Missy Meharg, longtime coach of the Terps field hockey team, is among those who will help find a successor to recently departed athletic director Kevin Anderson.
Missy Meharg, longtime coach of the Terps field hockey team, is among those who will help find a successor to recently departed athletic director Kevin Anderson. (Doug Kapustin / Baltimore Sun)

Maryland hired a national search firm specializing in sports and entertainment to aid in finding a new athletic director, the school announced Thursday.

An eight-person search committee, which includes major athletic donor Barry Gossett and longtime field hockey coach Missy Meharg, was also named to help find a successor to Kevin Anderson.

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In a letter posted on the university's website, university president Wallace D. Loh wrote that "Maryland is launching a national and confidential search" for a new athletic director.

"​A national search​ means that we ​seek and consider all ​qualified candidates," Loh said. "​A confidential search​ means that​ we secure the privacy of all candidates. The only candidate who will be identified ​publicly is the one ​named​ as the new Athletic Director."

The search committee will be chaired by Darryll Pines, Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering. Among those also named to the committee include Michelle Eastman, Loh's chief of staff, and Nicholas Hadley, a professor of physics and the faculty athletic representative.

Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson resigns at end of six-month 'sabbatical'

In a move that was expected from the day it was announced he was taking a six-month “professional development sabbatical,” Maryland athletic director Kevin Anderson resigned, the school announced Friday.

Meharg, who has been the school's field hockey coach for 30 years, is one of two coaches named to the committee. Track and field coach Andrew Valmon was the other. Mark Butler, chairman and CEO of Ollie's Bargain Outlet and a UMD Foundation Board trustee, will also serve on the search committee.

According to Loh's statement, Turnkey was involved in the search for athletic directors at Michigan, Minnesota, Nebraska, Georgia Tech, Alabama, Tennessee, Georgetown and Bowling Green.

Turnkey founder and CEO Len Perna, as well as former Villanova athletic director Gene DeFilippo, now Turnkey's managing director, will be oversee the process of vetting the candidates and setting up the interviews.

"I anticipate​, as do ​the consultants, that the ​UMD ​Athletic ​Director position ​will attract strong candidates​ from throughout the nation," Loh wrote.

Anderson, who had been the school's athletic director since 2010, officially resigned two weeks ago Friday, nearly six months to the day when he started a six-month professional development sabbatical.

Executive athletic director Damon Evans, who took over Anderson's duties on a daily basis last October, is expected to be a serious candidate for the job.

Another potential candidate mentioned is former Connecticut and current Hofstra athletic director Jeff Hathaway, a Maryland graduate who was rumored for the job when Anderson succeeded Debbie Yow.

The search is expected to take up to four months, Gossett said last week after donating $21.25 million for a learning and personal achievement center for student-athletes that will have his name and his wife Mary's attached.

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