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USF hires firm to lead search for new AD

TAMPA — The University of South Florida’s search for a new athletic director is taking shape.

USF retained Eastman & Beaudine, a Plano, Texas-based executive search firm that has built a strong reputation for placing athletic directors and head coaches in football and men’s basketball.

In an document dated Jan. 21, USF president Judy Genshaft agreed to retain Eastman & Beaudine for $100,000 plus expenses. Payments will be made in three installments of $33,333, the first due immediately, the second in 30 days and the third at the search’s completion.

Eastman & Beaudine, named by the Wall Street Journal as the best firm of its kind in college sports, normally asks for a fee equal to 33.3 percent of the executive’s first-year compensation – the firm “conservatively’’ estimates the new Bulls athletic director will be paid $500,000 annually – but USF negotiated a reduced fee.

The firm will assemble a pool of candidates for presentation to USF’s AD search advisory committee, which is finalizing its members.

The committee is expected to be chaired by USF College of Business professor Bill Sutton, director of the USF Sport and Entertainment Management program. Sutton, who also has his own sports marketing firm, is on the board of the Tampa Bay Sports Commission.

The firm is known for its discretion and confidentiality, a trademark of its president and CEO, Bob Beaudine, who was once described by Sports Illustrated as “the most influential name in sports you’ve never heard of.’’

Or as Ole Miss chancellor Dan Jones once told the Memphis Commercial Appeal: “Bob knows everybody; everybody knows Bob.’’

Beaudine’s firm has placed more than 40 athletic directors into their jobs. Last year, the firm placed USF executive associate athletic director Bill McGillis, who became the AD at Southern Miss.

USF is seeking a replacement for Doug Woolard, who will retire as AD but will remain at the school in some capacity until his contract expires in July 2015, when he will be 65.

Woolard was hired in 2004 from Saint Louis University. He was not in the original pool of three finalists presented by Neinas Sports Associates, the search firm used by USF. The finalists were Mark Hollis, now AD at Michigan State; Randy Spetman, who became AD at Florida State; and Jon Oliver, assistant AD at Virginia. Woolard was pulled late into the process by Neinas.

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