Search committee formed to seek new athletics director

Rice University President David Leebron updated the Rice community July 10 about the national search for a new athletics director. In an email to faculty, students, staff and alumni, Leebron announced the formation of a Rice committee to head the search, the hiring of an external search firm to assist the committee and the timeline for hiring a new director.

Here is Leebron’s letter to the Rice community:

I am writing to update you on the process for selecting our next director of athletics, recreation and fitness. I have asked Kevin Kirby, vice president for administration, to chair the search committee, whose membership consists of alumni, university trustees, students, faculty, Houston business leaders and senior university leadership. The members are listed below.

The charge to the committee is to conduct a nationwide search for the best athletics director for Rice and to recommend to me several candidates for the position. The committee will gather input from a wide range of people about the qualities and characteristics of an athletics director that will serve Rice best as we maintain our high level of aspiration for our student-athletes and their teams. After that consultation, the committee will finalize the job description, and the position will be posted on the RiceWorks website. Within the constraints of strict confidentiality regarding individual candidates, the committee’s process will be as transparent as possible.

A search firm, Korn/Ferry International, led by Jed Hughes, will assist the committee. Jed brings extensive experience in intercollegiate athletics; he and Korn/Ferry have been involved with athletics director searches at a wide range of universities.

With a careful and reflective yet expeditious search process in mind, we hope to select a new athletics director by early September. Until then, Rice’s athletics, recreation and fitness programs will be led by interim athletics director Rick Mello.

If you have ideas or suggestions regarding the process, general characteristics of a candidate or specific nominations for the position, please forward them to Kevin at

In the meantime, we look forward to a great year of Rice athletics beginning in August and urge everyone to come out and support our teams and participate in our programs.

Have a wonderful remainder of the summer, and GO OWLS!

David W. Leebron

Search Committee Membership:

Kevin Kirby, committee chair and Rice vice president for administration
Bucky Allshouse ’71, Rice trustee
Gabe Baker, Rice undergraduate and student-athlete
Natalie Beazant, Rice undergraduate and student-athlete
Jay Collins ’69, Rice trustee
Lynn Elsenhans ’78, Rice trustee
Karen George ‘77, Rice trustee emeritus
Robert Griffin, Rice professor of civil and environmental engineering and faculty athletics representative
Jamey Rootes, president, Houston Texans
Jeffery Rose ‘77, Rice trustee emeritus
Stephen Trauber ’84, vice chairman and global head of energy, Citigroup
Bobby Tudor ‘82, chair, Rice Board of Trustees
Darrow Zeidenstein, Rice vice president for resource development

About David Ruth

David Ruth is director of national media relations in Rice University's Office of Public Affairs.