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Announcement of appointment of UMD Athletic Director

June 25, 2018

Dear University of Maryland faculty and staff,

I am pleased to announce the appointment of Damon Evans as UMD's Athletics Director (AD), effective July 2, 2018.

Damon joined the University in 2014 and most recently served as the Executive AD, assuming the roles of chief financial officer and chief operating officer. He revamped the athletics budget and financial operations, resulting in an operating surplus; negotiated a new multimedia rights agreement worth $72 million; oversaw the funding and construction strategy for the new Cole Fieldhouse; served as the lead representative on all athletics contracts; provided oversight of the football program; helped stabilize an Athletics Department that has experienced senior staff turnover; and strengthened the relationship between the athletic and the academic units of the University.

Throughout his tenure here, Damon has demonstrated visionary, transparent, compassionate and ethical leadership. After our then-AD announced his departure from the University in April 2018, I appointed Damon the Acting AD and launched a search for the permanent appointment.

The search committee was chaired by Darryll Pines, Dean of the A. James Clark School of Engineering, and included Mark Butler, CEO of Ollie's Bargain Outlets; Michele Eastman, Assistant President; Barry Gossett, Vice Chair, USM Board of Regents; Nick Hadley, faculty athletics representative and Professor of Physics; Cheryl Harrison, Senior Associate AD; Missy Meharg, Coach, field hockey; Andrew Valmon, Coach, track and field.

The consulting firm, Turnkey Search, assisted the committee in conducting a national and confidential search. Turnkey held extensive meetings with internal and external constituencies to solicit input on the desired qualities of the next AD and to obtain recommendations of potential candidates. The search attracted a strong pool of sitting AD and Senior Associate AD candidates from top athletic programs.

The candidates invited for interviews had impressive credentials and accomplishments. In the end, a senior leadership search is not only about capabilities. It is also about institutional fit and interpersonal trust and chemistry. In Damon, the University of Maryland has the right person at the right time.

Prior to joining UMD, Damon served at the University of Georgia (UGA), first as Senior Associate AD (1998-2004) and then as AD (2004-10). At the time of his AD appointment, he was the youngest and the first African-American AD in the Southeastern Conference.

As the AD of one of the largest and most highly-regarded athletic departments in the country, his accomplishments gained national recognition. Student-athletes achieved high graduation rates; he completed a $65 million capital campaign; negotiated a multimedia rights agreement of $93 million; grew the reserve fund from $9 million to $65 million; secured approval for $100 million in new and renovated facilities; and UGA teams during his tenure won 12 national championships and 10 SEC championships.

Damon received the "Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year Award for the Southeast Region"; the Sports Business Journal's "Forty Under 40 Award" three times; and Sports Illustrated named him among the "101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports."

As UGA's AD, he was active in the local community, serving on the boards of United Way, the Chamber of Commerce, and the Children's Health Care Network. He led the fundraising for the Boys & Girls Clubs. He served as chair of the NCAA Division 1 Leadership Council.

He earned the BA in finance from UGA's Terry College of Business (which recognized him as an "Outstanding Young Alumnus") and the MA in sports administration from the UGA College of Education. He was a four-year football player and an Academic All-SEC.

Damon chose to leave his position at UGA in 2010 following a personal failure. He pled guilty to driving under the influence while accompanied by a woman friend. He paid a fine, accepted full responsibility, and apologized publicly to UGA, the community, and his family.

Retired and longtime President Michael Adams of UGA - who initially hired Damon and later accepted his resignation - assured me that he would hire Damon again as AD, if he were President. He stated that there was "not a whiff of impropriety" during Damon's entire career at UGA, except for this one incident.

From my vantage point, I see opportunities for continuing growth and excellence of Maryland Athletics, even as the national landscape of intercollegiate athletics is changing. I am proud of our coaches and staff. We are committed, first and foremost, to the success of our student-athletes in their studies, in sports, and in life. We aim to win championships and we do so with integrity and in compliance with NCAA policies, the law, and the values of the University of Maryland.

I want to thank the search committee and Turnkey Search for their diligent service.

I am pleased to call Damon, his wife Kerri, and their children Cameron (who entered as a freshman at UMD in Fall 2017) and Kennedy (a high school senior who, I hope, will consider coming to UMD next year), the "first family" of Maryland Athletics. Please join me in congratulating them.

Sincerely,

Wallace D. Loh
President, University of Maryland