Rutgers University hired Julie Hermann as athletic director to replace Tim Pernetti, making her the first woman in school history to hold the position.
Hermann, 49, was most recently the senior associate athletic director at the University of Louisville. She was selected over University of Wisconsin deputy athletic director Sean Frazier, the Star-Ledger of Newark, New Jersey, reported, citing two unidentified people familiar with the situation.
Hermann was chosen following an emergency vote by the 11-member Board of Governors at Rutgers after the school’s six-member executive athletic committee was deadlocked at 3-3 between Hermann and Frazier, the Ledger said.
“I’m a builder at heart and part of my attraction for this opportunity is knowing that many things are coming together,” Hermann said yesterday at a news conference. “A fantastic academic institution, an athletic department with some great tradition and the opportunity in the Big Ten, which we will take advantage of to continue to position ourselves to get as competitive as possible in as many sports as we can.”
Hermann becomes the third woman to hold the top athletic department position at a school in a Bowl Championship Series conference, joining Debbie Yow at North Carolina State and Sandy Barbour at the University of California, Berkeley.
Hermann, an all-conference volleyball player at the University of Nebraska (10427MF:US) from 1981-84, spent the past 16 seasons in athletic administration at Louisville.
As executive senior associate athletic director, she was responsible for supervising 20 of Louisville’s 23 sports as well as student development, sports medicine, strength and conditioning, marketing and the academic unit, according to her profile on the school’s website.
Football and men’s basketball weren’t among the sports she was responsible for overseeing while at Louisville, whose football team won the Sugar Bowl last season and whose men’s basketball team won the national championship.
Hermann, who is also the president of the National Association of Collegiate Women’s Administrators, will oversee Rutgers through a transition year in the American Athletic Conference before it moves to the Big Ten conference in 2014. The Big East becomes the American Athletic Conference at the end of the 2012-13 sports season.
Pernetti stepped down as athletic director on April 5 amid questions about his handling of evidence that former men’s basketball coach Mike Rice physically and verbally abused players. Rice was fired by the school three days after the national telecast of a video showed him punishing players by throwing balls at their heads in practice and attacking them with vulgarities and gay slurs.
Pernetti, with the support of Rutgers President Robert Barchi, initially suspended Rice after the school’s former director of player development made him aware of the coach’s behavior. Pernetti said he was accountable for the decision and came under fire from faculty members and New Jersey politicians after video of Rice’s transgressions aired last month.
Governor Chris Christie had called on Pernetti to explain why Rice wasn’t fired in December.
The exits of Rice and Pernetti came less than a month after Rutgers was invited to join the Big Ten.
“It is a new day. It is already fixed,” Hermann said of any concerns about improper coaching at the school. “That will never happen again on this prestigious, fantastic campus.”
Pernetti, whose annual salary was $452,769, signed a five-year contract in 2009, with benefits including a $12,000 car stipend and an opportunity to earn as much as $50,000 in bonuses for reaching academic, financial and competitive goals. Hermann will receive an annual base salary of $450,000 and is eligible for annual performance bonuses of up to $50,000, the school said in a statement.
Pernetti was hired in February 2009 with a charge to cut the $17.9 million in education funds and $7.8 million in student fees that the athletic department received as a subsidy.
Even after selling football stadium naming rights, getting bigger donations from boosters, outsourcing ticket operations and cutting staff, the subsidy grew.
By June last year, Pernetti was tapping the university for $18.46 million and students for another $9.52 million, bringing total support to $28 million, one of the highest subsidies in the nation, according to revenue and expense reports obtained from the school by Bloomberg News using open-records requests.
Rutgers said it expected to erase the subsidy with the move to the Big Ten conference.
Before joining Louisville’s athletic department, Hermann spent one year as an assistant coach for USA Volleyball and six seasons as women’s volleyball coach at the University of Tennessee. She also had coaching stints at Northern Arizona, Georgia and Wyoming after helping Nebraska win four conference championships as a player.
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