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story.lead_photo.caption Ben Hyneman, shown in this Sept. 13, 2013, file photo, was one of seven members on a 2017 advisory committee to help find a new athletics director at Arkansas. - Photo by Andy Shupe

FAYETTEVILLE -- The University of Arkansas, Fayetteville announced on Wednesday a seven-member panel to serve as an advisory committee to Chancellor Joseph Steinmetz on the hiring of the school's next vice chancellor and director of athletics.

The members of the committee are Lance Harter of Fayetteville, Ben Hyneman of Jonesboro, Gerald Jordan of Fayetteville, Stacy Lewis of Houston, Peter MacKeith of Fayetteville, Rick Massey of Little Rock and Bill Montgomery of Dallas.

Hyneman, chairman of the UA Board of Trustees and a 1971 UA graduate, said the committee members have had one brief phone conversation so far that was organizational in nature.

Asked what time frame the committee was working under, Hyneman said, "I wouldn't want to venture a guess this early in the process. This committee is dedicated to providing their time. It's a serious process and everybody wants to do their best."

Harter is in his 28th year as head coach of the Arkansas women's cross country and track and field teams.

"I'm honored that I've been asked to be a part of the search committee," Harter said. "It's nice they thought of having a coach on the committee to have that perspective of coaching, and that they chose me."

Harter said he feels "a lot" of responsibility being on the committee that will help select the new athletic director.

"Because in my job this is going to be my boss," Harter said. "He's going to dictate my future and everyone else that's on the coaching staff. So it's obviously a very key position of leadership."

Harter said the committee hasn't been given a timetable to interview candidates or recommend names to Steinmetz and hasn't been given specific parameters for the search, such as someone who is a current athletic director, an Arkansas graduate, or a former Razorbacks athlete or coach.

"I think it's open to the best candidates possible," Harter said. "What's most important is we get a great candidate pool.

"Obviously, we're not going to make the ultimate decision. That's lots of pay grades ahead of me."

Steinmetz, who fired 10-year Athletic Director Jeff Long on Nov. 15, formed the committee in consultation with interim Athletic Director Julie Cromer Peoples with the intention of moving through the search quickly.

The UA did not reveal when or how the committee would meet or the timeframe for putting forth recommendations to Steinmetz.

"I sought to assemble a committee representative of the university, spanning past and present in our academics and athletics history, with knowledge and perspective about Arkansas, and, notably an appreciation of the source of pride the Razorbacks are for the state of Arkansas," Steinmetz said in a UA release. "I have great faith in the approach that each of these advisors will bring to the process and I'd like to thank these folks for their time in this endeavor."

The public may contact the committee by email at feedback@uark.edu.

Jordan is the faculty athletic representative at the UA and an associate professor of journalism.

Lewis, the NCAA women's golf champion as a Razorback in 2007, is a professional golfer and a 2008 graduate.

MacKeith, dean and professor of architecture at UA, is the only dean with experience in intercollegiate athletics, having played varsity soccer and served as an assistant coach at the University of Virginia.

Massey, a partner with Westrock Capital Partners and bank chairman of First Federal Bank, Bear State Financial Holdings LLC and First Federal Bancshares of Arkansas, is a 1984 graduate with honors of the UA School of Law.

Montgomery, quarterback of Arkansas' celebrated 1969 team, is an investor and member of the Arkansas Sports Hall of Fame, the UA All-Century team, the UA Sports Hall of Honor and the Southwest Conference Hall of Fame.

Harter said he's confident the Arkansas athletic director opening will draw a lot of interest from qualified candidates.

"I think Arkansas has a lot to offer," he said. "Being in the Power 5, being the SEC, we have a of things to brag about.

"We've got great facilities and a lot of tradition and we want to take things to even new heights."

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  • RBBrittain
    November 23, 2017 at 1:26 p.m.

    Of course Harter couldn't say the real reason he's on there: They'll be picking a coach too. (And is it just me, or does Ben Hyneman look like Frank Broyles without the red hair?)

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