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It's official, Cliff Hagan resigns from AD post; new man in command is Joe Burch
Last Tuesday, Nov. 15. Cliff Hagan, through a release to UK spokesman Bernie Vonderheide. resigned from his athletics director position, effective immediately.
Hagan will remain with the university and work with interim athletics director Joesph T. Burch at least through the end of June of 1989. In October the university's men's basketball program was charged, by the NCAA, with 17 additional allegations of wrongdoings. Already, the NCAA had released its allegation in regard to the Dwane Casey-Claud Mills-Emery Air Freight case.
And as of Nov.. 15, the university was putting the finishing touches on its defense which is due to the NCAA office by Dec. 12.
The announcement of Hagan's resignation took place on the 18th floor at the Patterson Office Building. For 13 years Hagan was in charge of the athletics department at the university. He took over for the late Harry Lancaster.
UK president David Roselle was in California at the time of the announcement. Vonderheide read from releases written by Hagan and Roselle concerning the matter.
Here are those releases.
Statement from Cliff Hagan: "I resigned today from the position of athletics director at the University of Kentucky. I have taken this action with a sense of regret over the circumstances which created for me and my institution a very difficult problem. But I have always tried to do what was right and best for the University, and I believe that what I have done today was the right thing to do. It was also the right thing for me and my family.
"I have had the good fortune to be a part of the life of this university since 1949 when I came here as a student. It has been a privilege and pleasure to serve as athletics director for the last 13 years and I will always feel a sense of gratitude for the chance to have served in that role. I have very deep and sincere feelings of affection for the University of Kentucky. And I want my friends and the fans of Kentucky athletics to know that I leave the athletics department with those feelings of affection firmly intact. I love the University of Kentucky and always will.
"I regret very much the unfortunate shadow that has fallen over our program. I regret even more that there is concealed by that shadow a solid record of achievement by an athletics department staff that has served me and the university with dignity and dedication. I am proud of them and what they have helped me accomplish over the last few years. And once the shadow passes I am sure that others will see the things that make us feel good about what we have donean academic support program for our athletes that is second to none, lasting contributions to the recreational needs of the campus, major progress in women's athletics and minor sports, an athletics operation that is sound enough financially to have made significant contributions to the academic programs of the university, and many others.
"I am extremely pleased to say that I will not be leaving the university. I have been offered an opportunity by president Roselle to contribute to the institution in new and different ways and I am grateful. I am looking forward to whatever new challenges might lie ahead.
"I should end with an expression of thanks for the great support offered and given by friends, especially in recent times. Their words of encouragement and offers of help meant a great deal to me. It is my hope that they will offer equal supported help to the president, the Athletics Board, and the Board of Trustees, as they work toward a proper resolution of the difficult problem confronting the athletics program.
"I am looking forward to more tranquility than I have been able to enjoy recently. I have expressed myself honestly and fully in this statement and will have nothing more to say on the subject. If any further statement should become necessary it will be released through the university."
Statement from Dr. David Roselle: "Cliff Hagan has made lasting contributions to the athletics program of the University of Kentucky, first as a student-athlete and later as athletics director. He has always conducted himself with honor and dignity, and through his actions has brought credit to the university.
"It is important for everyone to know and understand that no person inside or outside the university believes, or has any reason to believe, that Cliff Hagan has engaged in any way in improper activities. In every respect, and at all times past and present, he has conducted himself with honesty and integrity, a fact that needs and deserves to be broadcast far and wide.
"It is unfortunate that circumstances sometimes create a need for change that is regretful for all. In this case, the circumstances dictate the need for a different management style and philosophy. Because such difference impact the effective operation of the university's athletics program, it is extremely helpful to have someone who can put personal interests aside in favor of institutional needs.
"By his action today, Cliff Hagan has made it clear that he is such a person.
"Cliff has been an important part of our institution for a long time. Therefore, I am pleased to announce that he has agreed to remain as an employee of the university. His initial assignment will extend to at least June 30, 1989. during which time he will assist in the transition, and help in bringing to a conclusion the current NCAA investigation."
Vonderheide had a further announcement regarding the UK athletics program:
"Currently, the university's athletics program is administered through an organizational structure which has the coaches reporting to the athletics director, the athletics director reporting to the chancellor for the Lexington campus, and the chancellor reporting to the president.
"Effective immediately, the overall operating responsibility and accountability for the athletics program has been delegated by the president to the vice president for administrationEdward A. Carter.
"The athletics director will report to Mr. Carter, rather than to the chancellor of the Lexington campus on all matters relating to the athletics department. The athletics director will have the basic responsibility for the planning, policies, development, and operations of the athletic department.
"A screening committee will be appointed soon to conduct the search for a new athletics director. This committee will provide the vice president for administration with a recommendation. The director of athletics will be appointed by the university Board of Trustees upon recommendation of the vice president and approval of the president.
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Joesph T. Burch has been at the University of Kentucky since 1964 in a variety of administrative roles. He also has spent a considerable portion of his career in dealing with students.
He began his career at UK as director of men's residence halls after graduation from the university with a degree in economics. He earned his law degree from UK in 1966.
Long-time UK employee Joe Burch agreed to succeed Hagan on an interim basis until a full-time replacement can be found.
Burch, a native of Covington. Ky., served in a number of capacities involving student affairsas Assistant Dean of Men, Assistant to the Vice President for Student Affairs, and finally Dean of Students from 1975-1986. He also has been acting vice chancellor for student affairs.
In 1987, he was named Deputy General Counsel in the university's legal office and has served in that capacity until his appointment as acting director of athletics on Nov. 15, 1988.
He has performed a number of special assignments for the president of the university, including acting associate director for administration of the UK Tobacco and Health Research Institute, and as university representative in the investigation of alleged NCAA violations.
Burch was born on Oct. 2, 1938 and is married to the former Susan Lammi of St. Louis. He has two children.
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The following day Burch met with the media at the Patterson Office Tower (18th floor) to introduce himself and answer questions. When asked if he was a candidate for the job on a full-time basis, Burch said he had not thought about that possibility.
Here's the prepared statement he read to the media:
"I have accepted the position of acting athletics director at the University of Kentucky. I have been asked to accept this important responsibility and I do so with a deep sense of commitment as a member of the university community.
"As many of you know I am a graduate of UK and a long time administrator at this university. I might add that I have followed the university's athletics programs since my student days.
"As acting athletics director I plan to aggressively administer all of the athletics programs with the goal of having successful, competitive programs with a commitment to integrity, and programs that offer our student-athletes a sound education and an opportunity for personal growth.
"I want the athletic programs of this university to be a close partner of the larger university. It is my belief that each has important contributions to make to the other.
"The athletics program has a strong and capable staff, most of whom are very familar to me. I look forward to working with them and will certainly need their support and assistance.