Wednesday, September 5, 2001 Volume 67, Issue 10


 
 









 
Gladchuk resigns to accept position at Navy

Leckonby named as interim athletics director

By Tom Carpenter
Daily Cougar Staff

In a surprise move that had been widely hinted at over the Labor Day weekend, Chet Gladchuk, UH's athletics director since 1997, resigned Tuesday to accept a similar job at the U.S. Naval Academy in Annapolis, Md.

UH President Arthur K. Smith named Larry Leckonby, Gladchuk's senior associate
athletics director, as interim athletics director during a news conference Tuesday at a
press conference at the UH Hilton Hotel.

"We certainly wish Chet well," Smith said. "He's had an outstanding record in his four
years here at UH. His record includes many accomplishments. He's certainly advanced
the rebuilding of the UH athletic program by leaps and bounds, but it remains a work in
progress."

Smith said a national search for a permanent replacement for Gladchuk would begin
immediately. He said he would make the choice with consultation from four advisors,
whom he introduced at the press conference.

The advisory board members are Associate Athletics Director Diane Howell; Ileana
Treviño, executive director of affirmative action and equal employment opportunities;
Richard Scamell, professor in the Bauer College of Business; and James E. Anderson,
professor in the College of Education and a member of Smith's cabinet.

Smith said he would contact an executive search firm sometime in the near future to
provide a list of viable candidates.

Leckonby joined the UH Athletics Department as the senior associate athletics director
in January 1998 after serving as an associate athletics director at Boston College,
where he had worked for Gladchuk when he was the athletics director at that school
before coming to UH.

"Larry has consented to become interim athletics director while a search goes on for a
permanent replacement for (Gladchuk)," Smith said. "Larry has an impressive record of
his own in athletics administration at several universities, including Duke University."

Leckonby has directed a number of sports programs, coached at the Division I level and
supervised staff in all departmental areas during his career. He has served on the
National Collegiate Athletics Association and on conference and university committees
and has been a director for both conference and NCAA tournaments.

"I am confident he will provide the interim leadership, the energy and innovation
necessary to continue the department moving forward as this search is undertaken,"
Smith said. "In keeping with our normal administrative practice here at (UH), as interim
Larry will not be a candidate for the permanent position of director of athletics."

According to Smith, women and minorities are welcome to apply for the position of
athletics director at UH.

Smith said he had known about Gladchuk's interest in the Navy job since Aug. 28.

"He informed me that afternoon that he and his wife, Cathy, would be boarding an
airplane that very evening to go to the Naval Academy to be interviewed for the position
of director of athletics," Smith said. "As you might imagine, I was somewhat taken aback.
As a graduate of the Naval Academy, I could understand some of the attractiveness that
institution would have to somebody like Chet Gladchuk."

Gladchuk was introduced as Navy's 28th athletics director during a Tuesday morning
news conference in Hubbard Hall at the Naval Academy. He replaces Jack Lengyel,
effective Oct. 1.

"It's an honor and a privilege to assume leadership as the Director of Athletics at the
Naval Academy," Gladchuk said. "I enthusiastically accept the challenge of further
developing an intercollegiate program where the mission is to complement the mind
and spirit of those students who will become our nation's leaders."

During his tenure at UH, Gladcuk was praised for guiding Cougar teams to 19
Conference USA championships, upgrading UH's athletic facilities (including the
renovation of Robertson Stadium), making gains in the academic success of UH
student-athletes, increasing opportunities for women athletes and improving the
department's fiscal management.

In the past year, however, Gladchuk was named in two federal lawsuits that claimed he
is racially biased.

In December, former associate athletics director Christopher Bahl filed a suit claiming
that in 1999, when he submitted the names of three African-Americans for consideration
for the post of head football coach, Gladchuk told him he "would never hire a black head
football coach." Bahl claimed he was retaliated against for opposing the allegedly
biased behavior.

In response to the Bahl suit, Gladchuk told The Daily Cougar that he has "an
impeccable record" for diversity throughout his career as an athletics director. He noted
that he had hired the first black head basketball coaches at Tulane University and
Boston College, and that three of the six current head coaches at UH are black.

In August, Athletics Department staff member Alexander Brown claimed Gladchuk
passed him over for a promotion because he is black.

Responding to Brown's allegations, Gladchuk said the hiring decision had been made
based on the recommendations of a University-wide selection committee applying
normal affirmative action guidelines.

Both lawsuits remain in litigation.
 
 
 

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