Boise State University

A second search starts for new BSU president - using the same firm picked for U of I

The state will embark on a second search to replace now retired Boise State President Bob Kustra.
The state will embark on a second search to replace now retired Boise State President Bob Kustra. Idaho Statesman file

Storbeck Pimentel & Associates will lead a renewed search to find the next Boise State University president, the Idaho State Board of Education announced Tuesday.

The company, which has offices in Pennsylvania and California, also is doing the search to replace the University of Idaho’s outgoing President Chuck Staben.

The search firm’s managing partner, Alberto Pimentel, will head the effort and lead separate teams for each university’s search. SBOE President Linda Clark will lead the local screening committee that will be made up of board members, Boise State faculty and staff and community members.

Each university independently evaluated and selected Storbeck Pimentel, said board spokesman Mike Keckler.

It’s been a long road to get to this point.

The first search to replace retired BSU President Bob Kustra happened over the 2017-18 school year and yielded five candidates who visited Boise State. The search was deemed unsuccessful in June, after critics argued that the search firm, AGB Search, didn’t find strong enough candidates and rushed the process.

AGB also ran successful president searches for Lewis-Clark State College and Idaho State University at the same time.

As the universities look for new leadership, both the BSU and U of I roles come with challenges.

Kustra is a hard act to follow. Under his guidance, Boise State grew its profile both academically and athletically — especially its nationally ranked football program. Enrollment increased from about 18,500 to 24,000 students. New majors and master’s programs were added. He created a focus on research, and expanded the campus with new state-of-the-art facilities for environmental sciences, engineering, fine arts and others.

For the U of I, the goal is to restore the school’s reputation and relationships. Staben is leaving on the heels of allegations that former athletic director Rob Spear mishandled reports of sexual assault and harassment by student-athletes. Meanwhile, athletics boosters targeted Staben over issues including moving the U of I football program back to a lower division, and a warning of possible sports cuts this April.

Spear was fired in August. The SBOE declined to renew Staben’s contract in May.

The search for Staben’s replacement is currently underway and also will cost the state $78,400, plus out-of-pocket expenses.

The goal is to name U of I’s new president in early 2019, and the BSU president by July 1, the board said in separate statements.

Both universities have presidents in place through the end of the current school year: Staben at U of I, and longtime faculty member Martin Schimpf serving as an interim at Boise State.

Dana Oland: 208-377-6442, @DanaOland