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Long Beach State

Long Beach State AD Search Narrowed to Finalists, Decision Expected Soon

Multiple Long Beach State athletic department and university sources confirmed that the school had three finalists for its open athletic director position on campus last week, with sessions that included final interviews with university president Jane Conoley and vice president/CFO Scott Apel, who will oversee the AD on campus. University spokesman Jeff Cook had previously said an appointment was likely to be announced in August.

The three finalists confirmed on campus were University of San Diego Senior Associate AD Marcy Lanoue, University of Akron Deputy AD/COO Markus Jennings, and San Diego State Associate AD Bobby Smitheran. 

Long Beach State finds itself at a crossroads after a year searching for an AD–it’s been nearly a year since former AD Andy Fee departed for the University of Washington. With the finalists on campus, the end of a long search seems near, with department employees saying they expect an announcement in the next week or two. Interim AD Ted Kadowaki penned a farewell letter to LBSU fans earlier this week.

“It has truly been an honor to serve as Long Beach State Interim Director of Athletics for the past year,” he wrote. “I accepted this assignment as a temporary role hoping that I could help the department in some way after the sudden departure of the previous AD, but it became much more than just a temporary job for me.”

Kadowaki said he will remain with the university until the end of August to ensure “a smooth transition to the next AD.”

Lanoue is in her seventh year with the University of San Diego, where she is the school’s Senior Woman Administrator, as well as the sport facilitator for volleyball and men’s tennis. She’s been in charge of the Toreros’ marketing, sales, communications, and branding according to her university bio, as well as leading with USD’s fundraising.

Prior to USD, Lanoue was an associate AD at Southern Miss and also had stops at the University of South Florida and the University of Miami.

Jennings has been at the University of Akron for the last two years, where he’s worked on overseeing the school’s football program as well as external operations. Jennings is an Akron native and has been working at his hometown school for two years following eight years as an associate AD at Sacramento State, with previous stops at Kent State, Valparaiso, and New Mexico State, where he played baseball as a student-athlete.

Smitheran is by far the longest-tenured of the finalists, having been part of the team at San Diego State since 2008, including in a senior associate AD role since 2014. Smitheran oversees the academic support program and is a liaison with the football and softball programs. A member of the school’s executive leadership team, Smitheran has also previously served as the Aztecs’ compliance director. While his longevity with one program and experience at SDSU–the dream scenario sports program for a Cal State University–Smitheran’s roles have mostly been internal, while Lanoue and Jennings have done external and development work.

Smitheran is a SoCal native, hailing from Riverside and having played college baseball at the University of New Mexico.

Mike Guardabascio
An LBC native, Mike Guardabascio has been covering Long Beach sports professionally for 13 years, with his work published in dozens of Southern California magazines and newspapers. He's won numerous awards for his writing as well as the CIF Southern Section’s Champion For Character Award, and is the author of three books about Long Beach history.