Advisory committee named in search for next UA athletic director

by Talk Business and Politics ([email protected]) 533 views 

University of Arkansas Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz has named a seven-person “advisory” committee that includes professional golfer Stacy Lewis to help hire the next director of athletics.

Jeff Long was fired Nov. 15 as athletics director, with Steinmetz saying Long had “lost the support of many of our fans, alumni, key supporters, and members of the university leadership, support that I believe is critical in our pursuit of excellence.”

The departure of Long and head football coach Bret Bielema has been a much talked about subject following an underperforming fifth season for Coach Bielema in which the team is 4-8 overall and 1-5 in the SEC. Criticism is also mounting about the $160 million cost of a significant renovation of the football stadium.

In Wednesday’s (Nov. 22) UA statement, Steinmetz said he consulted with interim Athletic Director Julie Cromer Peoples prior to naming the advisory committee. The statement also noted that Steinmetz “wishes to move the search along as quickly as possible.”

“I sought to assemble a committee representative of the university, spanning past and present in our academics and athletics history, with knowledge and perspective about Arkansas, and, notably an appreciation of the source of pride the Razorbacks are for the state of Arkansas,” Steinmetz said in the statement. “I have great faith in the approach that each of these advisors will bring to the process and I’d like to thank these folks for their time in this endeavor.”

The advisory committee will be the only committee formed in the search for a new athletic director, the UA said in responding to a question from Talk Business & Politics.

Following are members of the advisory committee.
• Lance Harter, Fayetteville
Harter is head coach for Women’s Track and Field, Cross Country, and is considered the most successful coach in University of Arkansas and Southeastern Conference women’s cross country and track and field history. He is in his 28th year as coach of the Razorbacks program. Harter cemented his place in Razorback history in 2015 by winning the NCAA Indoor National Title, the first ever title by a women’s program at the University of Arkansas, and repeated in 2016 when his outdoor team won the NCAA title. With two national titles, he remains the only coach of a women’s program at Arkansas to win a national championship.

• Ben Hyneman, Jonesboro
Hyneman, a 1971 UA graduate, is also chairman of the University of Arkansas System Board of Trustees. He is president of Southern Property & Casualty Insurance Company, and earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration from what is now called the Sam M. Walton College of Business. He is former commissioner and chairman of the Arkansas Soil and Water Conservation Commission.

• Gerald Jordan, Fayetteville
Jordan, a 1970 UA graduate, is the faculty athletics representative and the UA associate professor of journalism. He was appointed in 2017 to be the faculty member who certifies the eligibility of student-athletes. In this role, he also serves as the university’s faculty representative to the NCAA and the Southeastern Conference.

• Stacy Lewis, Houston
Lewis, a 2008 UA graduate, is a professional golfer with the Ladies Professional Golf Association. She returns to Northwest Arkansas between professional appearances to work with the women’s golf team. Lewis finished her career as a four-time All-Southeastern Conference and four-time All-American. She won a pair of SEC Championship titles, first as a freshman in 2005, and again as a senior in 2008.

• Peter MacKeith, Fayetteville
MacKeith is the dean and professor of architecture with the Fay Jones School of Architecture + Design. He is the only UA dean with intercollegiate athletic experience at the NCAA Division I level, as a varsity soccer player (4-year letterman and captain, 1977-81) and an assistant coach (1981-82) at the University of Virginia.

• Richard Massey, Little Rock
Massey, a 1984 graduate of the University of Arkansas School of Law, is a partner of Westrock Capital Partners. He also serves as chairman of First Federal Bank, Bear State Financial Holdings, and First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas. He previously served as chief strategy officer and executive vice president/general counsel at Alltel Corp. He is also a director of Fidelity National Financial, is lead director of FIS, and a director of Black Knight, a privately held technology company. He is on the Razorback Foundation Board of Directors, the nonprofit entity charged with developing the necessary resources for Razorback athletics programs.

• William Montgomery, Dallas
Montgomery, a 1971 UA graduate, is a member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the University of Arkansas All-Century Team, the University of Arkansas Sports Hall of Honor, the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame, and the SEC Football Legends. The former Arkansas quarterback finished his Razorback career (1968-1970) as the school record-holder in virtually every passing category, including career touchdown passes, career passing yards, single-season passing yards and single-game passing yards. He served as a volunteer member of the Campaign for the Twenty-First Century Steering Committee, which raised more than $1 billion for the university at its conclusion in 2005.

Members of the public wishing to contact members of the committee are encouraged to send email to [email protected].