Valparaiso’s search for a new athletic director is coming to an end.
Sources indicate the school will announce the hiring of Mark LaBarbera’s successor during an introductory event at the Athletics-Recreation Center on Thursday morning.
LaBarbera announced his retirement in February and is set to end his 18-year tenure at the helm of the department on July 1. By hiring the new athletic director this week, LaBarbera and his replacement will get to spend several weeks working together during a transition period.
Valparaiso began its search immediately upon LaBarbera’s announcement and the school enlisted the services of Parker Executive Search to oversee the national search. Valparaiso President Jose Padilla put forth a series of parameters when launching the search, including “he wants the next Athletic Director to be a former Division I athlete and that he or she have considerable sports management experience in an athletics department at a Division I university.”
Sources with knowledge of the process indicate that Valparaiso had nearly 50 initial applicants that fit the job description. That candidate pool was slimmed down to 12 candidates and each received a video interview. Four candidates advanced to in-person interviews which were held on Valparaiso’s campus over the last several weeks.
(Editor Note: I’ve been asked repeatedly over the last several weeks why I haven’t had constant updates on the search. The reasoning is pretty simple: No one would talk. Valparaiso ran a tight search and a good process that included anyone in the know signing Non-Disclosure Agreements. Valpo and Parker wanted to keep the process quiet in order to get the best candidates for the position, and who can blame them? Loose lips sink ships and torpedo job candidacies. At a certain point, I just stopped asking, choosing to respect that process. As much as floating names might have boosted page clicks and subscriptions, I’m also of the belief that not every fabric of the process needs a magnifying glass on it. I thought about lurking in every corner of campus on the days the candidates were interviewing, but to what end? The announcement will come and The Victory Bell will be ready. I hope you can respect that approach.)
Regardless of who is selected as Valparaiso’s athletic director, that person will have a lot of work to do right out of the gate. On Wednesday morning, The Victory Bell will examine the biggest challenges facing the new athletic director in an article that will only be available for paid subscribers.
Please subscribe now if you haven’t already. While this article was complimentary, the rest of the coverage surrounding the new athletic director will be behind the paywall, which can be accessed for just $5 a month or $49.99 for the entire year. In addition to the athletic director content that will be coming over the next few days, there are some exciting plans in the works for summer content at The Victory Bell. I hope you’ll join me for the ride.
(Graphic by Leah Earnest)
Need to hit this selection out of the park, so we can get to the top half of MVC All-Sports trophy