Pat Long to replace Dan Harris next fall

Story by Kyle Davis

Baker University President Pat Long will be adding athletic director to her list of titles and responsibilities next year.

With the retirement of athletic director Dan Harris, Long will become the interim athletic director until a new one is hired.

Long said she hopes the search for a replacement will begin after the first of the year, in 2010, because she would like to have someone hired by late spring or by the summer.

Long is not a stranger to a university’s athletic department. Officials in the athletic department reported to Long while she was at Johnson County Community College, and she also worked closely with athletics at the University of Missouri-Kansas City.

“I think it will definitely be an advantage for our department to have a president that truly understands our needs and our challenges,” Harris said.

This move also will help in determining a replacement for Harris.

“He’ll be a hard person to replace,” Long said. “That’s one of the reasons I wanted to serve in the interim athletic director for a year. It’s very hard to follow somebody like that. Two, I need a feel for what kind of skills and talents we need for our next athletic director, and this will give me, I think, a little bit closer perspective than I have now.”

Since being an athletic director is a full-time position, it will be a group effort to get the job done.

Long said she will meet with assistant athletic director Theresa Yetmar and some of the coaches to discuss how the duties will be divided.

“We have an outstanding assistant director in Theresa,” Long said. “I’ll call on the coaches as well to step up and help me, and probably be using especially a couple of coaches to take on some extra responsibilities.”

Yetmar is in charge of game operations, mainly home events and also is in charge of the department’s budgeting systems.

Yetmar said she believes she will continue those duties while also handling some of the duties that were previously done by Harris.

“I think all of the tools are in place for a successful athletic department,” Yetmar said. “I will be here to help assist with the transition next year for Dr. Long and for our coaches, and I just think that we’re set for the future.”

Harris said he hopes to get many of the tasks, such as getting scheduling completed and having coaches’ contracts evaluated and assigned, along with finishing the recruiting process for the new men’s wrestling and women’s bowling programs finished before he leaves for retirement.

“I hope to have a clean sailing ship by June 30, so that there’s not a lot of issues to deal with going into the next fall,” Harris said.

He’s also going to make himself available after June 30.

“I’m definitely going to be a person that I hope they feel comfortable asking me for support or help or ideas,” Harris said. “So I’m definitely going to be there to support them through this whole process.”