"My family and I deeply appreciate the opportunity given to us by Marquette University," said Cords. "We're grateful to have been a part of a very special place, an outstanding community and wonderful state."
Cords has presided over Marquette's athletic department during a period of significant growth and success. During his 20 years, Cords expanded sports offerings at the Division I level, added and improved athletic facilities, oversaw outstanding athletic and academic achievement, and, most notably, engineered Marquette's move from independent status to the Big East Conference.
"Bill Cords is a man of integrity and class. His concern for our student athletes and his attention to their needs both on and off the court have helped create athletic programs that are not only successful in terms of wins and losses but, most importantly, are successful in helping young men and women succeed well as students and as human beings," said Marquette President Robert A. Wild, S.J. The mission of the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics is to strive for excellence in academics, athletics, leadership and service to others. Under Cords' supervision, Marquette student-athletes, teams and coaches across the broad spectrum of the program achieved academic, athletic, personal and professional prominence at the conference, regional and national levels.
"Having worked very closely with Bill during his 20 years as athletic director, I can attest to the fact that he has overseen tremendous progress in our program. The development of the Al McGuire Center and Valley Fields, the recruitment of outstanding coaches and our entry into the Big East Conference are all tributes to his vision and tenacity," said Marquette University Senior Vice President Greg Kliebhan.
During his tenure, Marquette has hosted conference championships in men's and women's basketball, cross country, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's tennis and men's and women's outdoor track and field. Marquette hosted very successful NCAA Men's Basketball Championship First and Second Rounds in 1992, 1996, 1999, and 2004. Marquette also hosted the NCAA Women's Basketball Mideast Regional in 2002.
"We are proud of what our student athletes have accomplished academically, athletically and in leadership through service to others," said Cords. "Moving from independent status to the Big East Conference was accomplished through the commitment and dedication of our students, coaches, staff, university administration and community, season ticket holders, donors, fans and friends. People are our strength." For his efforts, Cords was honored nationally by his peers as the 1999 NACDA/Continental Regional (Central) I-AA/I-AAA Athletic Director of the Year.
Prior to arriving at Marquette in 1987, Cords was the athletics director at the University of Texas-El Paso. During his five-year tenure, a strong broad-based program was developed with a rapidly improving football program, development of a women's athletic conference, a very successful men's basketball program, and highlighted by the elimination of a previous $1 million deficit.
Before going to UTEP, Cords spent 11 years at Washington State University, serving as head freshman football coach, assistant varsity football coach, director of intramurals, academic advisor, assistant athletics director and associate athletics director while earning a master's degree and completing doctoral work in education administration. He also taught and coached at the high school level in Montana.
Marquette University Associate Senior Vice President Steve Cottingham will fill the position on an interim basis through at least this summer. Cottingham has worked closely with athletics during the last three years, particularly in the areas of facility development, sponsorship and contract negotiations.
"Marquette is lucky to have someone of Steve Cottingham's qualifications and dedication to step in while we search for Bill's successor," Kliebhan said. "Steve has held a variety of university positions, including associate general counsel and associate senior vice president and has been an integral part of our athletics administration the past few years. He brings a unique and valuable perspective, as well as an incredible work ethic, to this position."
Other quotes from Director of Athletics Bill Cords and Marquette Staff
At the press conference today Bill Cords said, "This is an exciting time to be at Marquette University and an exciting time to be with Marquette athletics. We are very thankful to have had the opportunity to be here. To our head coaches, Father Wild, family, and staff, I love Marquette."