MARQUETTE - Northern Michigan University has named its three finalists for its athletic director position after whittling down the field of potential replacements for former AD Ken Godfrey from 100 to three.
University of Alaska Fairbanks Director of Athletics Forrest Karr, University of North Dakota Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs Sean Johnson and David Diles, the director of athletics and chair of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics at Case Western Reserve University in Cleveland will be brought to campus to make public presentations before the the search committee, led by NMU's faculty athletic representative Julie Rochester, makes a recommendation to NMU President Les Wong.
Times and dates for the presentations have not been set at this time, according to the university.
"Our three finalists stood out from among the others due to their exceptional past and current experience and their vision of where they could take NMU intercollegiate, club and intramural programs, as well as the United States Olympic Education Center programs in the future," Rochester said in a statement released this morning. "We're excited to have the NMU campus and community meet David, Sean and Forrest."
Karr has been the AD at NCAA Division II Alaska-Fairbanks since 2005 and prior to that, was the school's assistant athletic director for compliance. He was an Academic All-American hockey player for Notre Dame.
Johnson has been in his position at NCAA Division I North Dakota since 2008 and is in charge of cooperate sales, ticket sales, marketing, public relations and broadcasting.
Prior to UND, Johnson was an associate athletic director and sports information director at Texas A&M Kingsville from 2006-08 and associate/assistant athletic director at New Mexico State from 2001-06.
Diles has been AD of NCAA Division III Case Western since 2005 and prior to that, was the AD at NCAA Division I Eastern Michigan from 1999-2005. EMU won 21 Mid-American Conference titles during his tenure.
Diles also spent time in a variety of positions at St. Bonaventure, Auburn, Central Michigan, Dexter Community Schools and the University of Michigan. He was the New York Jets' assistant director of public relations in 1984.
Godfrey stepped down as athletic director on Jan. 19 after being on medical leave since October of 2010 when he was diagnosed with acute myeloid leukemia. While he has beaten the cancer, he continues to struggle with the graft vs. host disease after receiving a bone marrow transplant.
NMU's Associate Athletic Director of Operations, Steve Reed, has been serving as the interim athletic director since Godfrey went on medical leave.
Below is a more detailed profile of each candidate as provided by NMU:
David Diles, the director of athletics and chair of the Department of Physical Education, Recreation and Athletics at Case Western Reserve University
- Case Western Reserve's intercollegiate varsity sports teams compete at the NCAA Division III level in the University Athletic Association.
- Diles has held his current position at Case Western since 2005. His responsibilities include management of intercollegiate sports, as well as academic oversight of the physical education curriculum and staff.
- Prior to Case Western, Diles was director of intercollegiate athletics from 1999-2005 at NCAA Division I Eastern Michigan University, which competes in the Mid-American
Conference. During his tenure there, EMU won 21 MAC titles.
- Diles was also the vice president/director of athletics at Division I St. Bonaventure University (1994-99); assistant director of athletics at Auburn University (1991-94) and Central Michigan (1989-91), director of athletics at Dexter (Mich.) Community Schools (1987-89) and administrative assistant in charge of summer camps at University of Michigan (1985-87).
- Diles worked in the National Football League as the assistant director of public relations for the New York Jets (1984).
- Diles holds a bachelor's degree in journalism and a master's degree in sports administration from Ohio University, and a doctorate in education from the University of Michigan.
Sean Johnson, University of North Dakota Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs
- North Dakota is a Division I institution, playing in the Big Sky Conference, Great West Conference and Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
- Johnson has held his current position since 2008. His duties include management of external relations, including corporate sales, ticket sales, marketing, public relations and broadcasting. He serves as the lead administrator for baseball and secondary administrator for men's basketball,football and men's ice hockey.
- He was a part of the athletic administration team that helped North Dakota transition from Division II (in all but hockey) to Division I in 2008.
- Prior to UND, he was an associate athletic director and sports information director at Texas A&M Kingsville from 2006-08, and an associate/assistant athletic director at New Mexico State from 2001-06. He worked in the sports information field at several universities in the early portion of his career.
- Johnson holds a bachelor's degree in education from the University of Missouri-Columbia.
Forrest Karr, University of Alaska Fairbanks Director of Athletics
- Karr has been the UAF director of athletics since 2005, during which time the Nanooks have won three team and three individual NCAA titles. While leading the UAF program, he has helped the school add a women's swimming program, establish a sports hall of fame and undergo several major facilities renovation and construction projects.
- He was the school's assistant athletic director for compliance prior to becoming AD.
- From 2008-10, he has chaired the NCAA Ice Hockey Rules Committee.
- Karr was a hockey academic All-American while playing at the University of Notre Dame and he went on to play professionally in the East Coast Hockey League.
- He graduated from UND with a bachelor's in business administration and completed a law degree at the University of Wisconsin. He is also a graduate of the Sports Management Institute's executive certificate program.