URI sets campus interviews, visits for 3 athletic director candidates

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Senior administrators from Indiana, UMass, URI

KINGSTON, R.I. – July 3, 2007 — The University of Rhode Island will conduct comprehensive on-campus interviews next week with three candidates for the position of director of athletics.

The three are: Thorr D. Bjorn, senior associate athletic director at the University of Massachusetts-Amherst; Timothy M. Fitzpatrick, senior associate athletic director/associate athletic director for external operations at Indiana University-Bloomington; and Gregory D. “Gregg” Burke, interim director of athletics for URI.

The search committee has scheduled two days of interviews, campus tours and community forums for each candidate. The forums, which are open to the public, will be held at the URI Alumni Center, 73 Upper College Road, on the Kingston campus. The forums will begin at 5 p.m.

The forum schedule is: Bjorn, Monday, July 9; Fitzpatrick, Tuesday, July 10; and Burke, Thursday, July 12.

The visits follow two weeks of intensive telephone interviews with eight semifinalists.

“I am very pleased with the search process,” said URI President Robert L. Carothers. “It’s good to see so much interest being shown in URI athletics by professionals within intercollegiate athletics.”

“These three administrators are all high-caliber candidates,” said Bob Beagle, vice president for University Advancement and the search committee chair. “They all come from winning backgrounds and from top-notch programs. They see URI athletics as a great opportunity with great potential, and the University sees their potential hiring as a great opportunity as well.”

Beagle also commended the fine work of the search committee. “The committee has been incredibly hard working and the results reflect its thorough process.”

Each of the candidates will spend extensive time with top administrators at the University, athletics administrators, coaches, student-athletes and faculty and staff. They will also be given tours of the campus and URI’s athletic facilities.

• Bjorn will be on campus Monday, July 9 and Tuesday, July 10. He has been the senior associate athletic director at UMass since March 2004, where he is the day-to-day-supervisor of the $20 million athletic department budget in the absence of the athletic director. In that role he oversees football, ice hockey and men’s and women’s lacrosse. He manages the athletic marketing staff, box office manager and overall ticket operations and serves as the athletic liaison to the Mullins Center management group, Global Spectrum. He works with the directors on all department budgets and is responsible for securing all sponsorship and advertising revenue, which has increased from $400,000 to more than $1.1 million in three years. He has been a key player in the development of UMass’ athletic plan and in the alignment of resources to support the plan.

Prior to his work as senior associate athletic director, he served as interim director of athletics and associate director of athletics at UMass. Before that, he was director of regional sales and marketing for Resort Sports Network, Portland, Maine.

The Hadley, Mass., resident earned his bachelor’s degree in sports management from UMass in 1990, following with a master’s degree in higher education from his alma mater in 1995. For more information on Bjorn go to http://umassathletics.cstv.com/school-bio/bjorn2.html

• Fitzpatrick will be on campus Tuesday, July 10 and Wednesday, July 11. As the senior associate athletic director/associate athletic director for external operations at Indiana since January 2005, Fitzpatrick directs marketing, ticket sales, media relations and publications/website. He also manages the department’s relationship with IU Sports Properties—the department’s multi-media rights holder, and a division of Learfield Sports. The relationship yields a revenue guarantee of $1.6 million in the most recent fiscal year. He serves as a consultant for annual giving and capital campaign planning to the department’s fund-raising unit, the IU Varsity Club, which raised $8.58 million in 2005-06, a new high for annual giving. He oversees football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball programs.

Fitzpatrick also served as chief operating officer/associate athletic director for external operations at the U.S. Military Academy at West Point from June 1999 to December 2005. He was also on the athletic staffs at the University of North Carolina-Charlotte and the University of Pittsburgh.

The Bloomington, Ind., resident earned his bachelor’s degree in English in 1981 from Hampden-Sydney College in Virginia and has a master’s degree in sports administration and facility management from Ohio University in 1982. For more information on Fitzpatrick go to http://iuhoosiers.cstv.com/genrel/fitzpatrick_tim00.html

• Burke will be interviewing Thursday, July 12 and Friday, July 13. He has served as interim director of athletics at URI since May 2006, overseeing 22 Division I sports and an $8.9 million budget. During this time he significantly increased the amount of corporate partnerships with the URI athletics department. Burke serves on the Atlantic 10 Television Committee and helped develop a local package of televised men’s basketball games with Cox Sports Television. He led senior staff in development of department planning, including models for Title IX compliance. Burke also worked with campus administration and outside groups in developing facility renovations to strengthen conditioning, sports medicine and academic advising.

From September 2004 to May 2006, Burke was URI’s deputy director of athletics. Prior to his work at the University, he held the posts of vice president for marketing and public relations for the International Basketball League and associate and assistant director of athletics at Providence College from October 1987 to April 1999.

The North Providence resident earned his bachelor of arts degree from the College of the Holy Cross in 1980 and his master’s degree in education from Providence College in 1998. For more information on Burke go to http://gorhody.cstv.com/genrel/burke_gregg00.html