Dee: "The Orange Bowl is very viable"

UM athletic director Paul Dee addressed the media today after announcing he would be resigning June 1, 2008.

In 2008, Dee would have spent 27 years at the University of Miami including 15 years as the athletic director. He spent 12 years on the General Counsel.

"I have had two wonderful careers with the same employer, but there comes a time in your life where you have to take stock of where you are, where you are going, and where you want to be," Dee said. "I thought at this juncture looking ahead and talking with administration would be to make a change."

Dee, 60, will not be picking a successor, but will do everything possible to help the new athletic director make a smooth transition.

"I will only be a local phone call away," he said.

He plans on staying with the university as a faculty member before retiring. Dee said he would like to each sports administration or business law classes.

Dee said he has been thinking about his future for a while

"You realize you are closer to the end of the race than the beginning."

During his tenure as the athletic director Miami won three national championships (football, 2001; baseball, 1999 and 2001) and three runners-up finishes (baseball, 1996; football, 2002; women's tennis; 2006).

"The legacy writes itself," he said.

TOUGHEST DECISION

Dee recalled one of his toughest decisions he has made during his career.

Following the 1993-94 men's basketball season, Dee decided to keep Leonard Hamilton as the team's head coach despite an 0-18 record in Big East conference games.

"It would have been very easy at that point to say that we need to make a change," Dee said.

Four years later, Hamilton guided the Hurricanes to the NCAA tournament and the following year he led them to a share of the Big East title and they tied a school-record with 23 victories.

STADIUM UPDATE

There have been considerable efforts to work on the renovations of the Orange Bowl to keep the Hurricanes there.

"In all my time, this is the first time that I felt really good about a proposal and that their people were sincere about it," Dee said.

Dee said the Orange Bowl is "very viable" assuming the renovations get done.

One thing that makes funding for the Orange Bowl a more difficult task is that it is owned by the City of Miami as opposed to Miami-Dade County. There is not as much city funding as there would be for the country.

"I think the city is going to do everything they can to keep the Orange Bowl alive with the hope that they can keep us there," Dee said.

Most cities don't have alternatives, but with Dolphin Stadium UM has more leverage in making a decision for their future. The analysis of the two is more complex than most situations.

No timetable is set for the decision.

RAISING MONEY

Randy Shannon has been on the phones contacting former UM football players to get them to help out the program. The players have opened their wallets in response.

Players now have the opportunity to make a donation strictly for the UM program as opposed to the general athletic program. This change should be more encouraging for players to want to give back.

Since December, the university has raised $9-10 million according to Dee.

There is some talk about building a basketball practice facility, but plans will not be in place until the finances are set up. They don't want to get in another situation like they are with the baseball stadium.

Dee would like to build a new academic center and training facility.

"We have a lot of work to do," Dee said.

Christopher Stock can be reached at stock@canestime.com

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