With the initial round of interviews completed, Tulane athletic director search committee chairman Doug Hertz said Friday he hoped the Green Wave could announce Rick Dickson’s replacement in the next few weeks.
Sources confirmed Louisiana-Monroe Athletic Director Brian Wickstrom, University of San Francisco A.D. Scott Sidwell and Tulane deputy athletic director/chief operating office Barbara Burke interviewed for the position with the nine-person search committee in Atlanta on Thursday and Friday. It was unclear whether or not Baylor deputy athletic director Todd Patulski and Auburn chief operating officer David Benedict were interviewed as sources had indicated earlier, but Hertz said more than five people were interviewed.
“There were some correct (names on the initial five-person list The Advocate published), some incorrect and some omissions,” he said. “We’re trying to do as thorough a job as we possibly can, and we’re really pleased with the interest. We hope to have a decision in the next few weeks. I’d like to move in the next week to 10 days, but Thanksgiving precludes us from doing that.”
Hertz added it ultimately would be Tulane President Michael Fitts’ decision. When the pool of candidates is narrowed, the finalists will have a second interview in front of Fitts in New Orleans.
The most pressing decision in front of Tulane right now involves the future of fourth-year football coach Curtis Johnson. The Green Wave (3-7, 1-5 American Athletic Conference) plays at SMU (1-9, 0-6) at 7 p.m. Saturday and finishes the season against Tulsa (5-5, 2-4) on Nov. 27 at Yulman Stadium.
Johnson’s status will be reviewed at the end of the year. His career record is 15-32, and Tulane, which is coming off a 34-31 victory at Army, has won only seven of its past 27 games.
With Dickson retiring in May, the new athletic director likely won’t have a major role in determining Johnson’s fate.
“I hope not,” Hertz said. “I hope that decision is made one way or the other before he or she gets here.”
Regardless, Hertz said he liked the pool of candidates and how the search had progressed to this point.
“It honestly could not have gone more smoothly,” he said. “I’m really optimistic we are going to get somebody really good.”