More than two months after Maryland cut ties with athletic director Kevin Anderson, the search for his successor appears to be focusing on three candidates.
According to sources familiar with the process, the search committee assigned by university president Wallace Loh will conduct on-campus interviews with each of them this week.
Along with acting athletic director Damon Evans, current Temple athletic director Patrick Kraft and former Tennessee athletic director John Currie were also expected to be interviewed.
The three candidates were recommended to the search committee by an outside search firm hired by Maryland to identify a potential successor to Anderson, who held the job for a little over seven years before leaving campus suddenly last fall and resigning April 13, just as his six-month sabbatical was to run out.
It isn’t known how long the interview process will take and when a decision might be reached. The interviews were supposed to take place last week, a source said, but were postponed because of the death of redshirt freshman football player Jordan McNair.
McNair, a resident of Randallstown who starred at McDonogh before coming to College Park last year as a four-star prospect at offensive tackle, died last week after collapsing during offseason conditioning drills May 29. The cause of death has not been revealed. McNair’s funeral was Wednesday.
After keeping a fairly low profile in the aftermath of Anderson’s departure, the most high-profile campus death since All-America basketball player Len Bias died from a cocaine overdose in 1986 two days after being picked No. 2 overall by the Boston Celtics, Evans, 48, has been put into the spotlight.
Evans and third-year football coach DJ Durkin conducted an emotional and sometimes tense news conference the day after McNair’s death, when they were questioned about the timeline leading up to and immediately after the player struggled to recover after a series of 10 110-yard sprints.
Evans came to Maryland in November 2014 after having his career in athletic administration revived by Anderson. Evans had been athletic director at Georgia, where he also played football, for six years (2004-2010) before he was fired after a DUI charge.
After being athletic director at Kansas State for eight years, Currie served just nine months as vice president and athletic director at Tennessee, where his tenure ended abruptly when he failed to land a suitable replacement for fired football coach Butch Jones last fall.
Kraft, too, is not without controversy. After being well-regarded during his first seven years as both senior associate athletic director and athletic director at Temple, he was accused by some friends of longtime Owls men’s basketball coach Fran Dunphy of trying to force the 69-year old to retire. Dunphy eventually agreed to retire after the 2018-19 season, with former Owls star Aaron McKie as his assistant and coach-in-waiting.