OU searches for recreation director

News Section:

Ohio University officials hope they’ll have a new executive director of campus recreation within the next two weeks as the final four candidates ease into their last interviews.

The four candidates are Sam Axley, associate director of recreation programs at Armstrong Atlantic State University; Mark Ferguson, director of campus recreation at Clemson University; Barry Miller, director of the Peninsula Higher Education Center at Old Dominion University; and Steve Sammons, OU’s interim executive director.

The four finalists were required to go through an interviewing process and an open forum with students.

OU hopes to make an offer to one of the candidates within the next two weeks, said Ryan Lombardi, vice president for student affairs.

The search started in June after Doug Franklin retired.

 “I’m certainly excited to have this position filled permanently as we will work as close colleagues and partners,” said Jenny Hall-Jones, dean of students.

The main responsibilities of the position are watching over the university’s campus recreation operations — including the Ping Center, Aquatic Center, and intramural and club sports. It also requires managing the full-time staff and budget, which is about $6 million.

“One of the biggest issues that the executive director will face is finding the resources needed to move the department forward,” said Tasha Westfall, Ping’s interim assistant director. “Multiple campus recreation facilities are aging as well as equipment.”

About 90 percent of OU’s students participate in campus recreation’s programs. It’s up to the new executive director to keep these opportunities high-quality, Lombardi said.

 “(Ping) could use some upgrades. The capacity limit can become inconvenient when you have to wait for someone to leave. They did get new equipment in the weight room, which was nice,” said Daniel Oberer, a sophomore studying computer science who frequents Ping.

The salary’s range is $70,801 to $121,013, Lombardi said.

Franklin’s salary was $102,217 annually, according to a previous Post article.

“We are also interested in finding someone who can provide a vision to campus recreation to continue to enhance the services we offer to students,” Lombardi said.

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