UC Irvine Athletic Director Bob Chichester announced on Thursday that he would be resigning from his post in August after serving as the head of the athletic department for the past five years. Chichester cited many reasons for his resignation, including financial difficulties with the athletic department and the recent death of his father.
‘When I came to UCI, I asked why they wanted someone from Colorado, a Big 12 school,’ Chichester said in a recent OC Register article.
‘I needed assurance from them that they wished to up the profile here. [Former Chancellor Ralph] Cicerone had a vision and goals for athletics that I shared. That focus has changed.’
In a past interview with the New University, Chichester acknowledged some of the difficulties that the athletic department faced in terms of raising money and balancing a budget, which has incurred a $1.5 million debt during the past three years.
‘Over the past couple of years, we have had some reductions of budgets overall, so every coach and every director has had to take some cuts in every program,’ Chichester said in March.
‘The challenge is that we try to operate our programs to where we do not exceed our budget. It is a challenge. It has always been a challenge here at UCI.’
Chichester also said he had a close relationship with his father and was hit hard by his passing.
‘My father played a really big role in my life and he was probably my closest friend,’ Chichester said in an interview with the Daily Pilot. ‘I was heavily influenced by him and, fortunately, I was able to spend some time with him before he died. That really caused me to evaluate a lot of things about myself and my family.’
Chichester made his announcement in Rock Round, Texas, where the UCI baseball team is currently playing in the Division I NCAA Regionals.
Under his leadership the athletic department was able to open a new sports medicine center, weight room and a new clubhouse for the baseball players and coaches in Anteater Ballpark.
UCI also won its first National Championship since 1989 during Chichester’s term when the men’s volleyball team captured the NCAA title in early May.
Eleven other teams also captured the Big West Conference championships during his tenure, including five from men’s and women’s golf.
‘I have greatly appreciated the opportunity to be part of many accomplishments by the athletic department, some of which were achieved for the first time in the department’s history,’ Chichester said in a press release shortly after his resignation.
‘The accomplishments have been broad-based, including areas of student-athlete academic success, athletic success and historical levels of fund raising.’
Chichester replaced current UCLA Athletic Director Dan Guerrero in September of 2002 after serving as the senior associate athletic director at the University of Colorado.
Chichester left Colorado shortly after the athletic department and football team made national headlines when three women sued the university, alleging that they were raped at football parties where alcohol and sex were offered to help recruit talented young high school players.
At his press conference in Texas, Chichester made it clear that after taking personal time off he is looking forward to returning to work in athletic departments sometime in the future.
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