Birdwell Resigns as Athletic Director

Oklahoma State University's Harry Birdwell announced today he would step down at the end of this year as athletic director, a post he has held for three years. "This was a difficult decision, but after much thought and prayer, my wife Cindy and I have decided it is the right decision for us," Birdwell said. "I love OSU and I am proud of what we have accomplished. However, my family and I believe it is time to pursue other dreams and opportunities for personal growth."

Birdwell said, "For the remainder of my service at OSU, I will spend my energies on completing the stadium fundraising project and doing everything I can to make sure OSU's athletics can compete at a high level.

"During the past 16 years of my career," Birdwell continued, "I have had the wonderful opportunity to help shape my alma mater. In particular, I will cherish the relationships with and the achievements of our student-athletes, coaches and staff."

Once he steps down as AD at the end of this year (Dec. 31), Birdwell will continue as a consultant for the athletic department for another six months, assisting with fundraising for the football stadium and other athletic projects.

"Harry has done a superb job as athletic director," said OSU System CEO and President David Schmidly. "We appreciate his hard work and enthusiasm. Harry helped raise the profile of our athletic program, particularly as it relates to facilities and our performance on the field. Harry's contributions serve as a solid foundation for future developments with our athletic program."

Schmidly said, "We appreciate his willingness to remain in his position through the end of the year. He will provide valuable guidance and help on fundraising for the next 12 months."

Schmidly said the university would evaluate its needs and determine its next steps for hiring a new athletic director at the appropriate time. The fact Birdwell will remain in his position for more than six months as athletic director and then has agreed to serve as a consultant means OSU has ample time to address the matter.

"We are in no hurry and no immediate action is necessary because of the considerate way in which Harry has let us know of his desires," Schmidly said. "Our athletic department operations will continue to function under Harry's direction and everyone will continue to serve in their current positions."

Birdwell was a successful business executive and investment banker before returning to his alma mater in 1989 as vice president of university relations. He was named vice president of business and external relations in July 1995, a position he held until he became AD on July 1, 2002.

A native of Fletcher, Okla., Birdwell graduated from OSU in 1972 with a degree in radio and television news and public affairs. He was student body president and OSU's Rhodes Scholar nominee in 1971.

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