FIU official tapped to head county sports commission
By Ashley Hopkins
Control of the Miami-Dade Sports Commission will soon be in new hands.
As the commission searches for a new executive director, its screening committee is recommending that the county commission award the contract to Jose Sotolongo, associate athletic director at Florida International University.
Heather Kurstin left her post as interim director Friday. That followed the departure of Mike Sophia, executive director since April 1, 2004, who took another job.
The county's human resources department got 25 applications for the top slot, 16 of which met position requirements, said Suzy Trutie, county spokeswoman. All applications were forwarded to the sports commission, whose five-person hiring committee ranked applicants.
The hiring committee unanimously recommended Mr. Sotolongo over Jack Kardys, director of the Miami-Dade Parks, Recreation and Open Spaces Department, said a staffer in the office of Miami-Dade Commissioner Jose "Pepe" Diaz, who chairs the sports commission's executive board.
Officials with Mr. Diaz's office said attorneys are drawing up contracts, which should reach commission hands in two weeks.
The county commission created the sports commission in 2003 as a public-private 501(c)3 nonprofit. It promotes youth, amateur and professional sports and works to secure sports events that will help build the county's economy.
A description on the sports commission's website says the executive director is responsible for overall operation and administration, managing an $850,000 annual budget, employing and supervising employees, meeting financial and fundraising goals and working with the directors to develop a strategic plan and direction.
The executive director will "present Miami-Dade County to major event rights holders to sell the destination," engage elected officials and community leaders and lead the commission to long-term growth and stability, the position description says.
Mr. Sophia came to the job after a nationwide search. He had been vice president of the Florida Sports Foundation in Tallahassee. He had also played a role in the Atlanta Olympic Games.
For a time in 2010 and 2011 he held a second job as general manager of a professional boxing team that the sports commission oversaw as part of the global World Series of Boxing. The sports commission produced the team's local events.
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