ORONO (AP) – Senior associate athletic director Blake James has been elevated to interim athletic director at the University of Maine.

James’ most pressing tasks will be to fill two positions: the athletic department is in the midst of hiring baseball and softball coaches. He said he hopes to name a softball coach within two weeks and a baseball coach a week or two after that. He is also busy preparing for the July 23-25 Maine hockey alumni weekend, which will include a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Shawn Walsh Center at Alfond Arena.

James, 36, was recommended for the interim post by outgoing Athletic Director Patrick Nero, who resigned to become commissioner of the America East Conference. The two worked together at the University of Miami in corporate sales and athletic development. “I think this is a great opportunity to continue to focus on what Patrick has put in place,” he said. “My job will be to keep moving our program forward.”

James, who has served as senior associate athletic director since October 2003, said he has not officially applied for the permanent athletic director position but he expressed interest in the job to university President Robert Kennedy.

AP-ES-07-08-05 0841EDT

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