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The Citadel football team ran onto the field through a giant "C" formed by fellow cadets before the game with SoCon rival Wofford on Saturday at Johnson Hagood Stadium. Wade Spees/Staff Oct. 14, 2017

The search for The Citadel's next athletic director is "picking up momentum" and should meet the school's goal of landing a new AD by the time football season begins on Sept. 1.

That's what officials from the search firm hired by The Citadel, Parker Executive Search,  told the military school's search committee during a meeting on Wednesday morning.

Parker Executive Search has 67 candidates on file to replace Jim Senter, who left The Citadel last November to become athletic director at UTEP. Those candidates have submitted a letter of interest or some other form of application, said Daniel Parker of Parker Executive Search.

Another 50 or so people are "in some sort of consideration of the job right now," Parker said. Parker said that 30 would-be candidates contacted by the search firm declined to be considered.

The current field of 67 candidates includes "sitting athletic directors, senior associates, officials from development and compliance, internal and external.

"We are recruiting a deep and diverse pool of candidates, paying close attention to ethnic and gender diversity," Parker said.

Parker said the number of candidates at this point in the search compares favorably to other searches the firm has conducted.

"We've done a number of searches in your league (the Southern Conference) and in FCS and in your state, including College of Charleston," Parker said. "To have 67 candidates at this point is a high number. I figured we'd have 60 to 80 in the end, and it looks like we will be north of that number."

The search committee will meet again on Aug. 1, with the goal of cutting the field down to a semifinalist list of 8 to 12 candidates, according to search committee chairman Dr. Daniel Bornstein. Those candidates will be interviewed at Parker Search's offices in Atlanta on Aug. 7-8, Bornstein said.

A group of three or four finalists will be brought to campus Aug. 10 and 13 to meet with incoming Citadel president Gen. Glenn M. Walters and other officials, with the new AD set to be hired by the time of the Sept. 1 football opener at Wofford.

Bornstein said candidates who are not found by the search firm will be considered.

"I'm very pleased with the response," Bornstein said. "I think it's a testament to The Citadel and what it stands for. I think that's reflected in the numbers who have applied.

"It is daunting, the work of this committee. There's a lot of heavy lifting as we sift through a large number of candidates, but I'm pleased with where we are at."

The Citadel's incoming AD will have several challenges ahead, including finishing the renovation of Johnson Hagood Stadium.

Reach Jeff Hartsell at 843-937-5596. Follow on Twitter @Jeff_fromthePC