Athletic director Marcum taking early retirement
J. Fitzgibbons, Chronicle staff
director Bob Marcum announced Wednesday that he is taking the state-sponsored
early retirement program and stepping down from his post on June
"We've had a great
run, but I've been thinking about making this move for the last
few months," Marcum said. "With a new chancellor [John
Lombardi] on board, it just seemed that the timing was right.
has made tremendous strides, both academically and athletically,
over the years due to the efforts of the student-athletes, coaches,
and support staff, and I'd like to thank them for all of their hard
work and dedication. Without their efforts, our program would not
be the success that it is today."
Just the fourth individual
to serve as athletic director in a non-interim capacity since 1911,
Marcum was hired in early 1993 and credited with leading the department
to prominence on and off the field. The athletic program was recently
named to the U.S. News & World Report College Sports Honor Roll,
which recognized the nation's 20 best athletic departments based
on gender equity commitment, win-loss record, sport sponsorship
and student-athlete graduation rates.
"There's no doubt
that the success we have been able to achieve, in the classroom
and in competition, wouldn't have been possible without the financial
support and resources provided by the Board of Trustees, the President's
Office and our campus administration," said Marcum.
Marcum was the 1999
Northeast Region I-AA Athletic Director of the Year and was a finalist
for the national honor. Under his direction, Massachusetts has become
the Atlantic 10's most dominant all-around athletic program, both
academically and athletically.
"What Bob Marcum
has been able to achieve for nearly a decade can be summarized with
one word: excellence," President William M. Bulger said. "Under
Bob's distinguished, careful leadership, Amherst's Division I athletic
program has achieved excellence on the playing fields, and its student-athletes
have performed with distinction in the classroom.
athletic program has been recognized as a national leader when it
comes to placing female athletes on a level playing field with their
male counterparts, and the program has won numerous plaudits with
respect to the academic performance of its dedicated athletes,"
UMass has produced more
Atlantic 10 all-academic selections than any other league school
over the past seven years, and has led the conference in academic
all-league picks six times in that stretch. In addition, Massachusetts
student-athletes have consistently graduated at a higher rate than
the student body as a whole, and since 1996, its graduation rate
for student-athletes completing their eligibility has been 90 percent
or higher every year.
Interim Chancellor Marcellette
G. Williams saluted Marcum's leadership, "Bob Marcum has served
the University admirably. He did the job he was hired to do, and
he did it very well. Beside the athletic success the University
achieved under his leadership, the University also became a leader
in Title IX compliance during his tenure here. Also, importantly,
his focus on academics, and the 'student' part of the student-athlete
brought the University many honors and much praise.
"The success of
the University's athletic program in the last nine years is a tribute
to his leadership. A leader sets the tone for an organization that
allows and encourages success. Bob understood this and was able
to create the right environment for a strong Division I athletic
program. The University will continue its commitment to the standards
he set," she added.
programs have enjoyed tremendous success on Marcum's watch, capturing
five of seven Atlantic 10 Commissioner's Cups, in recognition of
the league's top all-around athletic program, and averaging a 62.5
finish in the final Sears Directors Cup standings, which ranks over
300 Division I institutions. Six times in the award's history, all
under Marcum, the UMass program has finished among the nation's
top 60 programs. In all, Massachusetts teams have won nearly 65
percent of their contests, captured 65 Atlantic 10 titles and made
70 NCAA Tournament appearances, highlighted by the men's basketball
team's 1996 Final Four appearance, the football team's 1998 I-AA
national championship, and back-to-back (1997 and 1998) College
World Series trips by the softball squad.
In addition, Marcum
presided over the construction of a state-of-the-art softball complex
and was instrumental in securing the commitment for a new student
recreation facility for the entire campus.
Under his leadership,
the school's Athletic Hall of Fame and Varsity "M" Club
were both resurrected after being dormant for several years.
"Bob Marcum leaves
behind an athletic program that U.S. News & World Report has
described as one of the 20 best in the nation," Bulger said.
"Our challenge is to ensure that the Amherst program remains
at this lofty level -- and this is a challenge that we all intend
to meet. It is through our commitment to continued excellence that
we will be able to best honor Bob Marcum's singular accomplishments."
John Lombardi also paid tribute to Marcum: "Bob Marcum's outstanding
performance as athletic director at UMass Amherst has left a legacy
of academic quality and athletic performance. High-quality intercollegiate
athletics are an integral part of America's most successful public
and private research universities, and UMass Amherst's athletic
excellence will attract strong athletic director candidates to continue
A native of Huntington,
W. Va., Marcum came to UMass from the Atlanta Motor Speedway, where
he had served as vice president and general manager from October
1990 until his appointment in Amherst. Prior to that, he served
as the athletic director at both South Carolina (1982-88) and Kansas
(1978-82). Marcum began his career in intercollegiate athletics
at Iowa State University in 1971, where he served as associate athletic
director until moving to Kansas. He also served as vice president
and general manager of the Charlotte Motor Speedway from 1988-90.
An interim director
will be identified and a search committee will be appointed within
the next week, Williams said.