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Sunday, July 25, 2021

An immeasurable legacy

Former Athletic Director Terry Tumey’s impact on UC Davis Athletics

After Athletic Director Terry Tumey announced his plans to resign from his post three years into his five-year contract, it is a time to look back upon the mark he has made on UC Davis Athletics.

In the summer of 2012, Tumey entered a department where, only a couple of years before, four sports had been cut from UC Davis’ arsenal due to fiscal pressures.

Under Tumey’s direction, the total revenue of the department increased in his first year from about $25.5 million to roughly $28.24 million, and by the 2013-14 season that number had increased to a little over $31 million according to a 2013-14 EADA Report. The largest change during this period was in NCAA/Conference distributions which rose from $511,457 to $1,795,474 between 2010-11 and 2011-12. Tumey also inherited a near $1.5 million deficit, which by the end of his first year had been reduced to only about $640,000. By the next season, the department boasted over a $1.5 million surplus.

During that same period, Athletics operating expenses rose in conjunction with the increased budget, up to $29,531,570 in 2013-14. The department also benefited from an unprecedented amount of monetary support from the University, rising from $321,119 in 2011-12 to $2,182,053 in 2013-14.

Tumey contributed significantly to the approval and building of the Aggie Field Hockey Facility, a $3.2 million project funded by various donors, the campus and Athletic Department. Until his last day on June 15, 2015, Tumey will continue to work for the university, supporting and contributing to capital improvement efforts. The Sacramento Bee reported that he would also be working on the creation of a high quality training and conditioning facility for UC Davis’ athletes, which would add to the legacy he leaves behind as director. Still, it has been noted that he is no longer spending a significant amount of time on the UC Davis campus.

During Tumey’s tenure as Athletic Director, the Aggies have collected 10 league titles, with the potential to add more after the spring slew of Big West Championships. Of the 23 UC Davis teams, women’s track and field has earned two titles, as has women’s swim and dive and gymnastics in their Mountain Pacific Sports Federation conference. The women’s golf team aims for their sixth-straight Big West title, the two most recent of which occurred during Tumey’s tenure. Men’s basketball garnered the most local and national attention this season as they finished with a 25-7 regular season record, remaining undefeated at home and winning the conference regular season crown. Their performance led to a first ever Aggie visit to the National Invitation Tournament, and they ended with their best season since their start in Division I competition.

In addition to the overall success of the UC Davis Athletics program, his program had the highest NCAA Graduation Success Rate in the Big West Conference, with 87 percent in 2013 and 88 percent in 2014. Men’s basketball led Big West in 2013 with 91 percent, and football also led their Big Sky conference for 2013 and 2014.

With information released in 2013, seven teams claimed flawless graduation success rates (GSR) of 100 percent: women’s lacrosse, gymnastics, golf, soccer, volleyball and water polo, and men’s water polo. Not to diminish the achievements of other high-rating teams, the men’s tennis and cross country/track and field teams had 93 and 95 percent success rates, while women’s teams of basketball and swimming had 94 and 95 percent, respectively.

In the 2012-13 season, women’s tennis came away with an impeccable multi-year academic progress rate (APR) for the seventh year running. A creation of the NCAA, the APR is a measure of whether student-athletes are well on their way to graduate, and based on certain requirements determines whether or not teams are eligible to engage in postseason play. A total of seven UC Davis teams had the highest academic progress ratings in their respective conferences.

Because of his short time as Athletic Director, it is difficult to say whether or not Tumey is directly responsible for the trends noted above. A number of the teams who found success during his tenure have legacies of winning and the discrepancies could merely be the natural fluctuations that arise from year to year. Likewise, the budget rose significantly over the two and a half year period, but it has been on a constant upward trajectory over the past ten years. Tumey’s impact is simply not measurable by any of the ways that Athletics uses to determine success.

Tumey has been replaced by Interim Athletic Director Teresa Gould until a suitable replacement is found, a process which is expected to take at least a few months. You can read the Aggies’ in-depth interview with Gould here.

Monetary, APR and GSR statistics for the 2014-15 season has not been released yet.

Graphic by Jennifer Wu.

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