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SEARK announces finalists for position

by I.C. Murrell | February 10, 2023 at 2:35 a.m.
The Southeast Arkansas College campus in Pine Bluff is shown in this undated photo. (Pine Bluff Commercial/I.C. Murrell)

A former staff member at both of southeast Arkansas' universities and two former men's basketball coaches are the three finalists to become Southeast Arkansas College's dean of students and first-ever athletic director, college President Steven Bloomberg announced Thursday.

Jason Hudnell, Ka'Lisa Stanfield and Chad Kline will visit SEARK over a three-day period next week for face-to-face interviews with Bloomberg and a facility tour, as well as a community forum to be held each day with each finalist. All three have experience as athletic directors.

The interviews will begin Tuesday with Hudnell, who was dean of enrollment and athletic director at Hot Springs' National Park College from 2016-22 and its men's basketball coach from 2017-20, posting a 45-24 record. According to a biography submitted by Bloomberg, Hudnell led efforts to build an athletic department with 175 students across eight sports. He was also NJCAA Region 2 sports chair for soccer and softball.

Stanfield, who will visit Wednesday, was academic counselor and special events coordinator at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff from 2017-18 and assistant athletic director for compliance at the University of Arkansas at Monticello from 2018-21. She most recently served as interim athletic director at Alabama A&M University, leading the school's efforts to establish rules for the school's name, image and likeness program under NCAA guidelines. Prior to that, she was associate athletic director for academics at AAMU.

Kline was most recently athletic director and men's basketball coach at Dyersburg (Tenn.) State Community College from 2020-22. He supervised the day-to-day operations of the athletic department and athletic programs, which included women's soccer, men's and women's basketball, softball and baseball. Kline coached Dyersburg State to a 46-13 record in two seasons and led the program to a Tennessee Community College Athletic Association championship in 2021.

Kline, who will visit Thursday, is also a former head coach at Arkansas Tech University (2014-20), where he became the fourth winningest coach in school history (96-79 record). He's also coached at Frank Phillips College in Borger, Texas, from 2005-10, where he went 90-60 and won a Western Junior College Athletic Association championship.

Each candidate will meet with the president's cabinet from 9-10 a.m. on their respective day of visit, interview with Bloomberg from 10:30-11:45 a.m., have lunch with the interview committee from noon-1 p.m., take part in a community forum from 2-3 p.m., tour the campus' Seabrook athletic facility from 3-4:30 p.m. and have dinner with Bloomberg and campus First Lady Lynette Bloomberg from 7-8:30 p.m.

The finalists were announced one week after the college authorized purchase of the old Davis Life Care Center nursing home, which will be converted into a residential area for athletes and is located near the Seabrook activity center on South Hazel Street. SEARK is planning to field baseball, softball and e-sports teams for the 2023-24 school year, with men's and women's basketball to come in 2024-25.

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