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UA president resigns


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To be honest, I think everyone has a misconception of President Hitchcock. Yes, she was visible with things such as NYG Training Camp, but that is where the buck stops in terms of athletics. You might have seen her at basketball games frequently, but that was all for show. She never forked over the needed cash or desired funds to the athletic department. She has always been stingy. When the university announced their $120 million campus-wide facilities facelift project several years ago, not a dime went to athletics when a football stadium, turf field, new bubble or student recreation center was greatly needed.

 

I think this may be a blessing in disguise, creating a quicker avenue to receiving a football stadium from a new president with a more pro-athletics philosophy.

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DP....she actually had nothing to do with the intial move. It was all Moore and Swygert...the wheels were in motion when I was recruited in 92. She rode the partyline vs. Hofstra...but hasnt done squat since. Bing and SBU have moved ahead facility wise, while we lag behind.

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I'll remember her for being a good sport at the AE tournament at NU in 2002. Lady DP and I were seated next to her and her husband. Coach Brown was the interim coach then and we were lobbying her to hire him. She took in all in stride and had a good time with it.

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She needed to go. Indeed, she has done a tremendous job during her tenure. We need someone in there that is more athletic friendly and will spend some of the schools $ to bring us up to the playing level we all want to see. This next President needs to put our athletics program on the same playing field as Binghamton, Buffalo, and Stony Brook. ...ie Football stadium, full scholarsghips etc.

 

Hopefully they hire someone outside of Albany that was involved with Division 1A or 1AA athletics.

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First off, in my absence I see the site has gotten marginally purpler, so that is a start.

 

But as for Hitchcock resigning, I will reserve judgment - for now.

 

First, the timing is bad - it will take up to a year to find someone, and you know that no major decisions will be made in the interim. So just project 2004-05 as a "dead" year with regard to any plans moving forward.

 

Secondly, we dont know who is going to come in.

 

It could be someone from a University where athletics is dominant, a lower-tiered person from one of those schools, who will uphold that tradition and bring it to UAlbany.

 

It could be someone from a big school with some resentment toward athletics in general (based on experiences at said big school in terms of funding and space allocation), and could come in and quash it even further.

 

Or it could be someone who knows nothing about athletics at all, which could be very, very bad indeed.

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While driving to work this morning, I listened to the Paul Vandenburgh show on WROW. Please, I am not intending on turning this discussion into a forum on Vandenburgh, who I almost always disagree with; but he does seem to sometimes be a Republican mouthpiece and I have always believed that things are leaked to him to offer on his radio show to gauge the impact.

 

He said today that he heard that a replacement for President Hitchcock might be Lt. Governor Mary Donohue. For those of you unfamiliar with Mary Donohue, she was a school teacher who went back to law school; became politically active and close to Senate Majority Leader Joe Bruno, became Rensselaer County District Attorney, then State Supreme Court Justice and then Lt. Governor. There have been rumors for years that Gov Pataki has been looking for a way to dump her and replace her as Lt. Governor with someone who could succeed him if he takes a cabinet post in Washington.

 

As has been widely reported, President Hitchcock's problem have stemmed from disagreement with SUNY Chancellor King, who is a Pataki appointee and was his budget director. If (and obviously a really big "if") we wind up with a Republican political appointee, my guess is that the University will be in for budget cuts and athletics will be a prime candidate. I am pessimistic that we will get a President who is currently an underling at a BCS conference type school and views the benefit of athletics the way we on the message board do.

 

Another concern I have is the top down style of management at the University. President Hitchcock hired Dr. McElroy and allowed him to greatly expand athletic administration with positions common to D-1 programs but previously not budgeted at UAlbany (ie compliance directors, athletic academic advisors). What would the relationship be between a new president and Dr. McElroy? If it caused Dr. McElroy to start looking for another position, what effect would that have on the coaches he has hired?

 

Lastly, it is my belief that for the most part President Hitchcock has been a positive force for the development of athletics at UAlbany. I can certainly understand the frustration of those of you who are primarily football supporters, as I have always believed that when compromise was needed in order to advance the D-1 agenda, the compromise was generally to give up football expansion in order to get everything else. I hope I'm wrong on this, but I can't believe we'll be in line for a football stadium and full scholarship football until the state's economy turns around substantially.

 

Just my thoughts.

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I have to hope Hitchcock's resignation doesn't contribute to the instability that we've had for the past four years. It's unlikely a new president will be in place before January 2005 which hopefully won't scare off McElroy and any newly hired coaches. Two of the names for replacements I've seen are SUNY Provost Peter Salins and Elizabeth Capaldi, U Buffalo's Provost. Salins is a Syracuse grad while Capaldi is a Rochester and University of Texas grad.

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I hope the post by statefan is just a radio jock trying to create interest. As a supporter of the athletic program for 40 years, I would have to seriously reconsider my efforts if politicians(aka elementary teachers and lawyers) were installed as University Presidents. Whomever is selected needs to know the alumnae want an excellent academic environment which includes a strong mix of athletic, social and cultural opportunities for the students. :(

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This political commentator is a moron. THERE IS NO WAY IN HELL a non-administrator takes a President, Provost, Chancellor or VP Position. WHY? It destroys INSTANT CREDIBILITY with researchers. We are striving to be a top 50 research school by the end of the decade. Even the SUNY CENTRAL puppets are not that stupid. And the studentbody and faculty (who do have a say) would never approve. Uh UH...not happening. This is pure political posturing by this guy. You will see someone with a long-line of research. BET UR BUTT ON IT. All the big spenders in our Campaign will require it.

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the Times Union ran a story on the resignation of President Hitchcock and the potential impact on the UA athletic dept. ...

 

After Hitchcock, UAlbany's athletic future cloudy

During her presidency, school's program expanded to Division I

 

By MARK SINGELAIS, Staff writer

First published: Sunday, November 2, 2003

 

University at Albany president Karen Hitchcock has been a visible sports fan during her eight-year tenure, making frequent appearances at Great Danes basketball games and going on the field after football games, win or lose.

It's her behind-the-scenes work, however, that has helped elevate the school's athletic program, UAlbany officials and coaches said last week.

 

Hitchcock announced last Tuesday that she'll step down from her post at the end of the academic year amid ors that she is being forced to resign by SUNY Chancellor Bob King.

 

Under her stewardship, the UAlbany athletic program upgraded to Division I from Division II and joined two leagues, the Northeast Conference in football and the America East Conference in all other sports.

 

UAlbany officials also said Hitchcock was the person most responsible for convincing the New York Giants to hold their summer training camp at UAlbany since 1996.

 

"I think her achievements have been remarkable during that period of time," said Bob Ford, UAlbany's football coach since 1973 and former athletic director. "If by chance she does step down and disappear into the sunset, she leaves a pretty decent legacy athletically."

 

Her approaching departure, however, has raised questions about the future of the UAlbany athletic program.

 

The most obvious is who Hitchcock's successor will be, and whether that person will be as enthusiastic about college sports as she has been.

 

UAlbany athletic director Lee McElroy, hired by Hitchcock three years ago, said he couldn't predict what impact a new president will have on the athletic program.

 

"I don't know what the future holds," McElroy said. "But we don't just want to be a Division I program, we want to be a successful Division I program and we're going to continue to put our best foot forward. I have to be optimistic, but again, you never know."

 

McElroy said that Hitchcock, 60, was a softball player in her youth and carried that love of competition into her work.

 

Hitchcock was unavailable for comment Friday, according to UAlbany spokesman Karl Luntta.

 

John Mara, the Giants' executive vice president and chief operating officer, said the team will keep its camp in UAlbany in spite of Hitchcock's departure.

 

Mara said the Giants plan to sign within the next week the three-year contract extension to keep them in Albany through 2006. The sides have had a verbal agreement since last summer.

 

"If anything, I'm the one to blame (for the delay)," Mara said. "I've been preoccupied with other things, but I anticipate (signing) the agreement."

 

Milt Richards was UAlbany's athletic director in March 1996, when the Giants announced they would begin training there. Less than two months later Hitchcock, who had been interim president, got the post full time.

 

"Karen did something no one else could do, pulling the corporate community together to bring the Giants," Richards said. "I believe that helped her get the presidency. Everyone knew she was a great academician, but people weren't sure about her external skills until then."

 

Hitchcock also championed the Division I initiative began by former UAlbany president H. Patrick Swygert, who left for the same post at Howard University in 1995.

 

Hitchcock made the final decision to upgrade to Division I in 1997, after the proposal received overwhelming support from the university senate and student body in nonbinding referendums.

 

The move was made with the idea that upgrading to Division I would help raise UAlbany's public profile, help bring in more donations from alumni and make the school more appealing to prospective students.

 

UAlbany entered Division I in 1999 and spent its first two seasons as an independent in every sport except football, which joined the Northeast Conference in 1999.

 

UAlbany joined the America East in all sports in 2001, helped by fortunate timing when the departure of four America East schools to the Colonial Athletic Association opened room for UAlbany.

 

Legendary UAlbany basketball coach Richard (Doc) Sauers, who retired in 1997 after 41 seasons, said he's sorry to see Hitchcock go.

 

"I appreciated her loyalty to the program when I was coaching," Sauers said. "I'm curious to see what happens. I think it's unfortunate the way (Hitchcock's) situation appears to be developing."

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