George resigns

Athletics Director Tom George is stepping down July 31 after 20 months at AU and returning to the private sector in order to deal with personal circumstances.

"I appreciate the opportunity that American University has afforded me and I want to thank the entire community for their support of my efforts," George said in a press release.

George oversaw AU athletics over its first two years in the Patriot League. In that time, the Lacrosse, Volleyball, Men's Soccer, Women's Soccer and Men's Tennis teams have all made appearances in the NCAA Tournament with them plus the Cross County, Women's Tennis and Men's Basketball teams winning the PL regular season title.

While at AU, George also worked to raise the visibility of the program through frequent television broadcasts of Men's Basketball and Women's Volleyball. George also showed renewed support for Men's Soccer and Track and Field through promoting them on the national stage.

George reflected that one of his most memorable experiences is "watching young people achieve" and is "a part of the job I will miss most."

"I regret that [my time at AU] is short," George said. "The timing fulfills what is required. I regret not being able to see the natural progression our athletics will go through. We have tremendous coaches, I will miss them."

A graduate of Wake Forest University, George spent most of his life in Rockville, Md. and now calls Silver Springs, Md. home. After serving at Octagon Sports Representation for 18 years, George decided to come to AU in October 2001. He looked as the position as a "fun opportunity" and was thankful for his experience he was offered.

AU President Benjamin Ladner described George as "full of integrity, wisdom and good judgment" when he was introduced Oct. 11, 2001. George described his vision for AU stating, "The athletic department at a college or university can be a focal point that serves as a sense of pride for the alumni, faculty, students and staff to gather around and identify with. I think with energy, hard work, enthusiasm and some luck, we can get that done at American."

George's timing in his resignation allows the school to search for a new Athletics Director while no sports are actually in progress.

"It's the deadest time of the year," George said. "It gives the department a better chance to transition before the start of the fall semester."

Concerns of the athletics budget have also been raised recently, in which they are facing a major deficit. George said the deficit is"a factor, I suppose, but not a compelling one."

The University is now turning its attention towards finding a replacement for George. Vice President for Development Al Checcio, who oversees Athletics, is leading the search for a new director. Checcio was not available for comment.

Chief of Staff David Taylor said the school is now "speaking with some search firms to have them assist in the search."

"From our vantage point, the desire is to move quickly and to find the right person and to get them in as soon as possible," Taylor said. "Athletics is something [President Ladner] has taken a role in and wants to see it succeed."

George noted that although he will leave his position at the end of July, "you will still see me at a few basketball games next season."

- Eagle Staff Writer Mackenzie Ryan contributed to this report.

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