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Committee Appointed In Kent State Athletic Director Search

Posted Dec, 10, 2009

Business School Dean Robert "Yank" Heisler to head up search

Kent State University President Lester A. Lefton has named Robert “Yank” Heisler as chair of the 17-member search committee charged with finding the successor to Athletic Director Laing Kennedy, who will be retiring June 30, 2010, after 16 years of heading up the Golden Flashes’ athletic efforts.

Heisler has served as the Dean of the College of Business Administration and Graduate School of Management at Kent State since October 2008. He previously served as the interim Vice President of Administration & Finance in the summer of 2008 after coming on board as a special advisor to President Lefton in September 2007.

Before his arrival in Kent, Heisler spent 31 years at KeyCorp, retiring in August 2007 from his position as Chairman of KeyBank. Prior to his role as chairman, he served as Senior Managing Director of Key Capital Partners. Heisler has also served as a director of First Energy Corporation since 1998.

The diverse committee — whose members are listed below — will meet for the first time next week and tentatively plans to forward a list of three to five recommendations to President Lefton by late March or early April.

Under Kennedy’s leadership, Kent State teams have won an astounding 87 Mid-American Conference (MAC) team regular season and tournament championships. Individually, Golden Flashes student-athletes have claimed 251 individual MAC titles while earning 84 All-America honors and 26 Academic All-America citations.

As a department, Kent State has been the top MAC school in the NCAA Championships performance-based Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings nine of the last 10 years, while claiming six Jacoby Trophies and four Reese Trophies for overall women’s and men’s excellence, respectively, in the MAC. Just last year, the department finished second in the Excellence in Management Cup standings, which measures a department’s athletic success while factoring in fiscal responsibility.

The longest-tenured athletic director in the MAC, Kennedy is in his final year on the prestigious NCAA Division I Men’s Basketball Committee. A 1963 graduate of Cornell University, the Woodstock, Ontario, native came to Kent State in 1994 following an 11-year stint as the Director of Athletics at his alma mater.

Kent State University Athletic Director Search Committee:
Yank Heisler, Dean, College of Business Administration, Chair
Judy Devine, National Athletic Development Council
Curtis Eaton Jr., Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; Track and Field
Ronald Fowler, Special Assistant to the President and Consultant to the University
George Jenkins, Trustee Emeritus; National Athletic Development Council
Jen Kulics, Associate Director of Athletics for Academic Services
Daniel Mahony, Dean, College of Education, Health and Human Services
Mel Mellis, National Athletic Development Council; Kent State Foundation Board of Directors
Molly Merryman, Associate Professor, Justice Studies
Catharine Marosszeky, Student-Athlete Advisory Committee; Soccer
Herb Page, Director of Golf and Head Coach, Men’s Golf
Charlene Reed, Secretary to the Board of Trustees; Chief of Staff to the President
David Ruller, City Manager, City of Kent
Scott Sherwood, President, Undergraduate Student Government
Charles Sinclair, Senior Vice President, Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company
Willis Walker, Vice President of Human Resources; Chief University Counsel
Kathryn Wilson, Professor, Economics, and NCAA Faculty Athletic Representative

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Media Contact:
Alan Ashby,, 330-672-8419