USF Athletic Director Doug Woolard, who has served in his current position since 2004, will retire upon the expiration of his contract in June 2015, but the search for his replacement will begin immediately, according to sources for ESPN.
Until his contract’s expiration, Woolard will be moved to an unspecified role with the USF Athletics Department once a replacement is found.
ESPN sources have speculated the 62-year-old Woolard is being pushed into retirement and that the decision was made because of “wide-ranging dissatisfaction” with the revenue-producing sports such as football and men’s basketball – sports that have struggled in both attendance and record in a recent seasons.
In a press release, Woolard seemed to indicate otherwise.
“I have been visiting with the (USF) President (Judy Genshaft) for the last few weeks about initiating this plan,” Woolard said. “I appreciate the special partnership I’ve enjoyed with President Genshaft and I extend my heartfelt gratitude to all of the outstanding coaches, members of our administrative staff, generous donors, and most importantly, our wonderful student athletes.”
With USF, Woolard’s hires include football coaches Willie Taggart and his predecessor Skip Holtz as well as men’s basketball coach Stan Heath.
Holtz, whose contract is still being paid out by USF, totaled a 16-21 record with the team followed by a 2-10 record by Taggart in his first season this past year. USF’s attendance at football games also dropped in 2013 with an actual attendance of 20,379 – the school’s second-lowest average since 2003 when they became a Division I team.
Under Woolard’s guidance, USF made strides in sports such as baseball, softball and soccer with state-of-the-art facilities placed around campus in recent years.
Upon the announcement of his retirement, Genshaft praised Woolard for the work he has put in.
“He was instrumental in transforming our athletic district facilities and I want to thank Doug for his achievements in leading our program over these years,” she said. “We’re very appreciative of his efforts on campus and his participation in the larger Tampa Bay community.”