December 2020

University of West Georgia

This week, Collegiate Consulting began the search for the University of West Georgia’s next Director of Athletics. Our long-standing partnership with the university provides us unique insight into the program, which will assist us in finding someone who fits the UWG vision. We are excited to continue our prolific relationship with UWG.

This collaboration has included several previous studies, including an operational review this summer which was a follow-up to the 2017 Operational Study conducted by our firm.

The operational review was over the course of three weeks, and included 24 total interviews with athletic department staff. These interviews were done with head coaches and department heads, as well as institutional leadership.

In addition to our interviews, Collegiate Consulting collected and analyzed benchmarking specifics for the past 10 years. This data focused on competitiveness, academics, external revenue, scholarships, operating budgets and total athletic budget. This information was gathered and reviewed for internal comparison, as well as comparison to Gulf South Conference member-institutions.

In the past decade, UWG has made significant strides in staffing, budgets, scholarships and academic performance. Collegiate Consulting provided both departmental and team recommendations as part of its assessment with an overarching goal of continuing to improve academic and on-field success.

As part of a continued relationship with the University of West Georgia, Collegiate Consulting was retained to assist in the search for a new Director of Athletics.



Georgia State University


In the Fall of 2011, Collegiate Consulting was retained by Georgia State to complete an FBS Feasibility Study. A few years prior, Georgia State had launched a football program to compete at the FCS level and in the Colonial Athletic Association.

As a part of this study, we benchmarked and analyzed the Sun Belt Conference and Conference USA in 45 days to ensure it was done in time to present to their Board of Trustees. The 176-page report was completed and delivered to Georgia State on Dec. 22, 2011.

Four months later, Georgia State received and accepted a bid to join the Sun Belt beginning in the 2013-14 season. Since their transition from the CAA to the Sun Belt, Georgia State has witnessed unprecedented success both on- and off-the-field.

Their men’s basketball program has earned three Sun Belt championships and three NCAA Tournament appearances, which includes a historic 57-56 victory over #3 Baylor. In addition, the program has two CIT and NIT appearances. The football program has been to three bowl games with a 2017 victory in the Cure Bowl and an upset in 2019 against Tennessee. Beach volleyball was national runner-up in 2016; men’s golf, men’s tennis and men’s soccer each have an NCAA Tournament appearance and women’s tennis has captured two Sun Belt titles.

On the facility front, Georgia State purchased Turner Field (former home of the Atlanta Braves) and signed a naming rights agreement to rebrand the stadium to Center Parc Stadium, the home for Panthers football. On Nov. 17, 2020, Georgia State broke ground on its new 7,300-seat arena. Since the transition from FCS to FBS, Georgia State’s athletic budget has increased from $22.9 million to $38.4 million.

Quick Bytes

  • Several professional leagues have seen a decrease in young fans as social media begins to change the way people view sports.
  • Over the past couple years, during the course of our projects and conversations with multiple schools, there has been a strong feeling that “at some point” the Power 5 would separate, so this report that all of FBS should separate is not surprising at all. It will be interesting to see the next steps and if we’ll high-level FCS programs (NDSU, JMU) becoming more aggressive in reclassification.
  • In the past few months, there have been a handful of articles discussing college athletic departments’ use of search firms for new head coaches and athletic directors. It appears, every few years or so, this becomes a “hot topic,” especially if there is a streak of searches that do not conclude in positive results. As a follow-up to a April 12, 2016, article on – College football coach search firms: Are they worth the money? – we researched the 16 head football coaching hires they discussed in the article. Our findings were:
    • Twelve schools disclosed the consulting fee – a total of $800,000 was spent for an average of more than $66,000 per search.
    • Of the 16 head coaches hired; two left for higher profile head coaching positions; six are still at the school and eight were fired.
    • Eastman Beaudine and College Sports Solutions had the least successful track record; each has had two of their placements fired.
    • Parker Executive Search and DHR had the most success; Parker assisted with Matt Campbell at Iowa State and Scott Frost at UCF (now at Nebraska). Both of DHR’s hires at Toledo and North Texas remain in their positions.
    • Additionally, Collegiate Consulting has completed four football head coach searches:
      • University of West Florida’s Pete Shinnick won the schools first National Championship in 2019
      • Dring three years at UWG, Will Hall had a 31-9 record and led the team to the first Gulf South title since 2000. He is now the head coach at USM
      • Mke Schultz, the former Lamar head coach, led the team to its first playoff appearance before leaving
      • In 2018, Coach Kyle Sweeney’s eighth season at Claremont-Mudd Scripts, resulted in the first SCIAC title since 1987 and the first DIII Tournament appearance in program history.

What's The Word?

The beginning of this fall semester was an extremely busy time in our office. As this semester wraps up, we are seeing even more institutions looking for studies as we head into the new year and winter semester.

Institutions and their athletic programs have seen many changes this year. These changes were difficult and often highlighted the complexity of large-scale organizational management. We anticipate this next year will also have a significant amount of changes, but for the better.

We have talked to several institutions about reclassification to higher divisions or new conferences. Other institutions we have advised are not making external moves, instead they are looking inward at how to improve the experience for students at the institution and in athletics.

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Managing Director
Russell Wright
Collegiate Consulting

1040 Grant St SE, Atlanta
GA 30315 United States