Wednesday, Aug. 13, 2003 | 10:56 a.m.
Mike Hamrick had just picked up his twin 15-year-old sons, Brett and Justin, from junior varsity football practice at Rose High School in Greenville, N.C., when he got a call from his wife, Soletta.
"She told me that Carol Harter had just called and wanted me to call her," Hamrick said. "I was hoping that she'd call."
A few moments later, Hamrick was being offered the job as athletic director at the school he began his college administrative career at as an intern in the marketing and promotions department more than 20 years earlier. And he accepted.
Hamrick was picked over Montana athletic director Wayne Hogan and Idaho A.D. Mike Bohn, who concluded his two-day interview on Tuesday afternoon. The three finalists were picked from about 70 applicants that a 16-person search committee reviewed with Michael Glazier and Max Urick of the Overland Park, Kan., law firm of Bond, Schoeneck & King that Harter paid $30,000 to help scrutinize potential candidates.
"I'm very excited about coming back to Las Vegas," Hamrick said. "It certainly has changed a lot since the last time I worked there."
And so has the responsibility.
"Back then I was out on the street selling season tickets and group tickets and trying people to go to out games," Hamrick said. "But there's a lot more involved with being the athletic director and I look forward to those challenges."
"We were blessed with three fine people to choose from," Harter said. "I think any of them could have come in here and done an excellent job."
So what tilted the pick to Hamrick?
"His experience is comparable to ours in so many ways," Harter said. "His work to get East Carolina into Conference USA was parallels ours into going the Mountain West Conference. And we have the opportunity to perhaps move forward into the BCS in the future, and I think his experience in those areas were a real plus."
Hamrick, who told the Sun back on July 1st that he "didn't even know UNLV had an athletic director opening" and to "cross my name off the list" said he was contacted about a week later by Urick who urged him to consider the job.
"Then when I went there for my interview a few weeks later and saw the quality of the people, the coaches and the facilities I was very impressed," Hamrick said. "Dr. Harter was very straightforward with the expectations and where she wanted the program to go. Our philosophies on things like graduation rates and the student-athlete and some other things we talked about were a perfect mesh. I also felt very comfortable with the coaches there. I mean, I've been watching John Robinson's teams compete on television for years and I've watched Charlie Spoonhour's teams play for over 20 years. And Regina Miller has done a nice job with the program there."
East Carolina has thrived under Hamrick's leadership, not only on the athletic field where the Pirates have gone to five consecutive NCAA baseball tournaments and have been a strong football program in Conference USA, but also off the field in the classroom. More than 70 percent of ECU football players from the 1996-97 class graduated and 100 percent of the school's basketball players graduated.
"And we've had zero NCAA violations during my time here, which I'm very proud of," Hamrick said.
"ECU athletics has made great strides in Mike's tenure," East Carolina Chancellor William Muse said in a prepared statement this morning. "We became full members of Conference-USA in 1999, and we completed or launched more than $46 million in athletic facility construction since Mike arrived. ... Our student-athletes maintain a high grade-point average, and our excellent graduation rates have been recognized by national organizations.
"His years here will certainly be remembered as a successful period for Pirate athletics, and we wish him the best in his new position."
Hamrick is scheduled to meet with the Nevada Board of Regents on Friday at 11 a.m. where terms of his contract will be reviewed and released. He made $180,000 per year at East Carolina along with $10,000 in bonuses based on academic success.
Harter said that contract terms still were not complete as of this morning.
"We were up all night negotiating," she said. "There are still some things that need to be worked out. And the Board of Regents will make the final approval. But I'm sure they'll be very glad to have someone with Mike's qualifications and background on hand."
Baring his last-minute complications, Hamrick will likely be formally introduced at UNLV on Monday.