Former University of Colorado football coach Bill McCartney confirmed he received a phone call from a representative of the school to begin the interview process for the Buffs' head coaching position Wednesday, the same day the school finalized its search committee for the opening.
Colorado fired coach Dan Hawkins more than a week ago and the search committee isn't scheduled to have its first meeting to discuss applicants until later this week.
The seven-person committee will be chaired by longtime faculty athletics representative David Clough, who has been an engineering professor with the school since 1975. Clough has been the faculty athletics representative at CU since 2005.
"I am pleased to be able to serve the University as the chair of the search committee for our head football coach and look forward to collaborating with this group of outstanding individuals," Clough said. "I am certain the committee will endeavor to represent the diverse interests of University's students, faculty, staff and administration and the public in the course and outcome of the search.
"We will strive to present to the director of athletics and the chancellor recommendations that will lead to the hiring of the best possible candidate for head coach, an individual who will lead the program to success in the coming years in a way that will engender pride in all supporters of the University of Colorado."
No member of the committee actually works in the athletic department and there is no representation for returning members of the team or former players. None of the committee members has any background in college football.
University spokesman Bronson Hilliard said the lack of athletic department representation is mitigated by the fact that athletic director Mike Bohn has the hiring authority for the position and can provide the committee any information it might need. Bohn is not considered a member of he committee, but he will receive one or more recommendations from the search committee, whose members will participate in interviewing candidates.
"There is no better person obviously from the athletic department than Mike Bohn since he is the head of it," Hilliard said.
Bohn is not discussing the search process until it is over but he said he believes the right group of people is in place to identify the best fit for the school as the 24th head coach in the program's history.
"I am most appreciative of the depth of leadership of those who have agreed to serve on this committee," Bohn said. "All seven have passion and a demonstrated long-term commitment to the university.
"Our senior staff will provide background research and assist in providing all required resources to ensure a successful search."
Hilliard said Chancellor Phil DiStefano will participate in the hiring process but it remains to be seen at what point he will get involved. Hilliard said when CU hired men's basketball coach Tad Boyle in the spring, DiStefano met for approximately one hour with Bohn and others to discuss Boyle once he had been identified as the leading candidate.
"I don't know that the chancellor will meet with every single finalist, but at some point when we get close to who we like the chancellor will have a one-on-one with that individual as well," Hilliard said.
The committee includes Dr. Elizabeth Bradley, chair of the Faculty Assembly Intercollegiate Athletics Committee and computer science professor. Bradley was a member of the U.S. Olympic rowing team in the 1980s.
Also on the committee are Ric Porreca, CU senior vice-Chancellor and Chief Financial Officer and Robert Boswell, interim vice-Chancellor for diversity, equity and community engagement.
Three university donors, Roger Parker, Chairman & CEO/Recovery Energy, Inc.; George Solich, President & CEO/Cordillera Energy Partners III, LLC, and Dave Hoover, Chairman & CEO/Ball Corporation, are also on the committee. Parker and Solich are CU graduates and Hilliard said they are on the committee as alumni representatives not necessarily because they are donors.
Hilliard said he did not know how common it is for the school to include donors on search committees. He said school administrators chose to use a search committee to gain a broad cross-section of opinions from both inside and outside the school.
"I think what we were looking at was a combination of people who represented an inside-out, outside-in set of interests," Hilliard said.
Hilliard said no timetable has been announced for the hiring. It is believed the school would like to have a coach in place in early December to maximize what is left of the 2011 recruiting cycle. Coaches can begin to make in-home visits with recruits Dec. 1.
"We want a really good search," Hilliard said. "Obviously those timelines are in peoples' minds certainly, but for us, what is operative here is a really effective search that gives us a really, really good fit for a head coach."