Weeks after his name surfaced in the search for Kansas’ vacant athletic director position, Pat Chun is apparently being targeted by another Power Five school.
According to Jon Wilner of The San Jose Mercury-News, Chun is one of two athletic directors from the Pac-12 Conference who’ve already interviewed for the AD job at Northwestern. Cal athletic director Jim Knowlton has also interviewed and other candidates are expected to join the fray before Northwestern makes a decision, potentially within the next 7-10 days according to Wilner.
On March 30, a source confirmed to The Spokesman-Review Chun had not and did not intend to interview for the AD position at Kansas, contrary to reports that indicated otherwise. A school spokesperson declined comment when asked about Northwestern’s reported interest in Chun.
Though Chun showed little interest in the job at Kansas, a move to Northwestern would bring the Ohio native back to the Big Ten Conference. Chun is a graduate of Ohio State who spent 15 years working at his alma mater. He was promoted six times within the athletic department, elevating to the Executive Associate Athletics Director for External Relations before leaving the Buckeyes to become the athletic director at Florida Atlantic University.
Chun has helped WSU set fundraising records in his three-plus years at the school and recently secured a lucrative corporate sponsorship with Gesa Credit Union for naming rights to the playing surface at Martin Stadium. The first Asian-American athletic director at the Power Five level, Chun was also responsible for hiring coaches in the school’s four biggest sports: football’s Nick Rolovich, men’s basketball’s Kyle Smith, baseball’s Brian Green and women’s basketball’s Kamie Ethridge.
Not unlike WSU, Northwestern isn’t traditionally a contender to win the Big Ten in football and men’s basketball, which would make it a relatively low-pressure situation for an incoming athletic director. Jim Phillips, who recently left Northwestern to become the commissioner of the ACC, was the second highest-paid athletic director in the country. As of 2018, Phillips was earning an annual salary of $1.57 million, according to a report from USA Today. Chun’s annual salary at WSU is $650,000 and the AD was recently forced to take a 5% temporary salary reduction in response to COVID-19 cuts.
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