Meet finalists for ‘Head Hawk’

Provost DiLorenzo offers insight on why four stood out in quest to become UND’s next Athletics Director

2018 Athletics Director Forum

UND Provost Tom DiLorenzo, who is heading up the search for UND’s next Athletics Director, addresses a crowd Monday afternoon at the Energy & Environmental Research Center, which hosted a public forum for one of the finalists for the job. Photo by Tyler Ingham/UND Today.

There’s an anticipatory buzz on the University of North Dakota campus this week – especially among Fighting Hawks student-athletes, coaches, staff and other members of the UND Athletics family.

Four finalists for the role of UND Athletics Director are visiting their potential new home base in Grand Forks this week, getting to know the people they want to help lead to success in competition, community and classroom.

The Athletics Director Search Committee, led by UND Provost Tom DiLorenzo, narrowed the field of approximately 50 candidates – many of them sitting athletics directors – to four last week, and extended campus invitations to the finalists (alphabetically):

  • William (Bill) Chaves, Director of Athletics at Eastern Washington University
    • Campus visit: Jan. 7-8
    • Resume
  • Kellie Elliott, Assistant Vice President/Deputy Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator at the University of Texas at San Antonio
    • Campus visit: Jan. 8-9
    • Resume
  • Michael (Mike) Mannausau, Associate Athletics Director/Athletics Major Gifts at the University of North Dakota Alumni Association and Foundation
    • Campus visit: Jan. 9-10
    • Resume
  • Montgomery (Monty) Porter III, Senior Associate Athletics Director at Western Michigan University
    • Campus visit: Jan. 10-11
    • Resume

“It was really a fabulous group of people,” DiLorenzo said. “I would have been very happy with far more than the candidates that we’re bringing in, but these four really stood out. They were great candidates with lots of experience.”

Getting to know you

During their day-and-a-half campus visits this week, the finalists will tour sports facilities, take part in a public forum and meet personally with Athletics leaders and coaches, student-athletes, alumni and donors, and administrators.

DiLorenzo noted that the candidates spoke highly of UND Athletics, many indicating that they had been following the Division I program’s success for years. A welcoming and flourishing University and community, a legendary hockey program and a recent four-sport conference championship celebration were among the most magnetic draws to the position.

But, DiLorenzo said, what was key to the committee was that the new “Head Hawk” emphasizes and elevates student-athletes.

“Many of the candidates talked about the importance of winning, but the right way,” he said. “You have to take care of your student-athletes. That was such a nice thing to hear, over and over again – the care that they had for the students.”

The new Athletics Director will take the helm left by Brian Faison, who announced his 2018 retirement in October after guiding the program into Division I competition and setting the stage for the transition into two new conferences. The decade-long leader will serve in an advisory role to UND Athletics until June.

The Athletics Director Search Committee urges the campus and community to attend the open public fora this week to hear from the finalists, ask questions and provide feedback through an online survey. Monty Porter and Mike Mannausau held public discussions on Sunday and Monday, respectively. Additional fora will continue as follows:

  • Kellie Elliott – Tuesday, Jan. 9, Gorecki Alumni Center Gransberg Room
  • Bill Chaves – Wednesday, Jan. 10, Gorecki Alumni Center Gransberg Room

Once the candidates have completed their visits and feedback has been collected, the search committee will forward its notes to UND President Mark Kennedy, who will choose the next UND Athletics Director – a decision that will be announced in the days to follow.

Finalist biographies

The finalists were asked to submit brief biographies to give the public a sense of what they could bring to UND Athletics:

Bill Chaves

Bill Chaves

Bill Chaves

Bill Chaves has served as Director of Athletics at Eastern Washington University since 2007 and is a two-time recipient (2012-13 & 2015-16) of national Athletic Director of the Year honors. Chaves’ tenure at Eastern was highlighted by the installation of the first-ever red synthetic surface in America.

Under Chaves’ direction, EWU’s football program won its final 11 games of the 2010 season and captured the NCAA Division I Championship. The football program has won five Big Sky titles during his tenure, while qualifying for the FCS playoffs six times and advancing to the semifinals four times.

Chaves led several key fundraising initiatives to help the athletic department grow and keep pace with other NCAA Division I programs. As part of a $1.1 million project, EWU installed a new videoboard/scoreboards at Roos Field and Reese Court. In addition, an enhanced seating project at Reese Court provided upgrades for fans.  Eastern also completed a $1.5 million locker-room project, enhancing eight of EWU’s 14 programs.

Currently, Eastern’s fundraising arm, Eagle Athletic Fund (EAF), is at an all-time high in both members and dollars.  Chaves negotiated a recent eight-year deal with Learfield Sports as well as an all-department apparel deal with Adidas.

Eastern’s student-athletes have also shown impressive success, with a collective grade point average of 3.47 and a greater than 3.0 GPA for 31 straight quarters (since Fall 2007).  During Chaves’ tenure, Eastern won three Big Sky President’s Cups (2009-10, 2014-15 and 2015-16) – the first such award(s) in school history.

The women’s basketball program won the Big Sky regular-season title in the 2009-10 school year, and has appeared in three WNIT Tournaments (2010-2013-2015) – winning its first-ever national postseason game in 2015.  The team also made a WBI appearance in 2017, winning its second postseason game all-time.

The men’s basketball team made its second all-time appearance in the NCAA tournament in 2015 by winning the Big Sky Tournament. In 2016, the men’s program won its first-ever postseason game as a member of NCAA Division I.  The program made another postseason appearance (CBI) in 2017.  In Chaves’ second year at the helm, Eastern’s volleyball program won the Big Sky regular season title.  EWU’s women’s soccer team has made back-to-back NCAA appearances (2016 and 2017).

Chaves and his wife of 23 years, Liz, have a daughter, Erin (17), and two sons, Derek (14) and Kevin (12).

Kellie Elliott

Kellie Elliott

Kellie Elliott

Kellie Elliott currently serves as the University of Texas at San Antonio’s Assistant Vice President/Deputy Athletics Director and Senior Woman Administrator (SWA).

Elliott, who has more than 20 years of experience in collegiate, professional and Olympic management positions, oversees the department’s business, administration and student service areas, as well as serving as the football and track and field sport administrator.

Elliott was the Chief Operating Officer for the University of California’s Alumni Association in 2013-14. While at Berkeley, she implemented plans that increased revenue generation and sustainable growth.

Prior to UCB, Elliott was Director of Conferences and Event Services at Yale, leading a department that offered program management services for internal and external clients. Responsibilities included marketing and sales communications, pricing, revenue goals and long-range strategic planning.

Elliott served as Deputy Director of Athletics at Florida State in 2008-10, where she directed external services. Administrative oversight included development, marketing, ticket operations, Seminole productions, communication, video operations, and digital media. She also managed a $67 million contract with ISP, the sponsorship arm of FSU Athletics. She served as the sport supervisor for several sport programs and had the responsibility for recruiting and hiring head coaching positions.

Before Tallahassee, Elliott was Deputy Director of Athletics for Internal Operations/SWA at San Jose State in 2005-08. She served as the COO responsible for all financial, administrative and operational elements of the Spartans’ athletics department. She also served as the chairperson for the university’s Gender Equity Committee.

Elliott worked in various leadership roles at Stanford, her alma mater. As Project Manager in 2004-05, she helped secure a $30 million contribution for football stadium construction and launched the reopening of a renovated basketball/volleyball venue. Elliott worked as a Project Manager for the Stanford Board of Trustees, as Program Director for the Stanford Alumni Association and as Director of Football Operations.

Elliott was President/CEO of the NBA development league’s Huntsville Flight (2001-03), serving as spokesperson and mentoring athletes in professional development, public speaking and media.

As regional operations manager for the Atlanta Summer Olympics and a senior general manager for the Salt Lake City Winter Olympics, she was responsible for operational planning and construction for multiple competition venues.

Elliott holds a bachelor’s degree from Stanford and is a graduate of the Sports Management Institute offered through Michigan and Texas.

Mike Mannausau

Mike Manaussau

Mike Mannausau

Mike Mannausau serves as the University of North Dakota’s Associate Athletics Director, Athletics Major Gifts, working with major donors and prospects to obtain funds for athletic facilities like the $19 million High Performance Center, Impact Scholarships and endowments for UND Athletics. During his tenure, UND Athletics has seen record growth in several areas, highlighted by fiscal year 2017, when Mannausau led UND Alumni Association & Foundation efforts to raise $9 million in gifts to UND Athletics. Mannausau has been instrumental in increasing the support to UND athletic endowments, which this year is anticipating a payout of $1 million. During Mannausau’s tenure, the UND Foundation has added more than 70 new endowments supporting athletic scholarships.

Mannausau began his role with the UND Alumni Association & Foundation as the Executive Director of the North Dakota Champions Club, a primary source of private support for UND Athletics. The membership club raises funds for scholarships and program support for UND’s Athletics. Under Mannausau’s leadership, the Champions Club continually increased memberships and scholarship support every year. During his last year as executive director, the club raised nearly $3 million in cash gifts and commitments from its 2,869 memberships for student-athlete scholarships and athletics program support in 2016-17, marking the club’s 11th consecutive annual fundraising record.

Before he began working for the UND Alumni Association & Foundation in February 2013, Mannausau had spent the previous nine years on the North Dakota football coaching staff, including the last seven as defensive coordinator. Prior to the 2008 season, he was elevated to assistant head coach and in 2009 he was named associate head coach. In 2017, he was named co-chair of the Game Day Experience Committee, charged with improving the game day experience at North Dakota Football games.

A standout linebacker for North Dakota from 1994 to 1998, Mannausau lettered four times and was a 1998 Football Gazette All-America honorable mention honoree, while serving as a team captain. He received a bachelor’s degree from UND in May 1999, majoring in education/physical education and minoring in special education and coaching. In June of 2003, he received a master’s degree in kinesiology from UND.

Mannausau, originally from International Falls, Minn., is married to former UND women’s basketball standout and UND Athletics Hall of Fame inductee Tiffany Pudenz. They have two children, daughter Mya and son Max.

Monty Porter

Monty Porter

M. Montgomery (Monty) Porter

Monty Porter was promoted to his most current position of Senior Associate Athletic Director in 2014, advancing through the ranks of the profession across three universities. Porter came to Western Michigan University in 1995 after spending four years at Lamar University, where he completed his tenure as Assistant A.D. for Business Affairs. Prior to Lamar, Porter was an administrative assistant, graduate assistant and student assistant at his alma mater, The University of Iowa, where he earned both bachelor’s and master’s degrees with an athletic administration emphasis. While an undergrad, Porter worked with the Hawkeyes football team.

Porter has developed a broad vision for Intercollegiate Athletics over his 30+ years of experience associated with Division I, FBS Intercollegiate Athletics. Serving as a senior level athletics administrator for many years, Porter’s well-rounded background has led to extensive knowledge and success associated with many facets of intercollegiate athletics, including: financial administration, sport management, fundraising, marketing, corporate interaction, revenue generation, public relations, Conference management, personnel & vendor contract negotiation, legal counsel liaison, human resources, capital project management, facilities and game operations management.

Porter’s vision embraces the key role Intercollegiate Athletics can play in facilitating positive outcomes, with a focus on three areas: supporting, developing, celebrating, and ensuring the welfare of student-athletes as they pursue excellence in academics, sport and life; providing resources and setting expectations as necessary to produce championship caliber programs in all sports and management units; and supporting, celebrating, growing pride and actively contributing success for the University through community engagement.

A Midwesterner, Porter was raised in the college town of Iowa City, Iowa. Porter and his wife Mellissa are parents to five children: Montgomery (25) (a former Western Michigan baseball player), Collin (23), Gavin (23), Emily (21) and Adysen (14).