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New Maryland AD: ‘We’re going to take over this conference’

Maryland athletic director Damon Evans, second from right, sits with his daughter Kennedy, from left, wife Kerri and University of Maryland president Wallace Loh at an introductory news conference, Tuesday, June 26, 2018, in College Park, Md. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

COLLEGE PARK, Md. (AP) — The University of Maryland has hired Damon Evans to be its athletic director, completing the transition that started in October when Kevin Anderson took a six-month sabbatical from the post.

Evans joined the school in December 2014. He was named acting athletic director when Anderson began his sabbatical and maintained that job after Anderson resigned in April.

Maryland launched a national search for a new AD after Anderson resigned, but ended up staying close to home with its final choice.

In a statement Monday, Maryland President Wallace Loh said, “The candidates invited for interviews had impressive credentials and accomplishments. … In Damon, the University of Maryland has the right person at the right time.”

Evans said his goal is to shake up the Big Ten Conference and make sure “people know who we are, and what Maryland is about, not just not just athletically, but academically.”

Evans joined the university after serving as the director of athletics at the University of Georgia from 2004-2010. He served as Maryland’s Executive Athletic Director and Chief Financial Officer before moving into the acting role in 2017.

Over the past four years, Evans overhauled the athletics budget and financial operations, resulting in an operating surplus, according to the school.

Evans said raising money for the department of athletics is more than just a financial endeavor, it is a way to build relationships. “It’s about the branding, it’s about the perception of the institution as a whole,” he said.

And what will he do for the Terrapins, whose soccer, lacrosse and women’s basketball programs have been among the best in the country in recent years, while its major moneymaking sports — football and men’s basketball — have struggled to reach their former heights?

“We are going to take over this conference and we are going to do some things that other people might say ‘how in the heck did they do that?’ We did it because we worked together and I’ll make sure of that.”

Evans endorsed football coach D.J. Durkin, whose teams have compiled a 10-15 record in his first two seasons. He called Durkin “a little bit snakebit,” due to injuries his players have suffered and that the Terrapins play in the stronger of the conference’s two divisions.

“I believe in D.J. Durkin, I sat in the room and met with D.J. when we were out looking for coaches, and I believed then and I believe now that he is the right man for the job,” Evans said.

Evans also said he believes the university will not face any significant punishment related to former men’s basketball player Diamond Stone, who allegedly received thousands of dollars from an agent while he was still in school.

“We have done our due diligence and we are in a good spot right now,” he said.

WTOP’s Dan Friedell contributed to this report

 

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