Stanford University targeted Northwestern’s Jim Phillips for its vacancy at athletic director, telling him he is the school’s top choice. But Phillips told an executive at the firm conducting the search that he is not interested in the job, sources told the Tribune.
Phillips was out of town Saturday and unavailable for comment. But sources said that even after Phillips’ initial “no thanks” reply, the school asked to meet with him in the Chicago area. Though the job would pay as much as $1.4 million a year, Phillips declined.
The job became vacant when Bob Bowlsby left to become commissioner of the Big 12. Bowlsby pushed for Phillips, a Ph.D. who last month was named AD of the Year for the Central Region by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
Phillips last year signed a 10-year contract with Northwestern after being courted by Illinois, his alma mater. Phillips and wife Laura have strong Chicago roots, and Phillips is working to gain approval from NU’s Board of Trustees for a massive facilities upgrade.