For those following Eastern Washington’s search for a new athletic director, it’s already been an intriguing week.
While the search committee is moving into high gear with a trio of public meetings, interim AD Lynn Hickey – who might or might not be a candidate for the permanent position – is doing the same.
Hickey’s first two days in Cheney were filled with meetings – so many of them that her Tuesday lunch consisted of a protein bar she snagged at a campus store.
“I’ve lost count of the meetings,” Hickey said Tuesday afternoon at Reese Court. “I haven’t really had a break yet.”
She probably won’t get one any time soon. On the agenda this week – besides more meetings – is the pressing issue of this fall’s football schedule.
Despite the efforts of former AD Bill Chaves, an open date on Sept. 1 has yet to be filled. Fans are hoping for a home date, which would give the Eagles five at Roos Field. Hickey was hopeful but couldn’t make any promises.
“That would be a priority for me. … It’s very important for the program not to go on the road again,” Hickey said.
“However, that’s built around a team that can come in here, and the financial piece,” she said, referring to the guaranteed money EWU would pay the visiting school. “We need to solve that very quickly.”
Hickey, the AD at Texas-San Antonio for 18 years before stepping down last fall, said she’s impressed by the “good foundation” of the department.
“I’ve come in here as an outsider and tried not to throw things out there,” Hickey said. “Every time I’ve had an idea, they’ve had it in place.”
Hickey also said she’s impressed by the department’s on-field success. “There’s a lot to be proud of,” she said.
Hickey, who was appointed interim AD on Jan. 26 by university president Mary Cullinan, said she understands the nature of the position and doesn’t plan to overstep.
“I’ve been given some directions from the president, but we’re still try to discover what that means,” Hickey said. “I’m the kind of person who wants to be all in, but how do I do that without being over overaggressive?”
Regarding potential hires, Hickey said that “you have to be real careful about bringing people on board when you’re not going to be the (permanent) person, because then you’re loading up a staff that perhaps the new person might not have chosen.”
Hickey promised that in a pinch, “I have confidence that I would make a good decision that would not be harmful to the future of the department.”
Asked whether she would consider being part of that future, Hickey hedged.
“I think that’s really not appropriate for me to speak to. I’m certainly open to that … but right now, what I owe the president is to bridge that gap, and I need to handle that first.”
The application deadline for the full-time position is April 2.