Eastern Washington athletic director Bill Chaves is a finalist for the same position at the Big Sky Conference rival University of North Dakota.
Chaves is one of four finalists at UND, the school announced Thursday.
Chaves, 51, has been in charge of EWU’s athletic department since 2007. He did not respond to text and telephone messages asking for his comment.
UND is seeking a replacement for Brian Faison, who is retiring after 10 years in charge of the Fighting Hawks athletic department.
UND began a nationwide search in October to select a replacement for Faison, who earned $193,707 annually during his last two years while overseeing a department with a budget of $26.3 million.
EWU’s athletic budget in 2015-16 was $14.6 million.
Chaves earns $120,000 under a contract approved in 2013 by former EWU president Rodolfo Arevalo. That contract is set to expire on June 30.
According to multiple sources, the other finalists are Western Michigan associate athletic director Monty Porter, UND Champions Club executive director Mike Mannausau and Texas-San Antonio deputy athletic director Kellie Elliott.
All four are scheduled for visits next week to Grand Forks, N.D. The visits will include a public forum.
UND spokesperson Peter Johnson said there were about 50 applicants for the job.
The committee met for about 2 1/2 hours Thursday morning to determine the finalists, Johnson told the Grand Forks Herald.
“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.”
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.
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 school did not give a firm timetable for naming the new AD. However, the committee is expected to meet late next week after all four finalists visit campus, then give a recommendation to university president Mark Kennedy.
Chaves has enjoyed success on and off the field at Eastern. The football program has earned seven playoff berths during a 10-year span from 2007-16, and won the FCS national title in 2010.
The men’s basketball team, has appeared in three straight postseason tournaments, including the NCAAs in 2014-15.
Five EWU coaches have won coach of the year honors in the Big Sky Conference – Miles Kydd (volleyball), Wendy Schuller (women’s basketball), Darren Haworth (tennis), Beau Baldwin (football) and Jim Hayford (men’s basketball). Baldwin also earned national coach of the year accolades after his team’s 2010 national title.
Currently, all of EWU’s athletic programs have an NCAA APR (academic progress rate) of 930 or better.
Chaves also has a hockey background – a big plus at UND, which has won several NCAA titles, the last one in 2016. A New England native, he also worked as sports information director at Quinnipiac, which has a hockey program.
Chaves and his wife of 22 years, Liz, have a daughter, Erin (17), and two sons, Derek (14) and Kevin (12).