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STANFORD -- Ted Leland, athletic director at the University of the Pacific, has been appointed to the same position at Stanford University, President Donald Kennedy announced Friday, June 7.
Leland, who earned his doctorate in 1982 in education (sports psychology) and was an assistant under Cardinal coach Bill Walsh in 1978, will officially start work on July 1.
The position has been open since Oct. 1, when longtime director Andy Geiger resigned to accept the director's job at the University of Maryland. Senior Associate Director Alan Cummings has served as acting director.
"We're delighted that Ted has agreed to be our next A.D., and I'm looking forward to working with him," Kennedy said. "This was a 'rich' search, one where you get lots of really outstanding candidates, and your chief agony is deciding between really impressive people."
Kennedy, Vice President for Public Affairs Robert E. Freelen, who chaired the search committee, and others involved in the decision said Leland was committed to continuing a broad-based sports program. They also said they were impressed with his demonstrated administrative and management ability.
Former Stanford and San Francisco 49ers head football coach Bill Walsh said he told Kennedy that Leland was "the best man in the field" and recommended him for the job.
"He has wonderful communication skills," Walsh said. "He can motivate people in a smooth and easy way, and has a quick wit."
"Leland has demonstrated his leadership in athletic administration, in fund-raising and, especially during his years at Dartmouth, in building a winning program within the constraints of high admissions standards for student-athletes," said Fidela Schneider, chair of the Stanford Athletic Board.
Leland, 42, introduced himself, his wife, Stefanie, and his children, Amanda, 10, and Bo, 7, at a news conference Friday morning. He said that he felt "honored, scared and lucky" to have been given the reins of the department's 29 varsity sports, 20 club sports, $22 million annual budget and staff of more than 150 people.
"I have a belief in honesty, and I'll say to the press now, that you'll find me honest; and if I can't be honest, you'll find me hard to find," he said to laughter.
Leland said Stanford athletics meant to him "a tradition of excellence, a history of great athletes and great coaches, and a commitment to a broad-based program, equal opportunity for women (and) integrity -- doing things the right way.
"It means a commitment to the very special student-athletes that make up our programs here," Leland said. "Stanford athletics means a proper balance between athletics and academics. It also means a commitment to recreation, dance and other kinds of campus programs."
When asked what he planned to do about the department's $2 million budget deficit, Leland said it would be his most serious challenge "besides approving band scripts," again to laughter.
Shortly after Geiger resigned, Freelen chaired an ad hoc committee that, among other things, suggested that, should reductions be necessary, individual program deletions would be preferable to across-the-board cuts in all programs.
"Cutting sports would be one of the last things we would want to do," Leland said. "It's bad for the students, it's bad for the institution, it's a step backwards."
He also said he would give the "money" sports, such as football and basketball, all possible support.
"As (football coach) Dennis Green and I can both tell you from the situation we inherited when we went together to Northwestern, there's no inherent redeeming value in chronic losing," Leland said.
Providing good support to football, for example, could actually make it more possible to beef up other programs.
"If I read the numbers correctly, if we can get back to the attendance in the sport of football that we had in 1980, we're on the upside of $1.2 million or something like that," he said. "So we would be negligent in solving our budget issue if we didn't give Dennis Green and the coaches and the players in that program as much support as we can, because they can not only support themselves but can help us support the rest of the programs."
The ad hoc committee report also recommended that Stanford maintain its high academic standards when recruiting student- athletes. Leland said he had no problem with that.
"I've had a lot of experience dealing with private-school admissions offices, and I have found if we do our work and we work hard, we can win," Leland said. He did say, however, that he was willing to argue with admissions offers in selected cases, such as when "there are very special, talented people that would make a contribution to this community (but) whose academic profile isn't the same as maybe the top 10 percent of the entering class."
"I'm very comfortable making those arguments, and I don't see admissions as being that big of an issue," Leland said.
Both Kennedy and Leland had words of praise for Cummings and the rest of the staff for their interim management.
"We did not suffer loss of momentum," Kennedy said. "Those people knew that their job was to take charge and to display leadership, and every one of them did, and I am proud of them."
In the interim, Stanford's women's tennis team won the NCAA championship, the men's basketball team won the National Invitation Tournament, and individual athletes won 11 championships.
Leland was director of athletics and recreation at University of the Pacific, located in Stockton, Calif., since 1989. He held the same position at Dartmouth from 1983 to 1989, was senior associate director at Northwestern from 1981 to 1983, and assistant athletic director at the University of Houston from 1979 to 1983.
A native of Hayward, Calif., Leland played football for the UOP Tigers in 1968 and 1969, and served as assistant football coach there in 1972-73 and again from 1975 to 1977. He spent 1978 as an assistant coach at Stanford under Walsh.
His teaching experience includes a current appointment as lecturer in physical education and recreation at Pacific, six years as adjunct professor of psychology at Dartmouth, and 10 years as an instructor of recreational activities classes.
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