Three finalists picked in A.D. search

Chris Mangan

Chris Mangan

The search to replace retired athletic director Fred Oien has been narrowed down to three people.

Kevin Dustin, associate athletic director for development at Utah State University, Thomas Michael, associate athletic director at Illinois, and Justin Sell, associate athletic director at the University of Northern Iowa, were announced as the finalists for the vacant A.D. position.

“The three finalists all seem to be a good fit for SDSU,” Dennis Hedge, dean of the College of Pharmacy and chairman of the search committee, said. “Their vision of Jackrabbit athletics, the importance of a great experience for our student athletes and a strong desire to be involved on campus and in the community was quite evident.”

The three finalists will be on campus on April 27 to 28 to meet with President David Chicoine, deans, coaches, members of the athletic staff and student athletes. The next athletic director is hoped to be in place by June 1.

A 14-member search committee trimmed a list of over 70 applicants to 8 to 10 people that were invited to initial interviews. The field was then narrowed to the three finalists.

“The committee reviewed a ‘letter of interest,’ résumé and responses to a series of questions relating to the SDSU A.D. position for each applicant,” Hedge said. “From there, invitations were extended to a group of candidates for an initial interview. At the conclusion of the round of initial interviews, finalists for the position were selected and invited to campus.”

At Utah State, Dustin has served as an assistant men’s basketball coach before taking over as assistant athletic director for development. In his current position, Dustin oversees the major fundraising done by Utah State and was executive director of the Big Blue Scholarship Fund.

While Dustin may be an unknown to the staff at SDSU, the other two finalists are familiar with members of the SDSU community.

Michael played basketball at Illinois when men’s head basketball coach Scott Nagy was a graduate assistant there and was part of the athletic department when Chicoine was a vice president. After graduating, Michael worked up from an academic counselor to head academic counselor before taking over as an associate athletic director. Currently, Michael oversees the equipment, sports medicine and strength and conditioning divisions at Illinois.

Sell has worked at football and wrestling conference rival UNI for the last 10 years and has been in his current position – where he supervises the athletic business office, game management, facilities and human resources – since 2006. While he has been at UNI, Sell has overseen projects such as the planning of the $26 million McLeod Center and the $7 million Human Performance Center.

When the three come to campus later this month, the committee will be looking for the right fit for SDSU.

“The team that conducted the initial interviews felt that all three finalists had thoroughly researched SDSU and had a strong appreciation for our university,” Hedge said. “Getting the ‘right fit’ is extremely important, and the interview team is very comfortable with the three candidates that we are bringing to campus.”