Turnkey Search Gains Respect In College Space, Boosted By Tennessee, 'Bama AD Hires
Turnkey Search has "quickly become a player in the competitive college search market, particularly" in the SEC, as Tennessee and Alabama recently used Turnkey to hire new ADs, according to John Talty of the BIRMINGHAM NEWS. In addition to helping Alabama hire Greg Byrne and Tennessee select John Currie, New Jersey-based Turnkey "placed football coach Ed Orgeron at LSU." Turnkey has been in the executive search space for "more than two decades, working with numerous professional organizations, but entered the college market only a little more than two years ago." It joined a "crowded field dominated by firms" such as Parker Executive Search, DHR, Korn/Ferry and Collegiate Sports Associates. Turnkey Search Managing Dir Gene DeFilippo, who worked as Boston College AD for 15 years before retiring in '12, has been Turnkey's "ace in the hole." He "immediately gave the firm credibility with college decision makers," and Turnkey President & CEO Len Perna "believes Turnkey has been able to gain traction quickly because of DeFilippo's track record." It was DeFilippo's SEC ties that "helped Turnkey land the Alabama and Tennessee searches." Talty noted it is "not unique" to have a former AD "take a leading role within a search firm." Former Washington AD Todd Turner runs Collegiate Sports Associates, former Florida AD Bill Carr runs CarrSports Consulting and former San Diego State AD Jeff Schemmel founded College Sports Solutions. Alabama "paid Turnkey $106,700 for the search that landed Byrne," while the firm earned $75,000 "plus expenses from Tennessee." Tennessee "already had a long-term contract" with Parker Executive Search, which handled "multiple searches for the school including its recent search for a new chancellor" (BIRMINGHAM NEWS, 3/9).