said, “but whether it’s July 1, who knows?”

Smith said he is informing athletic director candidates of the basketball vacancy, and that they may or may not have a role in filling it depending on when they are hired.

Gamble said both committees have received about 70 applications, and will get to a list of 12-15 semifinalists for telephone interviews. A final group of three to five candidates will be brought in for campus tours and interviews.

“Ideally, it would be nice to have three people that stand out above the rest, that you can bring for on-campus interviews,” Gamble said. “Sometimes, it’s not that defined. You’ll have four or five who are relatively equal on paper.”

Neither Elder nor Smith discussed specific candidates, but said a few candidates have local connections. Smith said candidates with local connections aren’t so much tied to ENMU as they are to Clovis, Portales or other schools in Lone Star Conference.

The university expects to pay the next athletic director in the low $80,000 range, Gamble said. That’s less than the $91,000 Maguire is making in his final year as athletic director, but Gamble said Maguire’s salary is higher because of his 21 years of employment at ENMU and five years serving as both athletic director and volleyball coach. Gamble said Maguire will continue at the university in a role that’s half teaching, half fund-raising.

The basketball coach position will pay in the mid-$60,000 to mid-$70,000 range, plus profits from the university’s summer basketball camp. Scanlan drew approximately $72,000 before camp money was added, Gamble said.

Scanlan is still under contract with the university through May, and assistant coach Joe Griffin is running the program in the interim.

Elder said basketball coach candidates have ranged from as far as Alaska and Florida, and experience ranges from Division I to NAIA to high school.

“We value all coaching experience,” Elder said, “but the ones that involve scholarships are the ones (where) we place a slightly higher value. It’s not a dealbreaker by any stretch of the imagination, but it’s certainly a positive.”