UW athletic director search: Eight candidates to replace Troy Dannen

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By journalsofus.com

Last October, University of Washington President Anna Marie Koss hired Troy Dannen from Tulane as UW athletic director and brought him to Seattle to oversee the school’s nearly $150 million athletic department budget.

Sooner than anyone expected, Coss will have to replace Dannon after he abruptly left Washington on Wednesday for the AD job at Nebraska, citing a desire to return closer to his Marshalltown, Iowa, home.

His departure is untimely for the Huskies who are searching for a new men’s basketball coach.

Washington athletic director Troy Dannen surveys the scene before the Huskies face the Michigan Wolverines in the CFP National Championship at NRG Stadium in Houston on Monday, Jan. 8, 2024.  225905

Whether Cos accepts it or not, Washington botched Dannen’s appointment, given that his five-month tenure is the shortest tenure ever for a Husky AD in the last century.

It is believed that the UW Board of Regents, Cos and school administrators met Wednesday morning to decide their next steps. It took Washington two months to hire Dannen to replace former athletic director Jane Cohen, but the process is expected to go much faster this time.

Dannon’s successor is in doubt among new football coach Jed Fish, a cash-strapped athletic department and UW fans wondering who will lead the Huskies if they move to the Big Ten next season.

Here is a list of candidates the Huskies should consider.

Erin O’Connell: Washington promoted O’Connell, UW’s deputy athletic director and chief operating officer, to interim AD last August when Cohen made a bid for USC and will likely take the job from O’Connell while Dannon searches for a successor. Will ask to do it again. But what if it wasn’t just a temporary assignment? O’Connell, who rowed for four years at UW and graduated in 1996, knows all about the Huskies. She oversees event management, facilities and operations, government relations, sports operations, IT staff in addition to the four sports. Cos will likely pay thousands to a national search committee to compile a high-profile list of suitable replacements, but the best candidate may already be in the works.

Stephanie Rempe: Not sure why he wasn’t hired by UW last October. Rempe checks all the boxes. He is in his second year as an AD at Nevada. He has strong ties to Washington where he served as associate athletics director for eight years (2008–16) under Cohen’s predecessor Scott Woodward. Rempe also led the renovation of Husky Stadium. Moving him away from Nevada won’t be cheap, considering he signed a five-year, $2.5 million deal that expires in 2027.

Edward Scott: It is believed that the deputy athletics director at Virginia was among the finalists before UW hired Dennen. Among those on this list, Scott doesn’t necessarily have strong Northwestern ties other than spending summers teaching a leadership class as an adjunct UW professor. Scott, a former Albany baseball player, has made six stops on the East Coast and in the South during his 19-year professional career.

Scott Barnes: The Oregon State athletic director is another holdover from UW’s previous coaching search that did not convince Coss he was the right person for the job. This time may be different. Spokane native Barnes is the most experienced candidate on this list, having been athletic director at Utah State, Pittsburgh, Eastern Washington, Humboldt State and OSU. He also spent three years (2005–08) as the senior associate athletic director at UW.

Pat Chun: In one fell swoop, the Huskies could fill two of their biggest vacancies if they hired Chun, who brought WSU men’s basketball coach Kyle Smith with him to Seattle in a package deal. Chun has been rumored for years to leave Pullman and has reportedly been linked to several jobs, including Northwestern and Ohio State.

Chris Peterson: The former UW football coach still has cachet at Montlake where he compiled a 55-26 record during his six-year tenure (2014-19). Peterson generates excitement among UW fans, donors and corporate partners – which is sorely needed these days – but his lack of practical AD experience makes him a long-shot candidate. The same applies to former UW men’s basketball coach Lorenzo Romer.

Alan Green: Two-time athletic director at Auburn and Buffalo, who is currently the senior deputy AD at Ole Miss. Why would they be interested in the UW job? Because Green, 46, is a Bellevue native who starred in baseball and basketball at O’Dea High.

Carter Henderson: Lacks name recognition – and if we’re honest, extensive resume – compared to others on this list. Among industry observers, Henderson is a viable candidate because of his 10 years in various roles in Washington, including senior associate athletic director under Cohen before leaving for Stanford in 2021, where he is chief communications officer.

In addition to O’Connell, other potential internal UW candidates include: deputy athletic director Andy Fee, deputy athletic director for revenue Shannon Kelly and director of community and external engagement Damon Huard.

Former UW athletic director

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