CHARLESTON, W.Va. — A West Virginia University search committee on Friday did an about-face and endorsed interim President E. Gordon Gee for the job permanently.
The committee made the recommendation during an emergency meeting in Morgantown and now goes to the WVU Board of Governors.
It comes seven months after Gee retired from Ohio State University after his critical remarks about Roman Catholics and Southeastern Conference schools were made public.
When President Jim Clements announced in November that he was leaving for Clemson, the WVU Board of Governors said the interim president wouldn’t be in line to take over full time.
But James W. Dailey, the Board of Governors chairman who headed the search committee, said the committee “had a change of heart.”
“Gordon Gee is absolutely, hands-down the very best person to be at the helm of West Virginia University at this important time and place in our history,” Dailey said.
The Board of Governors now must approve the hiring and rescind a motion about Gee not being a candidate for the permanent job. The board issued a statement saying that it would meet Monday to consider the endorsement.
The 20-member search committee had received 31 applications or nominations for the job. Instead, it passed a motion asking the board to amend the search procedure.
Gee, 70, who also was West Virginia’s president from 1981 to 1985, had intended to be around the Morgantown campus only until the summer.