May 26, 1999
I am pleased to inform you that Mr. Richard Dull has accepted my offer to become the new athletic director for Cal State Northridge, effective July 1, 1999. His appointment follows a national search, conducted by a search committee, made up of faculty, staff and students and chaired by Faculty Athletic Representative Tom Shannon. I thank the members of the committee for their excellent work and for recommending a field of highly qualified finalists for the position.
Mr. Dull is currently athletic director at Moravian College in Bethlehem, Pennsylvania. Prior to his appointment at Moravian in May 1998, he was athletic director at the University of Nebraska at Kearney; marketing and public relations director at Sports Travel International from 1986 to 1995; and athletic director at the University of Maryland College Park from 1981 to 1986. Before becoming athletic director at Maryland, he also served there as assistant athletic director, assistant to the athletic director for business affairs, and assistant track coach. He began his professional life in 1971 as an attorney and received both his law and bachelor's degrees from the University of Maryland. Mr. Dull has a broad and varied career that includes more than 25 years of managerial, legal and public relations experience in intercollegiate athletics and the private sector. He has served as an athletic director at all three divisions of the NCAA.
Given the challenges faced by CSUN's athletic program, Mr. Dull's background and experience distinguished him among the final candidates in several respects. He has led the athletics program at an institution comparable in size to CSUN; planned and implemented short term initiatives and a Master Plan for achieving compliance with Title IX and gender equity; negotiated radio/television packages and trade contracts for services and products in support of intercollegiate athletic programs; increased private and student-based athletic revenue in support of Division I and Division II programs; and designed and implemented programs to increase the academic success of student athletes. The search committee noted the priority he placed on building stronger support for athletics among students, faculty, and local community organizations and businesses, and his practice of taking a proactive and aggressive approach to fund-raising and developing broad support from campus and local communities.
When Mr. Dull was athletic director at the University of Maryland College Park, one of their star basketball players, Len Bias, died as a result of drug use. That event raised broader questions about the academic qualifications of student athletes. Mr. Dull, while quite young at the time, learned a great deal from the experience which he shared with the search committee. His superiors at Maryland reported respect for his decision to resign to help restore confidence to the program. This experience increased his commitment to the academic integrity of athletic programs and should serve him well in our intense sports-media market.
In a related matter, the Big Sky Conference met yesterday and today in Spokane, Washington. We were represented by Grace Collins, Sam Jankovich, Tom Shannon, and myself. The Big Sky presidents agreed to extend the Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) for our participation in the conference. Their decision was based, primarily, on the outstanding questions about facilities improvements, including the football stadium, and our progress in adding all core sports. They also understood that the appointment of a new athletic director was imminent. Clearly, developing a plan for meeting all of the requirements of the MOU will be one of Mr. Dull's primary tasks next year.
Dr. Louanne Kennedy and I are pleased that Mr. Dull has accepted the athletic director's position, for we believe he will benefit the university, our athletes, and the surrounding community. I hope you will join me in welcoming Richard Dull to the university community.
This also provides another opportunity for me to thank Sam Jankovich for his splendid interim leadership of the Athletic Department during this important transition period. Sam's wisdom, candor and strong leadership have served us well; we owe him a great debt of gratitude.
Blenda J. Wilson