SBD/August 22, 2011/Colleges

UConn Agrees To Separation Agreement With AD Jeff Hathaway

Univ. of Connecticut AD Jeff Hathaway Friday “signed a separation agreement with the school,” according to Mike DiMauro of the New London DAY. A statement from the athletic department announced Hathaway's retirement “effective immediately,” but he will remain an employee of UConn through Sept. 15 “to assist in the transition process for the next" AD. According to the separation agreement, Hathaway “will receive the equivalent of one year’s pay, $531,717,” distributed in biweekly payments. If he pursues another job in athletics, “the payments would be reduced by the amount of his new salary.” The school agreed “to stop the pending ‘360 evaluation’ of Hathaway’s job performance” being conducted by Florida-based MGT of America, and “not disclose any of the information contained in the report.” Sources said that the report reveals “mostly unflattering opinions about Hathaway from more than 30 people interviewed.” The sources added that Hathaway’s “most serious deficiencies as athletic director ... centered primarily on a decline in fundraising revenues and a lack of attention paid to NCAA compliance” (New London DAY, 8/20). In Hartford, Dom Amore reports Paul Pendergast was named interim AD, and “will take over Sept. 19.” Pendergast has agreed to “serve indefinitely” and is likely to be a “leading candidate to fill the position permanently.” He worked in UConn's athletic department from '98-'06 in various positions including Assistant Dir of Marketing & Corporate Relations and Senior Associate AD. UConn President Susan Herbst said that “a committee will be formed to conduct a national search for a permanent AD” (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/22).

TIME FOR CHANGE: A UConn spokesperson said that  Hathaway’s separation package will be “financed with existing athletic department funds, with no tax dollars, student fees, or UConn Foundation money used up front.” In Hartford, Doyle & Jacobs noted Hathaway “came under fire in recent years as athletic fundraising waned and attendance at events fell.” Sources within the department “were critical of Hathaway for not immediately filling an athletic fundraising position.” Athletic accomplishments under Hathaway include “NCAA basketball titles from the men’s and women’s programs,” and also “success in less visible sports such as baseball, soccer and track and field.” The school has yet to name any potential candidates, but some names “that could surface" are Tulsa AD Lawrence Cunningham, University at Buffalo AD Warde Manuel, Big East Associate Commissioner Dan Gavitt and Pendergast (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/20). In Hartford, Jeff Jacobs wrote under the header, "UConn President Can’t Be Wrong On Hathaway’s Successor" (HARTFORD COURANT, 8/21).

REPLACEMENT NEEDED: ESPN.com’s Andy Katz noted that the NCAA men’s basketball championship “is faced with an unprecedented situation” after Hathaway, “the incoming chair of the selection committee,” resigned. He was to “conclude the fourth year of a five-year term on the selection committee and take over for outgoing chair Gene Smith.” NCAA officials in a statement said that Hathaway, NCAA Senior VP/Basketball & Business Strategies Greg Shaheen and the NCAA men’s basketball staff will meet about “how to handle the remainder of Hathaway’s term, including his time as chair in 2012.” Xavier AD Mike Bobinski was named chair of the '13 NCAA tournament and said Friday that “there are a number of options available to the committee,” one of them being “to bump up Bobinski’s chair to 2012” (ESPN.com, 8/19).

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