Why do they leave?

Feb 122006
Authors: Brett Okamoto

I guess that settles it. If it happens once or twice you can make excuses, blame it on timing and things like that. But four times in 12 years – there has to be some cause-effect going on.

When Mark Driscoll announced his resignation last week it marked the fourth time in just a little over a decade that a CSU athletic director has jumped ship without finishing their contract.


Driscoll's reason for terminating the five-year contract he signed in 2003 is that he wants to return to banking. One might reason that money made him leave. I don't think so. Driscoll was making $225,000 a year in the banking business. His contract at CSU was worth $220,000 a year. I don't think a former CSU quarterback who loved running athletics would leave it all for an extra $5,000.

So what reasons does that leave – for leaving? Previous athletic directors with similarly short stints at CSU have left for other schools. Tom Jurich left for Louisville in '97, Tim Weiser went to Kansas State in '01 and Jeff Hathaway took off for the University of Connecticut in '03.

I realize those universities are in more prestigious conferences and have more money to spend on their programs. It seems unnatural to me though, that a man would pack up his wife and kids, move them away from their home and quit his job, all for the same job at another school.

"When I was selected for the job (in '01) I thought I would be there a long time," Hathaway said. "I had been the No. 2 guy at UConn for 11 years prior to going to CSU, so when that position opened, it was offered to me. My situation was unique because of the places I have spent time at."

Fair enough. But the university needs to recognize this as a legitimate problem. Sonny Lubick was offered a contract extension early because CSU wanted recruits to know that their coach would be around for years to come. This same consideration should be addressed when trying to keep an athletic director.

"You have to look around and see that a lot of positions turn over in universities," Hathaway added. "CSU has been fortunate in other positions. I think it's just a part of the business."

And maybe that is the simplest answer. BYU hired their current AD in '05, as well as TCU. Wyoming's Gary Barta was hired in '03. But on the other side of the story there's Chris Hill, AD at the University of Utah since 1987.

I'm not saying that CSU is scaring away their athletic directors. Hathaway described his experience with the Rams as one he will "value forever." I am saying, however, that when four different personalities quit the same job over this small amount of time, some fingers need to be pointed.

In this case, I don't look at Driscoll leaving as him abandoning the university. I blame CSU for not giving him enough reasons to stay.

Brett Okamoto is the Collegian's Sports Editor. He can be reached at sports@collegian.com.

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