BY ZACH EWING Californian staff writer firstname.lastname@example.org
Cal State Bakersfield and Jeff Konya confirmed their faith in each other on Monday when the school gave its athletic director a five-year contract after Konya withdrew his name from the search for a new athletic director at Cal State Northridge.
Konya was a finalist for the open position at CSUN and was to interview this week in Northridge. But ultimately, after a conversation with CSUB president Dr. Horace Mitchell, Konya decided he wanted to remain a Roadrunner.
"Dr. Mitchell and I share the same passion for Bakersfield and CSUB," Konya said. "We were able to come to terms with what would keep me here."
Konya said the sides agreed in principle to a five-year contract in principle but that details, like the amount necessary for either part to buy out of the contract, had yet to be determined. CSUB spokesman Corey Costelloe said Konya's salary -- $165,000 plus $66,000 in benefits -- would remain the same.
Dr. Michael Bambauer, who is leading the search committee for a new athletic director at CSUN, said in an email that Konya withdrew his name early Monday.
Konya, 40, was hired in November 2010 to replace Rudy Carvajal, the only athletic director CSUB had ever known in its 38 years. He officially started duties in January 2011 and has shepherded Roadrunner athletics into its first Division I conference home, the Western Athletic Conference. CSUB will begin play in the WAC on July 1.
"We've done tremendous things and built a foundation for success," Konya said. "As we enter into the WAC as a full member, hopefully we can capitalize on that success. ... You can't take those things for granted. We put so much effort into finding a permanent (conference) home that there's some personal satisfaction with seeing this through and seeing us compete (in the WAC)."
Under Konya, CSUB also has found a conference home for many of its individual sports and received national recognition for facilities improvement and marketing campaigns.
"We are very pleased with what Jeff Konya has accomplished in two years here at CSU Bakersfield, and we are looking forward to working with him in the future," Mitchell said in a prepared statement. "Jeff has moved our athletics program in an upward direction and we want to continue on that path under his leadership in athletics."
Konya said Cal State Northridge was not the first university to approach him in the past two years, but this was the first opportunity he chose to explore.
"Something about this one piqued my curiosity," he said. "I didn't know too much about the school, but I had heard good things about their leadership and the momentum they had. I wanted to go have a conversation. But as we got going, I realized my heart and my head were into staying here in Bakersfield."
The offers Konya has received, he said, are evidence that the Roadrunners are on the right track.
"This is awesome; it's a really good deal," Konya said. "Sometimes I think our community takes what we're building for granted. But nationally, people are taking notice of what we're doing. This is a good time for people to reflect and see what we're trying to build."