UConn names interim athletic director, search committee

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STORRS, Conn. (AP) University of Connecticut President Susan Herbst named her chief of staff as interim athletic director Friday and appointed a search committee to find a permanent replacement for Warde Manuel.

Manuel, who ran athletic department for the last four years, was introduced Friday as Michigan's new athletic director.

He will be replaced on an interim bases by Rachel Rubin, who began her career at UConn as an associate athletic director before becoming Herbst's chief of staff.

Rubin also will be a member of the committee that will conduct as national search to find a new AD.

''It will be a completely confidential search, as it has to be for coaches and athletic directors,'' Herbst said. ''We'll have a committee that is small, but representative of our community that are experts in this.''

That committee includes three members of the school's board of trustees - Travelers executive and former Olympic athlete Andy Bessette; former state House Speaker Tom Ritter; and Andrea Dennis-LaVigne. It also includes Scott Brown, the school's NCAA faculty athletics representative; Doug Elliott, the president of The Hartford, and field hockey coach Nancy Stevens.

Women's basketball coach Geno Auriemma said whoever takes the job will have great resources, and a chance to be successful right away with championship-caliber teams in several sports, including basketball. He says that person needs to be a great fundraiser and have a good relationship with the coaches.

''You don't really want an AD who is like a micromanaging guy, who is into your stuff every minute of every day,'' he said. ''You want a guy that puts you in a position and says, here's what I expect from you, here's what I'm going to give you to be successful and then they rest is on you.''

Men's basketball coach Kevin Ollie said he would like to see someone with a passion for the school.

''You've got to love this program,'' he said. ''You have to be a great communicator.''

One of the biggest challenges for whoever gets the job will working on UConn's future conference affiliations. Manuel and Herbst were not able to secure the school an invitation to join one of the Power Five conferences, leaving most of its teams mired in the much lower revenue-producing American Athletic Conference after the breakup of the old Big East.

Auriemma said there are probably ''a handful'' of candidates for which being UConn's athletic director would be their dream job. But he put to rest any idea that he might have an interest in the position.

''No, no, no, no,'' he said. ''Believe me, no, no. I wouldn't even want to tell you why, but no, no, no, no, no, no, no, no. You know back in the day when you coached for 30 years and then became the AD? No. Those days are long gone.''