Humboldt State has hired an outside consulting firm to oversee the athletic department until a full-time Athletic Director is hired, as well to oversee the hiring process, the school announced on Tuesday.
Jill Willson and Double L Consulting will take over the day-to-day running of the department after interim AD Duncan Robins was relieved of his duties last week, with a plan on having a full-time AD in place by January at the latest.
In a conference call with local media on Tuesday afternoon, Willson said she and her team will be comprehensively reviewing all aspects of the department, from fundraising, to compliance, to facilities, as well as building a profile for who the next AD should be and working closely with the community and new school president Dr. Tom Jackson, Jr.
Wilson, who will begin work on campus in early August, inherits a department that had a tenuous relationship with the local community under Robins, particularly after he made the decision to eliminate the football program a year ago.
“There are relationships to be repaired for sure,” she admitted, adding that it’s “a tough situation here.”
While it’s still way to early to suggest football may return to the Redwood Bowl in Robins’ absence, Willson stressed that increasing enrollment will be a priority for the new president, and he will be looking into many ways that could help achieve that.
Many boosters feel the return of football would be a great way to boost enrollment.
Willson says she intends on meeting with members of the community.
“Being on campus and immersing ourselves with constituents who interact with the athletic department will give us a great opportunity to establish the profile for the next athletic director at Humboldt State,” she said.
As for a timeline, Willson says she will be meeting with Jackson, Jr., in late September or early October and believes a new full-time AD will be in place by early in the new year at the latest.
“It could be sooner than that,” she stressed.
Under Dr. Jackson’s leadership, Willson said the community can expect that “the next person you get as Athletic Director is going to be a team player.”
Jackson, Jr., said in a press release that Willson brings the right mix of campus experience and national perspective.
“I know there’s a real passion for athletics among many students and in the community, and I’m committed to honoring that,” said Jackson, who took over on Friday. “Anyone who has had a chance to work with Jill Willson knows how much she cares about student athletes and how talented she is at helping universities build strong athletic programs.”
Double L Consulting is known for its work in Division-II intercollegiate athletics.
According to Tuesday’s HSU press release, “Willson works nationally with Division-II athletics, with a focus on community engagement and game environment initiatives.
“She works for the Division II Membership Committee, assisting schools that are making a transition from NAIA or Division III to Division II. “She also works closely with the Governance group and the Division II Festival team, and she previously served on the Division II Management Council.
Ray Hamill writes at humboldtsports.com, where you can read lots more about sports in Humboldt County.