The search to find a new athletic director at Southern Miss is running on schedule, according to an update released by the university on Thursday.
USM president Rodney Bennett originally said in December that he hoped to have a new athletic director in place by the end of January.
“My understanding is that the search is progressing as expected to this point,” USM spokesman Jim Coll said in a statement.
USM is in search of a replacement for Bill McGillis, who is stepping down to take over as the University of San Diego athletic director on Jan. 23.
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Eastman and Beaudine, a search firm, is currently helping Bennett identify candidates for the position. The firm is also vetting candidates who have applied for the position.
Bennett is in the process of forming a committee to assist in interviews with the candidates. USM didn't indicate who will be on the committee, but Coll said all “are familiar with the university” and understand what it takes to be an athletic director.
Former Georgia athletic director and football coach Vince Dooley served as an adviser when Bennett hired McGillis in 2013. There's no indication if he is again working with Bennett, a former vice president of student affairs at the University of Georgia.
Some speculation has centered around former Georgia athletic director Damon Evans, who resigned from his position at Georgia in 2010 following a DUI arrest. Evans is currently a senior associate athletic director and chief financial officer at Maryland.
Evans' name was also tied to the USM opening in 2013, but Coll quickly shot down a report that said he was a candidate for the job. There was no such denial from Coll on Thursday when asked about Evans.
“I don't have knowledge of who is in or isn't in the pool,” Coll said.
Other names drawing buzz in connection with the USM job are: New Mexico State athletic director Mario Moccia, Troy athletic director Jeremy McClain, USM associate athletic director Daniel Feig, USM associate athletic director Kent Hegenauer, former USM football coach Jeff Bower, NAIA president Jim Carr (a Gulfport native) and Central Arkansas athletic director Brad Teague.