Just a few days after Debra Gore-Mann stepped down as Athletic Director, the University of San Francisco named Dr. Gary Nelson as Interim Athletic Director. Nelson will be in charge of a team that includes Dr. Jeremy Howell, the faculty advisory representative, and Elizabeth Miles; the three of them will run the athletic department until a new Athletic Director is announced.
Before being named Interim Athletic Director, Dr. Gary Nelson was the head coach for the men’s golf team. Dr. Nelson has been the men’s golf coach since 2005 and he has enjoyed a lot of success with the team. In 2009 Dr. Nelson led the men’s gold team to a West Coast Conference Championship, so he knows what it takes to win. Dr. Nelson should be able to continue to have success as Interim Athletic Director, he has a lot of experience at USF so it won’t be a huge transition in terms of altering the athletic programs.
Dr. Howell is a member of the West Coast Conference executive council. His expertise with the WCC will surely help Nelson and USF. Dr. Howell also teaches in both the Exercise and Sports Science department and the Sports Management graduate program. Dr. Howell and Dr. Nelson should make for a great team because they both will be able to work to their strengths. Dr.Nelson is obviously a good coach who knows how to run a team and develop athletes while Dr. Howell has a lot of expertise with the management side of athletics.
In addition to Dr. Howell and Dr. Nelson, Elizabeth Miles will also be a great addition to the USF athletic department. Before coming to USF, Miles served as the senior administrator for the UC Berkeley athletic department, she held that position for 20 years. Miles has experience in many different aspects of sports management as she held various positions at Cal including Assistant Athletic Director for Olympic Sports, Operations Director in athletic development and the business manager. Besides having success with the management side of athletics, Miles was an accomplished athlete, she was part of the 1984 US Olympic Rowing Team.
In such a short span Charlie Cross has assembled a great interim team that will run USF athletics smoothly until the next Athletic Director is named. Cross has put Jeffery Brand, the Dean of the USF School of Law, in charge of the search committee that will find the next Athletic Director. Cross has said that it will be a nation wide search but has not given a timetable as to when someone will be named to the position. In the meantime the Dons are in good hands with Dr. Nelson, Dr. Howell and Elizabeth Miles.
It will be interesting to see what Brand and his committee will be looking for in candidates. Will they look for someone who emphasizes academics or someone who wants to win at all costs? Hopefully they find someone who believes in a blend of both winning and academics because that is what USF needs to continue improving.