Clarion University Athletic Director Dave Katis Stepping Down to Take Classroom Position

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CLARION. Pa. (EYT) – Clarion University athletic director Dave Katis has resigned from his position and will transition into a classroom role July 1, it was announced by the university Tuesday.

(Photo of Clarion Athletic director Dave Katis (left), university president Karen Whitney (right) when announcing the hiring of head football coach Chris Weibel (center))

Katis, a tenured faculty member at Clarion via contractual language within the athletic-director position, will become a faculty member in sports management. He will remain as athletic director until June 30.

“I’m excited about this,” Katis told EYT Media. “It’s a great opportunity to do something like this and take my experience to the classroom. It’s a new challenge.”

According to Katis, it was his decision to leave the position of athletic director to take a faculty spot.

“I floated it out to the administration that if something came open I would be interested,” Katis said. “I wasn’t sure if something would come open or not. I guess sport management is going through enrollment growth. With my background and tenure, it made sense.”

Katis tenure as athletic director has seen its ups and downs as well as a lot of change.

The signature men’s programs have struggled over the past 11 years with football having two winning seasons and going 39-81 (.325), men’s basketball four winning campaigns and going 136-163 (.454) and Division I wrestling having a dual-meet record of 65-137 (.327) with three All-Americans. In addition, wrestling has had five coaches in 11 years.

Women’s basketball has also seen its share of struggles in the past 11 seasons going 113-183 (.382) since the 2005-06 season with two winning seasons.

Also, in Katis first year as athletic director, the university eliminated the men’s track and field and cross country programs, although in the last year a second women’s track and field head coach has been added giving women’s cross country and women’s track and field separate coaches for the first time in their history.

Not all programs have struggled since Katis became athletic director.

Women’s volleyball has been fantastic under Katis’ leadership qualifying for the NCAA Division II Tournament nine times in 11 years including in each of the past seven years with an Elite Eight Appearance and PSAC Title in 2010. The squad has had nine 20-win seasons, including three years of at least 30 victories while going 272-112 (.708). Most of that success has come under Katis hirer, Jen Mills, who just completed her ninth year on the job.

Overall, Katis is happy with his tenure.

“We’ve left the athletic department better than we found it,” Katis said. “We have a young, energetic coaching staff in place. They are on the verge of doing some incredible things. The student-athletes are the cream of the crop in the conference, and it will be a pleasure to see them in the classroom.”

According to Susanne Fenske, vice president for Student Affair, the university is in the process of determining interim leadership for the athletic department. A release from the university stated an interim athletic director will likely serve from July 2016 until June 2017.

“We expect to have an interim replacement within the next week,” university spokesperson David Love said. “At this point, we are seeking options from within the university.”

During the time the interim athletic director will be in place, the university expects to access its needs and approaches to the management of athletics, athletics programs, athletic staff and student-athletes according to Fenske.

“We want to determine what we believe will be the best model for oversight of both the operational and competition components of our program,” Fenske said.

In Nov. 2014, the university announced that it was ushering in a “New Level of Excellence in Intercollegiate Athletics” under a plan devised by the Clarion University Intercollegiate Athletics Task Force, which was made up of members from both inside the university and from the Clarion community, and accepted by University President, Karen Whitney.

According to Love, the new review will differ from the task force review.

“The task force was focused on the athletic program structure primarily,” Love said. “This review will be focused on operational efficiency in the athletic administration.”

A permanent replacement for Katis will be hired after the review, according to Love.

“The search for a permanent replacement will take place at a time to be determined after the overall operation and needs have been assessed,” Love said. “The interim athletic director could be considered for the job.”

Katis has never taught but is looking forward to the challenge

“Deep down, I always believed if I could be in the classroom it would great,” Katis said. “I’m really excited. I always thought if I could ever get the chance to teach, it would be great.”

Whitney is excited to have Katis in the classroom.

“I am thrilled that David Katis will be joining the faculty this fall,” Whitney said. “With his many years of successful achievements in collegiate sports administration coupled with his years in university advancement and coaching, David will bring a wealth of talent and expertise to the classroom, which will benefit our students tremendously.”


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