COLLEGE PARK -- The University of Maryland's nearly three-month search for an athletic director continued to unravel yesterday when the reported front-runner for the job, Kevin White of Tulane, withdrew his name from consideration.
In a statement released by the Tulane athletic department, White said that he ended his involvement after speaking with Maryland officials on Thursday. Though White continued to say that he had been only a consultant, sources close to the process said that he couldn't reach an agreement over salary and other financial compensation with university President William E. Kirwan.
"I am not now nor have I been a candidate for this position," said White, 43, who has been at Tulane less than three years.
"Moreover, I am extremely pleased with the situation which we enjoy at Tulane and am not motivated to consider any other opportunities. Finally, I spoke with Maryland officials [Thursday]
regarding the search and by way of that communication completed my consultancy."
White became the third person in the past week -- none of whom publicly declared his candidacy -- to withdraw from consideration. East Carolina athletic director Dave Hart Jr., considered by many to be as strong a choice as White, pulled out July 22. Former California and Miami athletic director Dave Maggard, now with the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games, visited the campus last weekend and announced similar intentions Tuesday.
Debbie Yow, the only other administrator who had been recommended to Kirwan by the committee, said yesterday that she has told Maryland officials that she would remain as athletic director at Saint Louis University. Yow, the sister of North Carolina State women's basketball coach Kay Yow, also served as a consultant without ever saying she was a candidate.
Kirwan was unavailable for comment. But Marie Smith Davidson, the president's executive assistant and the head of the university's search committee, said that White's announcement doesn't mean Maryland officials will panic and make a hasty choice.
"The process is moving forward," Davidson said. "Dr. Kirwan still plans to speak with all the people that were recommended to him by the committee. Beyond that, I don't know what else I can tell you."
Speculation is that Kirwan might try making another run at Hart or Maggard, but it seems that Maryland would have the same problems persuading Maggard as it did in trying to get White. In White's case, the biggest obstacle wasn't the athletic department's $6 million deficit but the financial package Maryland could put together.
Citing unnamed sources, the Washington Post reported yesterday that Maryland was trying to find a way to pay White $100,000 more than it paid former athletic director Andy Geiger.
That would have put the athletic director's package at around $250,000, which would be in the upper echelon of the Atlantic Coast Conference. Geiger left Maryland for Ohio State in mid-May.
White is believed to be making around $200,000 at Tulane.
If Maryland doesn't have another candidate lined up, there is a chance that Kirwan could make Sue Tyler, the senior associate athletic director, interim director, as she was for a period of four months between the departure of Lew Perkins and Geiger's arrival in the fall of 1990.
rTC There also is some sentiment within the department to give Tyler a one-year appointment. Tyler is on vacation and was unavailable for comment.