The pace of change atop athletic departments saw an increase for the first time in 2019, as five Division I athletic departments experienced AD turnover in March. The five instances of AD turnover in March was also accompanied by a major announcement from Big Ten Commissioner Jim Delany. On March 4, Delany announced he intends to step down from his role at the end of his current contract which is set to expire in 2020. Of the five DI institutions to experience AD turnover in March, four athletic departments welcomed new leaders.
Murray State University
On Friday, March 1, Murray State announced the appointment of Kevin Saal as the Racers new Director of Athletics. Saal comes to Murray State after most recently serving as the executive associate athletic director at the University of Kentucky. The first time AD replaces longtime Murray AD Allen Ward who departed to take the AD post at Abilene Christian.
University of San Francisco
USF announced the promotion of Joan McDermott to Director of Athletics on Friday, March 1. McDermott replaces Scott Sidwell. Sidwell left USF in mid-February after accepting an offer to become the Deputy Director of Athletics for External at Penn State. McDermott joined the Dons staff in 2016 but has previously served as athletic director at Cal State East Bay and Metropolitan State University of Denver.
Wake Forest University
On March 3, Wake Forest announced longtime athletic director Ron Wellman will be retiring on May 1, 2019, ending his 27-year stint as the Wake athletic director. Wake Forest alum and former Kansas State and Tennessee AD John Currie will take over for Wellman. Currie is currently teaching a class at Columbia University in New York and is a consultant for the University of Texas.
Idaho State University
The Bengals concluded their search for a new athletic director on March 15, announcing the promotion of interim AD Pauline Thiros. Thiros a former Idaho State student-athlete, coach, and administrator had held the interim position since August of 2018.
Morehead State University
The Eagles became the final institution to experience AD turnover in March when 15-year athletic director Brian Hutchinson announced he was stepping down. Hutchinson recently began his new role as the director of athletics at Division II Lincoln Memorial University. MSU volleyball coach Jamie Gordon is currently serving as the Eagles interim AD.