Chancellor Zeppos shares community responses to Athletic Director search

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Chancellor Zeppos shares community responses to Athletic Director search

Anchor Dash on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Photo by Claire Barnett

Anchor Dash on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Photo by Claire Barnett

Claire Barnett

Anchor Dash on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Photo by Claire Barnett

Claire Barnett

Claire Barnett

Anchor Dash on Saturday, September 9, 2017. Photo by Claire Barnett

Cutler Klein, Sports Editor

As the search for a new athletic director continues, Vanderbilt chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos shared feedback from the community on what the university should be looking for in a new athletic director.

In a new blog post, Zeppos listed a number of priorities expressed to him in meetings over the last month or so, including fundraising, marketing to the city of Nashville and facilities.

Zeppos also reaffirmed the administration’s support for competing in the Southeastern Conference.

He concluded the post by announcing that the new athletic director will be tasked with developing the Athletics Strategic Plan, similar to the Academic Strategic Plan developed with Provost and Vice Chancellor Susan Wente, that will “drive all decision-making, including a capital campaign for athletics.”

On fundraising, Zeppos said “Our next athletics director will partner with me and the National Commodore Club, Development and Alumni Relations, the Board of Trust and many other partners to develop a fundraising strategy to support our athletics priorities.”

He also noted that those he met with wanted an athletic director that will be able to market Vanderbilt’s teams to the greater Nashville community amid dipping attendance numbers at Vanderbilt Stadium.

“Our next leader will create strong, unmistakable and exciting connections between Vanderbilt athletics and Nashville,” Zeppos said. “He or she will also build our brand regionally and nationally to turn out the Commodore faithful on the road. The wild success of the Nashville Predators, the steady fan base for the Tennessee Titans and the recent securing of a Major League Soccer team show that Nashville is a city that loves sports. The new athletics director will be tasked with tapping into the pride that our home city has for its teams.”

On facilities, Zeppos assured that fundraising for upgraded facilities will be a priority.

“With a plan and success in fundraising, we will be able to focus on our fan experiences and the overall needs of our student-athletes,” he said. “Our students, friends and fans want athletics facilities that match our reality and our aspirations—to bring home championships. We are committed to finding an athletics director who will carefully consider how to ensure that our facilities and fan experience match the caliber of our athletics program and who will develop a plan to get us there.”

Overall, Zeppos said that the entire process is based around the notion that “outstanding athletics and outstanding academics must go together, and Vanderbilt will lead the way.”

Athletic director David Williams announced that he will be stepping down at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. In October, the university announced that it had hired the search firm Korn Ferry to help with the search for a new athletic director.

The search committee for the position is led by Zeppos and includes Board of Trust chairman Bruce Evans, Board of Trust Athletics Committee chair John Ingram, former student-athlete and Associate Dean of the Vanderbilt School of Medicine Ann Price and former Vanderbilt Basketball star Shan Foster.

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