University of Georgia President Michael Adams appointed an interim athletic director Tuesday and a small search committee to find the next athletic director — but the timeline is still up in the air.
Adams named Frank Crumley, a longtime employee of the UGA Athletic Association, to the position during a regular monthly media briefing.
“The past five days have been very difficult, even sad, for all of us,” Adams said. “But we still have important work to do, and it is time for us to move on.”
Following Damon Evans’ arrest Wednesday night on a drunken driving charge, the changes happened quickly. Evans apologized in a news conference Thursday, resigned from his position when talking to Adams on Saturday and signed the separation agreement Sunday. The Athletic Association board of directors executive committee agreed to make the resignation official Monday.
But the next decision will take time.
“Hopefully, it’ll come sooner rather than become a drawn out process,” Crumley said. “And not to make light of it, but things will be business as usual.”
Crumley, executive associate athletic director for finance and business since 2007, is responsible for day-to-day operations, budget planning and reporting, contracts and information technology. He doesn’t plan to change operations while in the interim position.
“We’ll continue to do what we do on a daily basis. I want everyone to relax and get back to normal,” he said after the media briefing. “I’m surprised [about the interim position] because it happened so quickly ... Damon didn’t micromanage, and I’m not looking to change anything.”
Adams said a search of this kind “typically takes six months to a year,” and he wouldn’t be surprised by a longer or shorter time.
“In all these cases, anyone you want already has a good job,” he said. “So you have to work with someone else’s schedule as well as your own. It’s important to not box ourselves in on a timeline.”
Adams said he wants a person with a high level of experience in the business of athletics, a person who understands and appreciates athletics at this level, as well as a person with integrity and supreme abilities.
David Shipley of the UGA Law School is chairing the search committee. He is the university’s faculty athletic representative and has served as the University Council’s representative to the athletic board.
“It ought to be a very attractive position,” Shipley said after the meeting. “The first thing we’ll do as a committee is get together and talk about the logistics, administrative support, advertising and job description.”
Finding someone before school starts in August is “not realistic,” Shipley said, and a decision by January “may be nice, but may be optimistic.”
Other members include Swann Seiler, former president of the alumni association and a member of the Athletic Association executive board; Tom Landrum, senior vice president for external affairs; Carla Williams, senior associate athletic director and senior woman administrator; Jack Bauerle, the university’s head swimming coach and the U.S. women’s coach for the 2008 Olympics; and Robert Trey Sinyard, a student who serves on the Athletic Association board.
Williams is considered by many to be a candidate for the job, but she said after the meeting she is “focused on the task at hand” and not thinking about the position.
Adams said he wants the committee to look outside the university for a replacement, but would not rule anyone out as a possible successor.
“I want an outsider to take a hard look at how we’re doing things and what we’re doing and do it better,” Adams said Tuesday. He met with coaches after the media briefing Tuesday to talk about moving forward and keeping the athletic program strong.
“This university is bigger than any one person, than the person we’ve regretfully lost,” he said. “It’s bigger than me, bigger than any of us. We’ll be here to survive, thrive and fight.”
Adams described the last few days as “clearly one of the most difficult times I have been through.”
“I care deeply about Damon and his family,” Adams said. “He has done a terrific job the last six years. I regret deeply the closure and the kind of closure that this relationship had. Once I learned all the facts, there was no choice in what I had to do.”
Adams said he wanted to acknowledge many good things Evans did while at UGA, including building a strong staff in the Athletic Association.
“I know they are ready to move forward, believe we are strong enough to move through this, and are well positioned for the future,” he said.