SFU athletic director resigns

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Photo courtesy of SFU Athletics

After three and a half years at the helm, SFU’s athletic director Milton Richards has announced his resignation.

Arriving in November of 2011, Richards came to SFU after 12 years as the athletic director at the California State University (CSU) Stanislaus in Turlock, CA, and served as the athletic director at the State University of Albany, where he guided the athletic program from NCAA Division III to Division I.

“I think Milt came to us at a really critical time when [SFU] was seeking full membership in the NCAA, and [he] took on that challenge with a lot of enthusiasm,” said Tim Rahilly, SFU’s associate vice president of students. “[He] really helped SFU make the best case to the NCAA, and also used his very broad network of connections in the US to help us.”

Shortly after taking the job at SFU, Richards made all SFU home games free for students, a policy he previously implemented at CSU Stanislaus. Further, it was under his eye that SFU became a full fledged member of the NCAA.

Highlights of his time at SFU, he said, included, “being able to go to Division II, [. . .] establishing the academic first program, [and] the fact that we’re going to finish in the top-25 in the director’s cup.”

“I’m just really thrilled that it’s the best experience I’ve ever had in collegiate athletics.”

Richards will return home to Turlock, CA, but he will continue to serve as head of the department until July 2.

“When I took this job, I made a commitment to get us through the [NCAA] Division II process, and I was confident that my wife was going to move with me,” Richards said. “[But] then she had commitments in Turlock and was unable to move, and we’ve been doing this for three and a half years [. . .] she just retired, and she’d prefer to stay in Turlock, so it was just the right time to move on.

“It’s the best experience I’ve ever had in collegiate athletics.”

Milton Richards,

SFU athletic director

“I will absolutely miss SFU, I will miss my coaches, I will miss everything that’s here, very much so.”

Rahilly, who will serve as the interim head of athletics, said that the search for a new director of athletics and recreation will commence after Richards leaves.

“Milt’s here for another month, and then we will start the process of getting ready for the search,” he explained. “One of the things we’ll do is we’ll meet people and ask what are the characteristics and skills and abilities that we need in our next senior director of athletics and recreation. I imagine we’ll be aiming to interview in the early fall.”

Rahilly also noted that preference would be given to Canadian candidates, but the search would, however, include international candidates. Richards himself was the first American director of athletics at SFU.

“We want someone who has a background in both recreation and athletics, someone who is familiar with the NCAA, and I think we want someone who has a broad sense of the issues around campus recreation, in particular, wellness and campus engagement [and] someone who is able to work with community partners, alumni, [and] donors,” Rahilly added.