Maine names James new athletic director

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ORONO (AP) – The University of Maine’s interim athletic director, Blake James, has been selected to take over the top sports post full-time, UMaine President Robert Kennedy announced Wednesday.

James has been at UMaine since 2003 and has been interim athletic director since last summer, when Patrick Nero stepped down to become commissioner of the America East Conference. James was chosen from a list of three finalists after a national search.

Kennedy cited James’ background at other universities as an important consideration in the decision, saying, “Blake’s proven track record in fundraising, and the relationships he has already developed within the UMaine donor community, will serve us well.”

UMaine is in the first year of a six-year $150 million fundraising campaign.

The other two finalists for the AD’s post were Wayne State University Athletic Director Robert Fournier and Frank Pergolizzi, athletic director at Southeastern Louisiana University. James’ appointment will become final when approved by the UMaine System Board of Trustees.

James said the success of UMaine athletics depends on the ability to provide student-athletes with what they need to achieve academic and athletic excellence.

“The University of Maine is a wonderful institution and I am elated to have the opportunity to continue in the role of athletic director,” James said.

Before coming to UMaine, James worked in athletic fundraising roles at the University of Nebraska, the University of Miami and Providence College.

He earned a bachelor’s degree from Mankato State University and a master’s degree from St. Thomas University in Miami.

Black Bear women’s basketball coach Ann McInerney and men’s hockey coach Tim Whitehead were on the athletic director search committee.

James said he will start a search for a senior associate athletic director.

AP-ES-05-10-06 1135EDT

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