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Handicapping the new athletic director


With the announcement that athletic director Bob Stull would be leaving UTEP after 19 years at the helm of the athletic department, speculation from all corners began.

In the end, the only real opinion that matters is that of university president Diana Natalicio. Natalicio has final authority when it comes to hiring the new AD.

Several names have been circled around within the media and even heard coming from inside the Athletic Department. This article is here to serve as a primer and to offer odds on the likelihood of each candidate eventually being named as Stull’s successor.

Chris Park – UTEP senior associate athletic director

Of course, Park will be interviewed and probably first. Plenty of future athletic department stars have learned under the tutelage of Stull and Park is just the latest. Park is ever present at UTEP athletic events with his young family and is constantly mingling with boosters and fans. The young, but high-ranking, member of the athletic department is in charge of the Miner Athletic Club and fundraising. Choosing Park as a replacement for Stull would make for a smooth, easy transition, but could mean more of the same as far as on-field performance.

Odds: 8/1

Brian Wickstrom – University of Incarnate Word athletic director

Wickstrom was the assistant athletic director at UTEP under Stull from 2006-2011. He originally left UTEP to become the athletic director at UC-Riverside. Since then, he has moved to UL-Monroe and on August 16 of this year took the job at Incarnate Word. Wickstrom is known as a “fundraising star” and was instrumental in securing funds for the Larry K. Durham Center while at UTEP. A press release introducing Wickstrom at UIW stated that Wickstrom raised $91 million in funds for his various universities in 20 years of work. Although leaving a job after only a month would be strange, the chance to leave an FCS school for an FBS school may prove tempting.

Odds: 10/1

Jeramiah Dickey – Baylor University associate vice-president for athletic operations

Dickey is an El Paso native and former Assistant Director for athletic development at UTEP. He has followed former UTEP senior associate AD and current Baylor AD Mack Rhoades to several schools, including Akron and Houston. At Houston, Dickey was responsible for some phenomenal fundraising, including securing naming rights for Houston’s football stadium worth $15M.

Dickey was also involved in the hiring of former Houston football coach Tom Herman who took the team to the top of the national rankings. If Dickey were hired, he could quickly be called upon to hire a new football head coach, should Sean Kugler be dismissed.

Odds: 3/1

Mack Rhoades – Baylor University athletic director

Rhoades is another Stull disciple and once again goes to show Stull’s eye for talent – at least as far as the front office is concerned. He has served as athletic director at Akron, Houston, Missouri and Baylor. His current job at Baylor calls for him to dig Baylor out of a deep hole caused by several scandals from the men’s basketball and football teams. Rhoades took the job knowing what was ahead. However, if he would like a clean start after taking the Baylor job in 2016, UTEP could offer just that.

Odds: 12/1

Lisa Campos – Northern Arizona University athletic director

Campos was the senior associate athletic director at UTEP from 2006-12 under Stull. She was instrumental in the design and completion of the Helen of Troy Softball Complex during her time at UTEP. The Colorado native has been the AD at NAU since April of 2012 and has been the model of success, with her teams’ capturing 24 team conference championships. Last school year, NAU athletes finished with a collective 3.12 GPA. Campos received her doctorate from UTEP and is rumored to be one of the top two candidates to replace Stull. Her success as an AD, even at an FCS school, has got to place her near the top of the list for Natalicio and company.

Odds: 5/1

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Jason Green, Contributor
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Handicapping the new athletic director