Nicholls names finalists for athletic director

THIBODAUX, La. — Nicholls State University announced four finalists for athletic director and will hold public interviews over the next two weeks.

The finalists are K. Matthew Roan, deputy director of athletics at Eastern Kentucky University; China Jude, assistant vice president and director of athletics at Queens College (NY); Christopher Walker, associate athletic director at Washington State University; and Kent Hegenauer, senior associate athletic director at the University of Southern Mississippi.

“The four finalists are the result of a months-long national search with an outstanding and diverse pool of candidates. We are looking for a professional with proven experience in intercollegiate athletics administration,” said Nicholls President Dr. Bruce Murphy. “We encourage public participation in the search process and hope the faculty, staff, alumni and the community come out and get to know the candidates as we prepare to make this important decision for the future of our athletics program.”

Head women’s basketball coach and senior woman administrator DoBee Plaisance has held the interim athletic director position since July, when longtime athletic director Rob Bernardi announced his resignation.

Interviews will be held in Ridley Gros Auditorium, 140 Powell Hall, at 3:15 p.m. on the following dates:

  • K. Matthew Roan on Wednesday, Sept. 21.
  • China Jude on Monday, Sept. 26.
  • Christopher Walker on Wednesday, Sept. 28.
  • Kent Hegenauer on Monday, Oct. 3.

A former team captain on the Southern Utah University football team, Roan assisted with football operations at the University of Kentucky while working on his law degree which he obtained from UK’s College of Law in 2012. He was then named deputy director of athletics at Southern Utah University before joining Eastern Kentucky in 2013.

Jude, who spent nearly nine years in the Navy, became the first black head coach in the University of North Carolina at Wilmington’s history when she took over as head volleyball coach in 1999. After similar roles at Coppin State University, the University of West Florida and the University of the District of Columbia, Jude took over as athletics director at Cheyenne University. One year later she took the top athletics job at Queens College.

Walker has more than 20 years of experience in athletics administration at the Division 1 level, beginning in 1996 as associate sports information director at Florida State University. He joined Southern Methodist University in 2000 as assistant athletic director of communications and broadcasting and later as assistant athletic director of development. In 2006, he took the associate athletic director for external relations job at the University of North Carolina at Wilmington before accepting his current role with Washington State in 2008.

Hegenauer graduated from the Indiana University in 1996 and quickly found himself in south Louisiana at Tulane University’s ticket office for two years. He left to become assistant ticket manager at Michigan State University in 1999, before becoming director of ticket operations at Texas Christian University in 2003 and the University of South Carolina in 2005. He was named associate athletic director at Southern Mississippi in 2008 and promoted to his current job in 2012.


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