Finalists being interviewed for UNC Charlotte athletics director position

Finalists being interviewed for UNC Charlotte athletics director position
UNC Charlotte entrance on University City Boulevard. (Credit: John D. Simmons | The Charlotte Observer)

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - Two finalists to succeed Judy Rose as the Charlotte 49ers director of athletics were announced Thursday.

In January, Rose announced her plans to retire at the end of the academic 2017-18 calendar year, effective June 30.

Phil Esten, deputy director of athletics and chief operating officer at Penn State, and Mike Hall, executive associate athletics director for external affairs at the University of Florida will be interviewed in Charlotte Monday and Tuesday.

UNC Charlotte Chancellor Philip Dubois made the announcement Thursday.

"Both candidates will have scheduled interviews with key stakeholders including head coaches, staff, student-athletes and alumni," UNC Charlotte school officials say.

Rose is in her 43rd year with the university and her 28th year as the director of athletics. Rose was the third woman to lead an NCAA Division 1 athletics program, the university says.

"I'm privileged to have worked for three great chancellors," Rose said.

Dubois previously indicated that he would chair the search for the next athletic director.

The Charlotte 49ers have added seven sports under Rose's guidance, including women's soccer, men's and women's indoor and outdoor track and field, football and women's golf, the university says.

Rose was under fire from 49ers fans unhappy with the direction of the athletics program, particularly in the marquee sports of football and basketball, the Charlotte Observer reports. Dubois, speaking on WFNZ-AM in December, supported Rose.

"We have 17 sports - and two are very, very important to us and our fans," Dubois said. "That's life in the NCAA and college sports. But if we look at the big picture over 27 years, she has (overseen) a department that has a $29 million budget and hundreds of students going through excellent training and academic support. We have over $100 million in new facilities and not a hint of a (major) NCAA violation and a 93 percent graduation rate. Contrary to the narrative out there, our fundraising is very solid."

Rose called the decision "difficult," citing the love she has for the university and athletic program.

Copyright 2018 WBTV. The Charlotte Observer contributed to this article. All rights reserved.