New AD found timely, brings right qualifications

After Lee Roy Selmon announced his resignation as USF athletic director in February, leadership of the university’s athletic department was uncertain. Wednesday, USF President Judy Genshaft eased the minds of those involved when she decided former Saint Louis University AD Doug Woolard was the right man for the job. It is commendable that the important position was not only filled so quickly, but that the search committee did their homework and found a suitable person with the right experience.

Woolard began serving as AD for Saint Louis in 1994 and will officially start at USF on June 14. Woolard took over at Saint Louis University while it was becoming one of the founding members of Conference USA. He also helped plan its imminent move into the Atlantic 10 Conference, according to a USF press release.

While Saint Louis does not yet have a football program, the attendance for its men’s basketball games consistently ranks among the top 30 for annual attendance, while the soccer games consistently rank in the top 10.

Saint Louis also gained the highest graduation rate of student athletes in Conference USA under Woolard’s leadership, boasting 69 percent for the 2002-03 school year. USF was a close second.

“Woolard shares President Genshaft’s commitment to cultivating positive community partnerships,” said Hinks Shimberg, search committee chairman. “This history of collaboration with business and community leaders is just the right kind of vision and approach that will position USF well in this region.”

Selmon said of his replacement that Woolard proved himself with his successes at Saint Louis. “He is an excellent fit for USF.”

Woolard’s history of grandeur with Saint Louis bodes well for his upcoming stint as AD for USF. Woolard’s achievements would appear to diminish any worries about the fate of the USF athletic program as it moves into the Big East Conference within the next year. Even though Selmon left big shoes to fill, the athletic department appears to be in good hands.