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KEARNEY — Nearly four weeks have passed since University of Nebraska at Kearney held its last of four in-person interviews on March 18 for the vacant athletic director position.

UNK Chancellor Doug Kristensen hoped to announce his choice for the position shortly after the completion of the interviews but an unexpected back surgery about two weeks ago has created a delay in the selection process.

Kelly Bartling, UNK’s assistant vice chancellor communications and community relations, told the Kearney Hub today that Kristensen is recuperating from the procedure and has notified the four candidates of the unforeseen interruption.

Paul Plinske was UNK’s athletic director until leaving for the same role at Colorado State University-Pueblo last May. Former wrestling coach Marc Bauer has been the interim athletic director since Plinske’s departure.

Bauer is one of four finalists for the permanent position. Amy Foster, Slade Larscheid and Ron Prettyman also are being considered for the position.

Foster has served as the associate athletic director for business at Division II Seattle Pacific University for nearly nine years.

Larscheid served as the athletic director at Division II Augustana University in Sioux Falls, S.D., from May 2014 to February 2018. He since has worked as a vice president of sales and marketing for Pro Cooperative in Iowa.

Prettyman was the managing director of championships for the NCAA, overseeing 17 championships, including the College World Series, from 2016 to 2018. He served as athletic director at Division I Indiana State University from 2005 to 2016.

Once Kristensen recovers from his surgery, "the athletic director is on the top of his list of urgent matters," Bartling said. "All four candidates remain interested and engaged, and hopefully he will be back at work here coming up next week."