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UND narrows athletic director candidates to four

GRAND FORKS — The University of North Dakota athletic director search committee narrowed the field of candidates to four finalists during its meeting Thursday morning, Jan. 4.

Multiple sources say the finalists are Eastern Washington athletic director Bill Chaves, Western Michigan associate athletic director Monty Porter, UND Champions Club executive director Mike Mannausau and Texas-San Antonio deputy athletic director Kellie Elliott.

Unless any of them pull out in the next 24 hours, they will be scheduled for visits to campus next week for in-person interviews. The interviews will include a public forum.

Dates and times of their visits are expected to be released Friday, Jan. 5, once the candidates confirm their interest in being finalists.

Under new North Dakota public record laws, UND only has to release the names of the finalists.

UND spokesperson Peter Johnson, who declined to name the candidates until they are publicly released, said there were about 50 applicants for the job.

The committee interviewed 12 by video conference before Christmas break.

The committee met for two-and-a-half hours Thursday morning in the Gorecki Alumni Center to determine the finalists.

"We've had some incredible candidates," Johnson said. "The caliber and quality is very, very high. We're blessed that way. I think people will be happy with what they see next week when those candidates come to campus."

Chaves has been the athletic director at Eastern Washington since 2007. The Eagles play in the Big Sky Conference, which UND will leave at the end of this athletic season for the Summit League (UND will remain as an affiliate member in the Big Sky for football until 2020).

Porter has been at Western Michigan since 1995 and has served as associate athletic director since 2014. The Broncos play in the Mid-American Conference.

Mannausau has been with the UND Champions Club since 2013. Prior to that, he served as the defensive coordinator of the UND football team. He played linebacker at UND from 1994-98.

Elliott has been at Texas-San Antonio since 2015 and has been the deputy athletic director since the summer of 2016. Texas-San Antonio plays in Conference USA.

The committee will meet Friday after all of the finalists visit campus. They will pass along a recommendation to President Mark Kennedy.

The job came open when athletic director Brian Faison announced in October that he was stepping down after a nine-year run. Faison will stay on as athletic director until a new one is hired and will be paid his full salary of $193,707 through the 2018-19 athletic season.

Faison's retirement was announced soon after Kennedy called for a review of the top officials in the athletic department.

Brad Elliott Schlossman

Schlossman is in his 13th year covering college hockey for the Herald. In 2016, he was named the top beat writer in the country by the Associated Press Sports Editors. He has voted in the national college hockey poll since 2007 and has served as a member of the Hobey Baker and Patty Kazmaier Award committees.

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