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MSU's Alan Haller one of three finalists for Central Michigan AD job

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Longtime Michigan State athletic-department executive Alan Haller is one of three finalists to become the next athletic director at Central Michigan.

Central Michigan released its three finalists Monday. Joining Haller are Amy Folan, executive senior associate athletics director at Texas, and Derek van der Merwe, assistant vice president, COO and CFO for Arizona athletics.

Central Michigan is looking to replace Michael Alford, who left at the end of August to become CEO of Seminole Boosters at Florida State. Alford was named Central Michigan's athletic director in May 2017.

"I am incredibly impressed with the diverse pool of talented candidates we attracted for this position," said Mary C. Schutten, executive vice president and provost at Central Michigan, and the chair of CMU's 16-person search committee. "Each of our finalists has the necessary experience to continue CMU athletics' championship culture and support our student athletes in the classroom and on the field."

The three candidates are visiting Central Michigan next week for another round of interviews.

Haller has been with Michigan State athletics for 10 years, and was promoted to deputy athletic director in 2019. He is responsible for the department's capital projects, a big selling point at Central Michigan; Alford was considered an expert fundraiser. Haller oversees the Varsity "S" Club, the department's athlete alumni association.

Haller played at Michigan State and went on to the NFL, before earning a master's in human resources from Central Michigan. Before returning to Michigan State's athletic department, he was a lieutenant for the Michigan State University Police Department.

He was part of the search committee that hired football coach Mark Dantonio in 2006.

Van der Merwe is in his third year at Arizona, where he works under athletic director Dave Heeke, the former Central Michigan AD. He played offensive line at Central Michigan from 1991-95, and then joined the athletic department in the mid-1990s as an academic adviser. He worked his way up, eventually overseeing the $22-million renovation of the basketball arena, before leaving Central for Austin Peay in 2013.

Folan has been at Texas since 2003, and in her current role since 2012. She oversses the Longhorn Foundation, which is the department's fundraising wing, and under her leadership, the foundation has had six of its most successful years. Last year, it set records for membership and funding.

The next Central Michigan athletic director will face challenges, given the COVID-19 pandemic and the impact its had on college athletic departments' finances. Central Michigan cut men's track and field, saving $600,000 a year, before Alford left the job.

tpaul@detroitnews.com

Twitter: @tonypaul1984