Gladchuk resigns to accept
position at Navy
Leckonby named as interim athletics
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
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
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
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.