Names have been and will continue to be floated for the athletics director opening at Mississippi State. I have knowledge, however, of one person who is definitely going to be applying for the job vacated by Greg Byrne. His name is Jim Carr, and a close friend of his has said Carr’s résumé will be sent to MSU President Dr. Mark Keenum for consideration.
How legit of a candidate is Jim Carr? I’ll let you decide. He’s currently the President and Chief Executive Officer of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA). He’s held those titles since 2006. He previously was Chief Operating Officer (2000-2006), and prior to that managing director and general counsel (1998-2000) for the NAIA.
He’s a native of Gulfport, played college basketball at Millsaps College in Jackson, and has degrees from Massachusetts (sports management) and Duke University School of Law (Juris Doctorate). After finishing up at Duke in 1994, Carr went to work for a Birmingham law firm until joining the NAIA in 1998.
I got the 43-year-old Carr on the phone this morning, and while he was not aware that his friend was submitting Carr’s name for the AD job, he said, “Being a native of Mississippi, I would be flattered to be considered, but I haven’t had any discussions with anybody to that extent.”
Carr said he has pondered the possibility of someday being an AD. “It’s obviously different than what I’m doing right now, but I would enjoy the closer contact with student-athletes and working with coaches, so that’s something I would enjoy doing. And I like to get out and fundraise and work with boosters and things like that, so it’s certainly something I’ve thought about.”
Carr’s fondness for fundraising is a big plus for him. That’s an area Byrne excelled in and is one of the main qualities Keenum wants the new hire to possess.
As Keenum told me yesterday, he wants “someone who’s going to be highly motivated, who’s going to be a visionary, someone who has good management skills and is obviously good with people. Hopefully have some experience in fundraising.”
Carr was director of licensing at UNLV from 1989-91, and his bio says he “strengthened policing and marketing efforts which contributed to a 300% increase in royalty revenue from the 1990-91 academic year.”
Getting back to Mississippi would also be a draw for Carr. He’s currently living in Kansas City with his wife and two children. He has family still in Gulfport, including his father, and his wife has family in Birmingham.
“At some point we’ve thought about trying to get back to the South,” Carr said.
The NAIA has nearly 300 member institutions more than 45,000 student-athletes.