Notes: Athletics backlash didn’t factor into resignation

Athletics Director Wood Selig said Friday that events — such as former football coach David Elson’s firing or a negative response to his $34,000 raise at the end of January — did not play into his decision to leave Western.

“There’s nothing further from the truth … they had no play in this ultimate decision,” Selig said. “If the Old Dominion job was not a great job and if the situation was not a great fit, we would not be making this move.”

But even in the face of great overall athletic success, Selig said he was at least mildly upset the way the contract process was handled.

“I’m not going to deny that it was disappointing the way that it was all so public and it took on a life of it’s own,” Selig said. “But I’m also realistic and know higher education and understand the transparency under which we operate. So I understood what was being done.”

More from a post-press conference conversation with Selig:

  • Selig spent 11 years at the University of Virginia and 10-plus more at Western. Selig, now almost 50 years old, said he sees himself at Old Dominion for a similar amount of time, possibly making it the last stop of his career. “We’ve talked that if we move and purchase a house, let’s purchase a house that we can have the kids grown and moved on out to college, and that would be a home we could live in the rest of our lives,” Selig said. “I would expect that Old Dominion could be the last stop on a professional career.”
  • Like is written in most coaches’ contracts at Western, Selig’s contract asks he “make a best effort” to schedule a series between his new destination and Western. In fact, Selig said he’s been talking to Head Coach Mary Taylor Cowles and assistant coach Ray Harper for some time about setting up a basketball home-and-home series with ODU. “That’s been a series I’ve been trying to schedule for awhile now, so it just makes sense,” Selig said. “I’d love to see that happen, and it would give me a chance to get back to Bowling Green.”
  • President Gary Ransdell said that himself, Hilltopper Athletic Foundation President Greg Stivers, chief of staff and general counsel Deborah Wilkins and faculty athletic representative James Brown would compose the search committee in charge of finding a new AD. Ransdell said the search has already began, and the process should be done within a month’s time. “As far as I’m concerned, we’re just getting started with this athletic program,” Ransdell said. Compared to his last search for an AD in 1998, Ransdell said he expects the calls to come to him rather than him having to do the selling.
  • Selig said he will stick around at Western until a new AD is hired, and once a successor is chosen, he will guide the new AD for a week or so in doing the job. In the meantime, Selig said he’d communicate via e-mail with his new school. “It will be a little bit of a juggling act, but it will be a nice situation to be in being that they have a sitting athletic director at Old Dominion,” Selig said.
  • Selig said talks with ODU began sometime over the holidays, and that he accepted the job earlier this week before letting Ransdell know the move was official.

Jonathan Lintner

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