Tulane athletic director Sandy Barbour, one of only eight female athletic directors in NCAA Division I-A, resigned Monday after a year of major success for the school, including an undefeated football season.
The resignation is effective immediately, the school said in a statement. No reason was given for her departure, but in the statement Barbour said it was clear that Tulane "was interested in different leadership for the athletic department."
Senior associate athletic director Scott Devine was appointed interim athletic director. A national search for a permanent replacement will begin in several weeks, Tulane president Scott Cowen said.
"I've had a great eight years at Tulane," Barbour said in the statement. "I love the university, but at this time it is in the best interests of us to go our separate ways. "
"Over the course of the last several months, it became clear to me that the university was interested in different leadership for the athletic department," Barbour said.
According to published and broadcast reports over the weekend, Barbour fell under criticism from her inability to raise money at the private university and questions about her management style.
The resignation comes after Tulane completed a 12-0 football season, including a win in the Liberty Bowl and Barbour's controversial decision to replace coach Tommy Bowden with Chris Scelfo, a Georgia assistant coach, instead of promoting offensive coordinator Rich Rodriguez.
Tulane's women's basketball team, baseball team and men's and women's tennis teams also earned NCAA berths during the past season.
In addition, Tulane's athletic department finished in the black financially last year for the first time in the 1990s, boosted by a &$1.2 million payout from the Liberty Bowl and a $600,000 settlement from Bowden for leaving before his contract was up.
Barbour, who has been at Tulane since 1991, was named athletic director Sept. 13, 1996, replacing Kevin White, who left to become athletic director at Arizona State. She was hired by former Tulane president Eamon Kelly.
Her first major move as athletic director was to fire Buddy Teevens as football coach after a 2-9 season in 1996. She hired Bowden, who turned around the program before leaving for Clemson in November.
Despite the undefeated season, Tulane averaged only 27,944 for each home game in 1998 after selling about 5,000 season tickets. Bowden cited the lack of "big-time" atmosphere as the primary reason he left for Clemson.
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