By NEIL PIERSON
Eastern Washington University wanted to move quickly in its search for a new athletics director, and it did so Tuesday afternoon with the interim hiring of Michael Westfall.
Five days after Darren Hamilton's contract was terminated, Westfall was introduced during a short press conference at Reese Court. Westfall came to EWU last November as the vice president for university advancement and will remain in that role while serving as the interim AD.
“I see myself as being the eyes and the ears to the president,” Westfall said when asked about his short-term duties. “We all want the best for Eastern and we all want the best for our student-athletes.”
Westfall has an extensive background in higher education fundraising, serving in advancement positions at Radford University, the University of Toronto and Virginia Tech, among others. His background also includes a two-year stint as men's basketball head coach at Myers College in Cleveland and three years as assistant coach for Central Michigan University's men basketball program.
“His background in both collegiate athletics and in fundraising makes him well-prepared to lead the department during this interim period,” EWU President Rodolfo Arévalo said in a press release.
Westfall didn't give a concrete timeline for when a permanent hire would come on board, but said “four to five months is a ballpark estimate.”
“We want to get the best person we can for the job and that may take some time,” he added.
Westfall will be part of the search committee and said the university is looking for someone with a proven track record of leadership.
“A leader leads because they're allowed to lead,” he said. “Anyone who comes into a position and doesn't understand that will have problems.”
Neil Pierson can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org