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Published: Friday, 6/2/2006

Finalists for new BGSU AD cut to 2

BY MAUREEN FULTON
BLADE SPORTS WRITER

BOWLING GREEN - Two finalists have been chosen for the Bowling Green State University athletic director job, and the school hopes to make a hire in the next two weeks.

Whit Babcock, an assistant athletic director from West Virginia University, and Greg Christopher, an associate athletic director at Purdue, will visit campus in the next few days to meet with coaches and athletic department administrators. The men are vying to replace Paul Krebs, who accepted the AD position at the University of New Mexico in March.

"I believe we have two outstanding individuals who offer a great deal to our institution and our community," BGSU presi-dent Sidney Ribeau said. "Both have been successful in establishing the type of relationships you need to advance and lead an athletic program and both have played a key role in the success of their respective institutions."

Babcock, 36, will tour BGSU today. Christopher, 40, will visit on Monday.

"Coming from the Midwest, BG has a rich athletics tradition, a strong athletic program and certainly is in a good athletic conference," Christopher said. "Those were the core areas that attracted me. That and as they talked about the position and their needs, they view fundraising and marketing as being two of the priorities."

Christopher was contacted about the position by headhunter Chuck Neinas, who the school hired to locate and evaluate candidates.

"My heart has always been for athletics, and what athletics can do for a young person," Christopher said. "It can be the front porch of the university when it's done right."

Babcock could not be reached for comment yesterday because he was traveling to Bowling Green.

Both men oversee fund-raising clubs at their schools. Christopher is the associate AD for external relations and heads the John Purdue Club.

He has worked on a campaign drive for the past five years, which is on track to raise $111 million upon its completion in two years.

Babcock, who is also the executive director of development, restructured the Mountaineer Athletic Club. Since he started the position 3 1/2 years ago private giving toward athletics at WVU has increased 60 percent. Prior to WVU Babcock worked as the assistant athletic director of development at Auburn, and was assistant director of marketing and development at James Madison University, where he played baseball as an undergrad. Babcock got a master's degree in sports management at WVU.

Christopher worked for six years for the Society of Professional Journalists, three as its executive director. He came to Purdue in 1997 and became director of the John Purdue Club in 1999. A Miami University graduate in mass communication, Christopher also got his MBA at Miami. He worked as a radio station account executive before joining SPJ.

"Whit has some different experiences in administration, and having been a student athlete brings a good perspective," BGSU vice president of student affairs Ed Whipple said. "Greg's work with the media is very intriguing, as well as his business background coupled with his development experience."

Whipple said he and Ribeau want to have an offer out and an acceptance by the middle of June.

Contact Maureen Fulton at:

mfulton@theblade.com

or 419-724-6160.



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