Director of Athletics at University of Houston Announces Retirement
April 22, 2009
HOUSTON, Texas -
David L. Maggard, director of athletics at the University of Houston, has decided to leave the university, effective May 11, President Renu Khator announced today. Maggard, in an afternoon news conference at the Athletics/Alumni Center on campus, said his pending departure stems from a desire to be closer to his family in California. He and his wife, Carolyn, have three adult children: David, Darin and Dana.
“Following a visit with our family in California over the Easter weekend, we began to discuss our retiring to be closer to family,” Maggard said. “We felt this to be a good time to retire from University of Houston while I am still in excellent health and have great enthusiasm for life and am able to work long hours. “The departure for us is difficult in that we have met so many great Cougars and so many of you have made the future of this program so very bright. I feel extremely good about what we have been able to achieve together and to move this program back in the national picture.”
Khator praised Maggard’s leadership, saying he has helped change the culture of athletics at UH, resulting not only in excellence on the field of play, but in the academic arena as well.
“The University of Houston is home to one of the most storied athletics programs in the nation,” Khator said. “In overseeing the 16 intercollegiate sports offerings at the university, Dave Maggard’s guidance has lifted our athletics program back onto the national stage. His efforts have produced dramatic improvements in graduation rates, initiated a new fundraising program in Cougar Pride that provides student scholarships and engages alumni and fans, and established long-term stability that cements his legacy. We wish him and his family all the best.”
The university will conduct a nationwide search to replace Maggard. Until a successor is named, John Robinson, deputy director of athletics, will serve as interim director of athletics, Khator said.
Maggard came to Houston in January 2002. Under his watch, the university established ambitious goals to improve facilities and programs in all sports. He recently announced a plan to revise a proposal to build a $38 million end-zone facility at Robertson Stadium in favor of a bold project to upgrade the entire 32,000-seat stadium – including increasing amenities and the seating capacity of the 68-year-old edifice.
UH has $12 million in pledges for the end-zone proposal. Regents must approve Maggard’s revised proposal.
Among Maggard’s accomplishments at UH:
• Graduation rates of student-athletes improved from 27 percent when he arrived to an all-time high of 59 percent last year
• The Cougar football team last year won its first bowl game in 28 years
• The university hired the first African-American head football coach in the 60-year history of the university
• The university served as the host institution that helped bring the NCAA Basketball Regional tournament to Houston last year, as well as the Regional this year and the Final Four in 2011 and 2016
• UH leased Robertson Stadium to the Houston Dynamo professional soccer team over the past four years, attracting thousands of new fans to the campus and providing greater visibility for the university
Maggard also received recognition for his coaching hires, including basketball coach Tom Penders, who previously led the program at the University of Texas, among others; football coach Art Briles, whose successful run at UH ended last year when he left to lead the Baylor program; and current football coach Kevin Sumlin, whom Maggard lured from the University Oklahoma, where he had been an assistant. In addition to a bowl victory, Sumlin recorded the most wins by a first-year head coach in Cougar history.
The hiring of Sumlin was notable in the national debate over the NCAA’s hiring practices. UH is among only seven of 120 teams in the Bowl Subdivision that has an African American head football coach.
“The way I viewed it, and the way I always viewed it when hiring coaches, is to get the best coach that you possibly can,” Maggard said of Sumlin’s hiring. “In this case, I think that's what we were able to do.”
Maggard brought a wealth of intercollegiate athletics experience and insight to Houston. Before joining UH, he spent a year and a half as a consultant for the Sacramento (Calif.) Sports Commission and the University of California-Davis Medical Center. He was the director of athletics at the University of Miami from 1991-1993. Maggard went to Miami after serving 19 years as athletics director at his alma mater, the University of California-Berkeley.
Maggard was named the managing director of sports for the Atlanta Committee for the Olympic Games in 1993. He also served as the primary interface with the International Olympic Committee and Sports Federations on sports-related matters. After the 1996 Olympic Games, Maggard served as the vice president of sports administration for Turner Sports/Time Warner Inc. and was the executive vice president for the Atlanta Thrashers hockey team until 2000.
A former Olympian himself, Maggard earned one letter in football and three letters in track and field at UC-Berkeley. There, he set a school record in the shot put that stood for more than 19 years.
He worked at several Bay-area high schools as a teacher and coach while a member of the U.S. national track team and training in the shot put for a place on the 1968 Olympic Trials. At the Olympic Trials, he recorded the fifth-longest shot put mark in history to earn a spot on the USA Olympic Team. Later that year, he returned to his alma mater to serve as an assistant track and field coach and assumed the head coaching duties a year later. In 1972, he was named the school's director of athletics at age 32, making him the youngest athletics director in the nation.
Maggard was inducted into California-Berkeley's Hall of Fame in 1996. He serves on the NCAA Academic, Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet and is chair of the Committee on Agents and Amateurism. Born Jan. 12, 1940, Maggard grew up in San Francisco and Turlock, Calif.