Terry Tumey said the time was right to step aside as the UC Davis athletic director, a surprising announcement that came Tuesday from Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi.
“I look at what’s going on and all the good things that are happening in terms of the football, basketball and other programs moving forward at UC Davis, and I’m almost taking the Jim Brown approach,” Tumey said of the former NFL running back who retired at the height of his career. “I figure why not get out while things are going well. I just see great things ahead for UC Davis, and there are some other things I’m looking to do.”
Tumey has been replaced by Teresa Gould as the interim athletic director. Gould, wife of UCD football coach Ron Gould, is the associate executive director, chief revenue officer of the Cal Aggie Alumni Association. Before coming to UC Davis, she worked for 13 years in athletics administration at Cal, including as deputy director of athletics and chief of staff.
“This is a critical moment for UC Davis Athletics, and, while transitions are hard, Teresa has extensive leadership experience and the ability to step in immediately and take us to a new level in competition,” Katehi said in a statement. “With her extensive experience at the Division I level and most recently at Cal, she knows how to manage a department, support the coaches and build strong programs for our student athletes.”
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That was seconded by Tumey, who made Ron Gould his first major hire when he arrived at UCD.
“If anyone understands college athletics it’s Teresa,” Tumey said. “She has had great years of leadership at Cal. UC Davis is very lucky to have a person like Teresa in the fold. The program is in great hands.”
Katehi said Josh Flushman, associate director of athletics, will assume oversight of the football program. He will be assisted by UCD Faculty Athletics Representative Scott Carrell, who will help mentor the football staff. He is a former football player at Air Force.
UCD spokesperson Luanne Lawrence said Flushman will report on football matters directly to Katehi, rather than to Teresa Gould to avoid conflict-of-interest concerns. Gould will oversee UCD’s 22 other sports.
Tumey, 49, will continue to assist the university in its capital improvement efforts, including trying to build a Division I-caliber training and conditioning facility, until he leaves the university June 15. Tumey, who signed a five-year contract in 2012, is making $220,000. UCD has agreed to pay Tumey $177,500 from June 2015 to June 2016 in severance.
During Tumey’s nearly three years as athletic director, the Aggies won 10 conference championships and the men’s basketball team won 25 games and went to the National Invitation Tournament for the first time this year, its best season since moving up to D-I. He also helped to spearhead the building of a $3.2 million field hockey stadium.
UCD had the highest NCAA Graduation Success Rates in the Big West Conference in 2013 and 2014. The Aggie football team led the Big Sky Conference in Graduation Success Rate both years and the men’s basketball team was tops in the Big West in 2013.
“Terry did a very good job of enhancing our athletics department,” Katehi said. “We have brought in some exciting new coaches and recruited some fine student athletes. I thank him for directing the department these past several years.”
Tumey was hired in the summer of 2012 after a nine-month search. He previously was the athletic director at Dominican University in San Rafael and before that worked in the 49ers’ front office, rising to director of football administration. He played nose guard at UCLA and also worked as an assistant coach with the Bruins and Denver Broncos.
But playing football in the trenches and being a pro football executive wasn’t nearly as challenging as trying to run a Division I college athletic program.
“There isn’t any question that the hardest obstacle and most daunting task is trying to keep a mid-major program funded,” Tumey said. “But as UC Davis gets better and more consistent, and as our friends over at Sacramento State get better and more consistent, it benefits us all. It shows that it’s just not the Stanfords and the Cals of the world that can celebrate athletic excellence.”
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