By TOMMY REZAC
St. Joseph Post
The search for the next athletic director at Missouri Western State University was paused in late October, and will reopen early next year.
That was the decision by University president Elizabeth Kennedy, after three candidates for the job came to campus, met with the community and interviewed for the job.
In an interview with KFEQ, Kennedy said she and the search committee are looking for the best fit, and they weren't going to hire someone just to fill the position.
"We were looking for the candidate who is the right fit for Missouri Western," Kennedy said. "We weren't going to look at the pool and say, 'Well which one of these is the one we want, but which one is the best for us?' So, I'm not about rushing into something or hiring someone just because we need to."
Kennedy paused the search for now, and the position will reopen in January. The search first opened in late July, when former Missouri Western athletic director Josh Looney announced he was taking the same job at Division I North Alabama.
"Believe it or not, there's a season for athletic director searches and we were a little off cycle," Kennedy said. "So, we'll take a little pause for the holidays, come back after early January, get this fired up again and see what we can do."
The three finalists who were on campus this fall were Franklin Pierce University athletic director Rachel Burleson, Illinois State associate A.D. of external affairs Dwight Merilatt and South Dakota School of Mines A.D. Joel Lueken.
Kennedy described all three as "highly qualified and capable people," but said that none stood out as the right fit for Missouri Western at this time.
The main thing Kennedy is looking for is someone who can engage with the community, and someone with a deep background and understanding of athletics and academics.
"And also somebody who has that polish and can stand in front of just about any crowd you can imagine and just command that," Kennedy said, "and also someone who just has that vision for Missouri Western. So, it is the total package we are looking for."
Theresa Grosbach, who has served as interim A.D. since September, will remain in that role.
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