The University of Wisconsin is searching nationwide for a new Director of Recreational Sports to promote healthy lifestyles for students at UW.

Wisconsin Union Director Mark Guthier chairs the search and screen committee responsible for recruiting candidates and processing applications and nominations for the position, according to a UW statement.

After making the job announcement last week, Guthier said the committee is hoping to complete its recruitment efforts by Feb. 24. The committee will then begin screening applications to narrow the field of candidates during March and comprise a group of finalists before the end of the semester, he said.

“A preferred timeline is to have finalists on campus before the end of the semester so that students can be involved in the process and help interview and give us feedback on the finalists,” Guthier said.

Guthier added the committee will recruit and search for candidates through networks within the university and elsewhere to find versatile candidates during the month of February.

According to Rec Sports Interim Director Mike Warren, the finalists for the Rec Sports director job will come to Madison for on-campus interviews with the search and screen committee. These finalists will also interview with Vice Chancellor for Finance and Administration Darrell Bazzell, who ultimately will decide who to hire.

The former director of Rec Sports, Dale Carruthers, retired in September after serving for 21 years, Warren said. He added the search to replace John Horn, who is currently the interim head of the department, will consider close to 400 candidates from around the country.

“We’re looking for a leader, someone who is going to take this division and move it forward for a variety of different reasons,” Warren said. “We want to be able to provide the best products and opportunities for our students, and we want to be nationally competitive in that. We want people to know Rec Sports from UW-Madison.”

The new director will be in charge of the division of recreational sports, its budget and facilities, Warren added, although his faculty members will not be charged with accomplishing any specific task.

Still, Warren said Rec Sports is far from a status quo type of division. For example, he noted indoor futsal successfully launched at the Southeastern Recreational Facility last week and has been “packed” ever since.

According to Warren, Rec Sports is about more than just physical fitness for students.

“Rec Sports is important for a variety of reasons,” he said. “One is obviously the wellness and healthy lifestyle opportunities we promote … but also talking about the mental part with stress release and creating communication and interpersonal skills with playing intramural sports.”