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Sources say Eastern Washington AD Bill Chaves a front-runner for North Dakota job

UPDATED: Fri., Jan. 12, 2018, 5:47 p.m.

Eastern Washington University Athletic Director Bill Chaves, right, is pictured with former football coach Beau Baldwin during a January 2017 news conference. Chaves is one of four finalsists for the same position at the University fo North Dakota. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)
Eastern Washington University Athletic Director Bill Chaves, right, is pictured with former football coach Beau Baldwin during a January 2017 news conference. Chaves is one of four finalsists for the same position at the University fo North Dakota. (Jesse Tinsley / The Spokesman-Review)

The odds are good that Eastern Washington University may soon be looking for a new athletic director.

Sources at the University of North Dakota say that Bill Chaves, who has presided over a decade of unprecedented success in Cheney, is the front-runner for the same position at UND.

Chaves is one of four finalists, all of whom interviewed this week with a 16-member committee and participated in public forums on the Grand Forks, North Dakota, campus.

Citing poor weather conditions, the panel canceled a public meeting that was scheduled for Friday morning. Individual committee members have given their recommendations to UND president Mark Kennedy, who is expected to make a final decision in the next few days.

“President Kennedy attended all of the open forums. He also had one-on-one meetings with the Executive Council (which is his advisory council) this week,” UND spokesman Peter Johnson told the Grand Forks Herald on Friday night.

The 51-year-old Chaves, Eastern’s AD since 2007, has emerged as the favorite on social media. Moreover, sources close to UND say that Chaves’ credentials outshone the other candidates, who include Western Michigan associate athletic director Monty Porter, UND Champions Club executive director Mike Mannausau and Texas-San Antonio deputy athletic director Kellie Elliott.

Chaves did not respond to messages on Friday, and he was not at Reese Court on Friday night for the Eagles’ basketball doubleheader against Idaho.

Chaves has enjoyed success on and off the fields and courts 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 consecutive postseason tournaments, including the NCAA Tournament in 2015.

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.

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.


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