A friend of a friend-Nick Lomax and Ken Carrick-April 2

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for April 2, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

In college athletics, business, higher education, non-profit organizations, and even in churches you have to always be thinking about recruiting. Many people just associate recruiting with a function of the military or college athletics but really everyone needs to understand the importance of recruiting. When I was a coach and especially as Director of Athletics I would tell my direct reports to R.D.O.P-Recruit Daily Or Perish.

Recruiting is the lifeblood of any organization. A church over time cannot survive without new members. A non-profit organization needs to have in place a dynamic board of directors and that means recruiting great leaders. I am amazed how in higher education that the concept of recruiting is sometimes lost on a vast majority of employees that work on campus. I often hear people who work on a college campus refer to a failed search as almost a point of pride. I cannot fathom telling my head coach that I as an assistant coach had a failed search to recruit a point guard. Just doesn’t happen.

The lack of recruiting sophistication or manpower often leads universities to employ an executive search firm. One of my good friends is the president of an outstanding firm called Coleman Lew + Associates. Coleman Lew is based out of Charlotte and my good friend name is Ken Carrick.


Ken as I mentioned serves as president and has managed over 200 search engagements throughout his 28 years as a search consultant.  He has developed a significant number of clients in the areas of education, retail, manufacturing, non-profits, and government.

I got to know Ken when his company became a sponsor of the Peach Belt Conference. Coleman Lew + Associates, Inc., was founded in 1979 in Charlotte, NC, recruits board members and senior level executives for companies worldwide. They conduct searches for public, private, and international companies, institutions of higher education, non-profit organizations, and government agencies. Coleman Lew + Associates about 8 years ago was attempting to become part of athletic searches and I got to know Ken Carrick very well.

In 2008 I was searching for a basketball coach at UNC Pembroke. I didn’t have the budget to do a full-scale executive search and Ken was still looking to build his company’s resume as it related to university athletic searches. We made a deal that Ken would help the university with a quiet screening process at the front end and then let our search committee take over from there. That search led UNC Pembroke with me serving as Director of Athletics to hire Ben Miller. Coach Miller just led our university to their third trip to NCAA Division II Tournament in the last five years. In 2014/15 Ben Miller led the UNCP Braves to a 26-6 record. That search has turned out to be a tremendous hire by our university and Coleman Lew was part of it. I am also happy to say that Coleman Lew has increased their footprint in executive searches as it relates to college athletics. In fact they did the search to hire UNC Pembroke current Director of Athletics Dick Christy.

The relationship was a learning one for both Ken and I. He wasn’t prepared for the volume of interest that a college coaching search generates. He told me that in some sectors if he can get 10 people to talk to him in a week about a position that is highly successful. In college athletics the interest is best described as a tsunami. You cannot return all the calls the first week a search goes public. Ken found that to be fascinating. I found out that he had three magic questions he asked each candidate early on in his screening process.

  1. Why are you interested?
  2. What is your current salary?
  3. Can you relocate right away?

I learned that if you listen to candidates give you those three answers you begin to find out who might be a good fit to join your team. Recruiting the right people and spending time on candidates that are a good fit is important part of recruiting. I have learned a lot from my friend Ken Carrick. At UNC Pembroke he has recruited successful a number of key leaders currently working at our university. Each search has exposed me to his attention to detail and how to successful and effectively recruit leaders.

Ken graduated summa cum laude with a BA degree in Accounting and Business Administration from Catawba College and a MBA from Wake Forest University.  He was a football player at Catawba and understands the nuance of competition and college athletics. Ken began his career as an accountant with Duke Energy and later worked for a national insurance company before joining Coleman Lew + Associates in 1986.

Ken has been an active volunteer in service groups and youth sports associations in the Charlotte community. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of the Greater Carolina’s Chapter of the American Red Cross and Covenant Day School.  He and his wife have three children, two of whom are currently attending college (UNC-Chapel Hill and Washington & Lee University).

One of the many friends that Ken has is a man named Nick Lomax who is synonymous with Clemson University.



The Friend of the Friend-NICK LOMAX


Higher Education Legend Nick Lomax

If you go to South Carolina and start talking about higher education leaders that have made a difference on their campus the name Nick Lomax at Clemson will come up.

Nick began his career at Clemson University in 1966, and over the next 30 years served in a number of senior administrative positions including Vice President for Student Affairs where, in addition to the duties normally assigned to that position, he also had responsibility for Clemson’s Intercollegiate Athletic Program. He also served as Vice President for Administration and Secretary of the Board of Trustees.

Clemson during Nick’s 30 year tenure was going under tremendous growth and won a national championship in a number of sports including football. That growth had Nick involved in a number of major facility projects at Clemson. That involvement also included being able to convince South Carolina legislators the importance of investing in those projects. Nick was very good at the planning and convincing.

Following retirement from Clemson, Nick established a consulting practice in campus facility development. In 2005 while continuing his consulting work, he joined Coleman Lew + Associates as a Partner and Director.

Nick has a BS degree from Clemson and an Honorary Doctorate from Lander University.

After graduation in 1963, he served two years on active duty in the Army and retired from the US Army Reserve with the rank of Colonel in 1994. Nick has been active in numerous professional and civic organizations throughout his career. He is a Rotary International Paul Harris Fellow and has served on many area boards of directors including NationsBank, Anderson Area Medical Center, and Foothills Community Foundation.

Nick and his wife have two grown children and reside in Abbeville, South Carolina. You will not meet a nicer southern gentleman than Nick Lomax. I am glad that Ken Carrick got the two of us connected. That is just what good recruiters do.


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