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NDSU narrows athletic director search to four finalists

FARGO – At this rate, Prakash Mathew may not see many football games as the interim athletic director at North Dakota State. A search committee on Tuesday released a list of four candidates it plans on bringing to campus for an interview.

They are: David Crum, senior associate athletic director at Colorado State; Troy Goergen, senior associate athletic director at NDSU; Matthew Larsen, senior associate athletic director at Stony Brook University (N.Y.); and Stephen Watson, athletic director at St. Bonaventure University (N.Y.).

They are expected to be on campus as quickly as their respective schedules allow with the hope of the first candidate coming to Fargo next week.

“This is absolutely lightning fast for anything at a university,” said Jane Schuh, the chair of the committee.

The four were pared from a list of seven through reference checks and phone interviews. The three that didn’t reach this stage were former Northern Iowa athletic director Rick Hartzell, Idaho associate athletic director Tim Mooney and Idaho State athletic director Jeff Tingey.

Schuh said technically the position remains open, but she doesn’t expect anybody else to come into the mix.

“If somebody fantastic and looks like they would be competitive shows up at the last minute, yeah, we could expedite the process but I don’t see that happening,” she said. “The next athletic director will probably come from these four.”

Once on campus, those four are expected to spend an approximate day-and-a-half meeting with university President Dean Bresciani, NDSU coaches and staff, members of NDSU Team Makers booster group, community representatives, members of the Fargo Dome Authority and various people on campus. Bresciani has the final call for the hire.

“We hope they’re just as interested in us as we are in them,” Schuh said.

Schuh said reference checks in the last week included contacting supervisors of each candidate and also people who were not on their reference list.

“The first cut was all on paper,” she said. “Then the first thing we did once they were determined to be qualified was to look at personality issues: Does this person fit what we’re looking for to not only build a program but preserve the good things that are already here?”

NDSU is looking to replace Gene Taylor, who left in late July to accept the deputy director of athletics position at the University of Iowa. Taylor successfully guided the athletic department through a Division I reclassification with several programs reaching national notoriety once tournament eligible.

Taylor’s resume is something the committee takes seriously, Schuh said.

“The athletic director is somebody that is really important on campus,” she said. “Partially of what they do but partially because Gene Taylor made this position something that touches a lot of people. I think a lot of people in this position because he is so visible and well-liked and a great person at his job.”

RELATED STORY: A quick look at the finalists

Jeff Kolpack
Jeff Kolpack covers North Dakota State athletics, the Fargo Marathon and golf for The Forum. His blog can be accessed at On the radio, Kolpack & Izzo sports talk show runs from 9-11 a.m. every Saturday morning. April through August, the WDAY Golf Show with Jeff Kolpack runs from 8-9 a.m.