New UC Davis athletics director appointed by acting chancellor
Earlier this week, Acting Chancellor Ralph J. Hexter appointed Dr. Kevin Blue as the new UC Davis director of athletics. Blue graduated from Stanford after playing on the men’s golf team, then traveled to Michigan State to earn his Ph.D. in sports psychology. He then returned to Stanford, where he worked for seven years in the athletics department and was appointed to the position of senior associate athletics director for external relations in 2013.
This decision by Hexter was made with the full authority of the Office of the Chancellor. Hexter, appointed by University of California President Napolitano following the placement of Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi on investigative leave, told the media in his first press conference that he planned on filling the position of athletics director. Though Katehi has many legitimate complaints levied against her, she has only been placed on leave for 90 days. If cleared of her allegations, she will presumably return to work as the head of UC Davis. If this is the case, should a temporary chancellor make a decision that could significantly affect the athletics department for many years to come?
It is reasonable to assume that Hexter, already part of UC Davis leadership, had at least a baseline understanding of the search process and what the committee was looking for. In the past few weeks, Hexter has undoubtedly familiarized himself with any gaps in his knowledge on the search for athletic director. Regardless, given Hexter’s temporary and recent appointment, The Editorial Board hopes that this was not a hastily made decision.
Though it is too early to tell how the athletic administration will look under Blue’s leadership, one thing is for certain: he is a highly educated and qualified selection. He has personal experience from being an athlete at an academically rigorous institution and has a proven track record as an effective administrator. We hope that he will continue to stress academic excellence as a key component of the student-athlete experience and works to increase student engagement in athletics.
Blue looks to revitalize UC Davis athletics during his time at this university, and has said that he would like the Athletic Department to be more involved in the Davis community. He has also indicated a willingness to sit down with The Editorial Board, where we hope to learn more about his particular vision for athletics. Blue officially enters his position on June 21.