East Carolina University is waiting for new employment contract details regarding former ECU athletics director Jeff Compher, which could reduce the money owed to him.
Executive search firm WittKieffer announced Compher on Wednesday as a new principal in education practice, set to head recruitment of directors for athletics, coaches and other college sports leaders.
When a buyout with ECU and Compher was announced March 9, 2018, the university reported that Compher was eligible to collect up to payments totaling $1,262,500 through April 30, 2023.
“According to the terms of his ECU separation agreement, he must provide details to ECU administration regarding his new employment contract. After receiving that information, ECU will be able to determine if the university will reduce payments to him, if authorized by the terms of his separation agreement with ECU,” university interim chief communications officer Jeannine Manning Hutson wrote in an email Thursday afternoon.
WittKieffer’s news release Wednesday said that Compher’s role will be based in Chicago to lead searches for athletics leaders at a range of institutions.
His polarizing tenure at ECU ended officially May 1, 2018. The Pirates hired AD Jon Gilbert from Southern Miss on Dec. 3, the same day that Gilbert and special athletics adviser Dave Hart brought in new football coach Mike Houston from James Madison.
Compher hired successful ECU baseball coach Cliff Godwin in 2014, but also fired alum and football coach Ruffin McNeill a year later in a decision that was met with plenty of opposition.
“Combining Jeff’s deep athletics experience with WittKieffer’s thorough and professional approach to academic executive search will create a unique service to colleges and universities,” said Andrew Chastain, CEO of WittKieffer, in the release. “Today’s institutions recognize and value the importance that a senior-level practitioner of Jeff’s stature brings to the highly public nature of athletic director and coaching searches. Recruiting ADs and coaches requires a more comprehensive level of due diligence and a search process that only a firm like WittKieffer can provide.”
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