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Eastern Washington's Bill Chaves is last finalist to interview for UND's athletic director post

Eastern Washington Athletic Director Bill Chaves at Roos Field in Cheney, Wash. Dave Wallis / Forum News Service1 / 2
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Bill Chaves' career in college athletics has included stops at schools with hockey such as Quinnipiac and Northeastern.

Now the athletic director at Eastern Washington, Chaves would like to reunite with his hockey roots at UND.

"The opportunity to have hockey within a portfolio of sports offerings excites me," Chaves said after participating in a public forum Wednesday while interviewing to become UND's next athletic director. "It's something I've been a part of at different institutions and it really intrigues me."

Chaves, who has been the AD at EWU since 2007, was the fourth candidate to hold a public forum and the last finalist to interview.

Western Michigan senior associate athletic director Monty Porter (Sunday), UND's associate athletic director with the Alumni Association and Foundation Mike Mannausau (Monday) and Texas-San Antonio deputy athletic director Kellie Elliott (Tuesday) have also held public forums and interviewed this week.

The UND AD search committee will now meet Friday morning to discuss the finalists in an effort to provide recommendations to President Mark Kennedy, who will ultimately make a decision.

"I've been fortunate the last five years to watch UND both up close and from afar," said Chaves, whose EWU program participates in the Big Sky Conference, a league in which UND is transitioning away from into the Summit League and Missouri Valley Football Conference.

Chaves said his department in Cheney, Wash., was disappointed last season to see UND win the Big Sky's President Cup, an award that goes to the top school in the league in terms of both athletic and academic success.

"I think it sets up for an exciting decade to come," Chaves said. "I think what has transpired and what's out in front for this athletic program is exciting."

Chaves is the only one of the four finalists to be a standing athletic director.

"If I went back 11 years ago, and I was standing in this room, I probably wouldn't have the same thought process that I do now because I've done it for the last 10-plus years at Eastern," Chaves said. "It's like a first-time head coach. Until you call your first timeout ... there's a level of experience that I think can help with this particular job."

Under Chaves, the EWU football program has won five Big Sky titles and captured the FCS national championship in 2010. Chaves also played a role in EWU installing the first-ever red turf football field.

He led several fundraising initiatives at EWU, as well, including a $1.1 million project for a new videoboard/scoreboards at Roos Field and Reese Court and a $1.5 million locker room project.

Eastern's fundraising arm, Eagle Athletic Fund, is at an all-time high in both members and dollars.

Chaves, who grew up in Connecticut, has been married to his wife Liz for 23 years. They have a daughter Erin (17) and two sons, Derek (14) and Kevin (12).

Tom Miller

Miller has been with the Grand Forks Herald sports department for the past 13 years. He's also a Grand Forks native and UND graduate. 

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