The nine-month search for a new athletic director at UC Davis ended Thursday with the appointment of Terry Tumey to the position.
Chancellor Linda Katehi announced the move in a statement following an extensive search during which the university examined the state of its athletics program and debated its future direction.
Tumey has held the same position since 2009 at Dominican University of California in San Rafael, where he guided the athletic program's move up to the NCAA's Division II level. Before that, he worked in the San Francisco 49ers' front office, rising to director of football administration.
At UCD, Tumey will replace interim athletic director Nona Richardson, who took over after Greg Warzecka stepped down in June 2011. Tumey said his goals for the program will in some ways mirror those of the previous leadership.
"The most important thing is that we continue to have both academic and athletic excellence throughout this program," Tumey said. "It's really all about the people, the student-athletes and the coaches, and supporting them in the proper manner.
"I think if we keep those at the forefront in terms of what we're trying to value most, what we feel is most important, I think the wins, championships, things of that nature will take care of themselves."
Tumey inherits a program with 23 varsity sports, a roughly $23 million budget and long-standing emphasis on high academic standards and broad participation. He said the broad-based concept is "something I appreciate."
"I think all athletic endeavors are important," Tumey said. "I think that is one of the beauties of UC Davis, one of the things that makes it different, makes it special."
Maintaining that kind of program has been a challenge amid budget cuts affecting the university system. Public input gathered during the hiring process, and delivered to Katehi by a recruitment advisory committee in a letter posted online in December, urged more fundraising and marketing by the athletic program and its new director.
"I think that's a big part of this position throughout our industry," Tumey said. "Is there a challenge there? Yes. But I think the UC Davis story is a compelling one and one that our supporters will support, not only through coming to games, but also financially. I think there's a lot of good things that can be done."
Katehi, who made the selection from a pool of four finalists, described Tumey as "the perfect person to take UC Davis athletics forward."
"In addition to over a decade of experience in athletics administration," Katehi said in a written statement, "Terry brings acumen in financial planning and analysis critical skills in these economic times and personal experience as a successful student athlete at UCLA."
In past months, the university asked for public input on the hire and the future of the athletic program in town-hall meetings and online forums. Among the findings summarized in the December letter to Katehi was that, "Intercollegiate athletics must establish as its top priority the academic integrity of the program itself."
"I think that what was very impressive about Terry is that he spoke directly to that," said Emily Galindo, associate vice chancellor of student affairs at UCD and a member of the advisory committee.
"Moving the program forward while keeping in mind the critically important elements of academic integrity, the traditions that are so important to the university he was able to articulate how he would go about accomplishing those things."
Tumey will be formally introduced on campus next week and is expected to assume his new post Aug. 1, UCD announced.
One thing that's already clear he'll soon be looking for a new football coach. Bob Biggs has announced that he will step down after the 2012 season. Tumey said it's too early to say whether he'll look outside for a candidate or try to hire from within.