UL Director of Athletic Dr. Bryan Maggard may not have any Ragin’ Cajuns sporting events to attend during the summer months, but that doesn’t mean he won’t be busy.
Very high on his things-to-do priority list before football season begins is playing a major role in the search for a new Ragin’ Cajun Athletic Foundation executive director.
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Jim Harris officially signed on as the executive director of development at the University of Maryland on May 5. Lisa Capone, a certified fundraising executive, is currently the interim RCAF director until the search is completed.
Harris was announced as the RCAF’s first executive director on Sept. 5, 2015.
“Just like any search, we’re in the process of identifying candidates,” said Maggard, who expected the position to officially be listed by Tuesday after the holiday weekend. “You start with a long list and you find ways to shrink that list.”
The search four years ago began with 69 applicants and narrowed down to five finalists.
The Ragin’ Cajuns Athletic Foundation unveiled its new investment model Tuesday, and it features more opportunities for supporters to donate a…
“This is definitely a position that we’ll go out and recruit, not just sit back and take applications,” Maggard said. “We’ll bring people in. For us, it’s a critically important hire because this arm in athletics is our fundraising arm from a revenue-generating standpoint.
“If we could ideally have someone identified maybe sometimes in July with maybe an August 1 start date, that’s what we’re looking for in a perfect world. I think it’s realistic, because again, we’re going to go recruit and bring a small group in – maybe two or three candidates on campus for the broader group to meet with and see.”
Joining Maggard on the search committee will be vice-president for university advancement John Blohm, the RCAF board and “select others.”
While the number of finalists isn’t expected to be large, that candidate’s qualifications will need to be.
“For us, it’s a critically important hire because this arm in athletics is our fundraising arm from a revenue-generating standpoint,” Maggard said. “We really have to grow that. We have two areas where we can make the greatest impact in growth in revenue generation — the RCAF and in football season ticket sales. Those are the traditional revenue stream buckets that we’re going to focus on. So this hire is very important.
"I’m convinced this is going to be an attractive job. I think people know of the opportunities here. Somebody’s going to come in here with really great support and a great foundation.”
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In early April, Harris and the RCAF introduced a new fundraising format to its investors that treated all donations to the athletic department equally, as opposed to annual fund donations being weighted heavier. Individual philosophies, though, won’t dictate the final candidate, according to Maggard.
“To some degree, yes, but at the end of the day, development is development and fund-raising is fund-raising,” he said. “It has so much to do with the individual. We need a dynamic leader who really, really has good fund-raising experience. We’re going to look for somebody who has successful capital campaign experience with us getting ready to embark on the renovation of Cajun Field.
“We’re also going to need somebody who has good annual fund experience to grow both members and dollars in the annual fund, but also someone who really understand premium seating. So as we roll out premium seats in the football stadium and what we have already in baseball and in softball and even from basketball, we need an individual who knows how to maximize revenue opportunities in premium seating.”
A new RCAF director will more than likely produce additional changes for the UL season ticket holder.
“I want to be respectful of the traditions here,” Maggard said. “We’re never going to just make some hap-hazard decision to change something. Anything we change is going to be well-studied and well-discussed to make sure what we’re changing to is better than what we had.”