By Parrish Alford/NEMS Daily Journal
OXFORD – With the drive to build a new basketball arena and make major football stadium renovations almost at the half-way point, Ole Miss has lost its chief fundraiser.
However, new athletics director Ross Bjork believes the transition will be smooth.
Danny White, executive director of the UMAA Foundation since 2009, was named athletics director at University of Buffalo on Tuesday. At 32, he’s the youngest AD in the NCAA’s FBS division.
Bjork is approaching the one-month mark of his employment at Ole Miss. The three-week “Rebel Road Trip” demanded much of his attention in his first weeks on the job.
He doesn’t believe that timing will affect on-going major gift discussions.
“The most high level of conversations I’m aware of. There will be others where I’ll need to meet with that individual, or Danny and I, whatever it takes to make that connection. I’ll be brought up to speed in the transition. It will accelerate my learning curve.”
Bjork said he has already received calls for White’s replacement and will conduct a national search for the position.
There is no deadline for that hire, however. He first wants to meet with White, likely today, and discuss the transition timeline.
Bjork met with the Foundation staff on Monday.
The Forward Together capital campaign has raised a little more than $63 million of its goal of $150 million.
“I left Missouri in the middle of a campaign, UCLA in the middle of a campaign,” Bjork said. “We’ll have to monitor how that impacts it, but we expect a good, smooth handoff in the next couple of weeks or so.”