University of Arizona interim athletic director Erika Barnes does not plan to pursue the position permanently, she said in an interview with the Arizona Sonora News.
“I still have interest in being the AD here at some point in the future if the opportunity presents itself again down the road,” Barnes said. “Right now, I am dialed in to the interim role and happy to support our department for the long-term future in whatever capacity that may be.”
Barnes was introduced as the interim athletic director in mid-January after former UA athletic director Greg Byrne departed for the same position at Alabama.
Barnes, who officially started on Feb. 1, said in her introductory press conference that she was unsure if she would be a candidate to replace Byrne.
“I don’t know yet at this point,” she said at the time. “I really just want to focus on this semester and for however long this position might be.”
Barnes ultimately decided pursuing the permanent position was not in her best interest.
“At this point in my career there is a long list of pros and cons, and I focused in on what is best for me from a strategic career perspective while working at a university that I am very passionate about,” she said.
The UA’s search for its new athletic director will continue under the leadership of President Ann Weaver Hart plus former Arizona athletic director Cedric Dempsey and former deputy athletic director Kathleen “Rocky” LaRose, who are assisting with the search.
It is not clear who the UA has targeted, though a few names have unofficially been tossed out there, including South Florida athletic director Mark Harlan, who graduated from Arizona in 1992.
Barnes said in January that she does not know how long it will take UA to find Byrne’s permanent replacement.
Barnes, who played softball at Arizona from 1998-2001, has worked in Arizona Athletics since 2005.
One of Barnes’ noteworthy accomplishments as the interim athletic director was securing a $1 million gift from Terry Francona that will go toward a new hitting facility for the Arizona baseball team.
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