Moos Leaving Not Tied to Arena Project

Eugene, Ore. – University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer and Athletic Director Bill Moos addressed media today regarding Moos' departure from the head job in the Athletic Department. Frohnmayer and Moos indicated that the timing of the departure was consistent with Moos' long-term goals and what would be necessary for success over the next decade within the Athletic Department.

"In recent months, Bill Moos and I have had a series of conversations, initiated by Bill, about the future and direction of the University of Oregon, its athletic program and Bill's both professional and personal goals," announced Frohnmayer. "Bill and I agree it was time to reflect on the progress and look closely at what it would require for success over the next decade. Together we reached the decision we announce formally today, that now is the appropriate time to make a change in leadership."

Moos revealed that he plans to return to his roots by going back to the Spokane (Wash.) area and starting a cattle ranching operation. He also mentioned he would be involved in consulting and will do some writing. Part of the reason for leaving was that he wanted to spend some time doing things like watching his son play football. His son Bo, is an offensive line prospect that could be playing college football somewhere next season and Moos wants to be able to do that.

The major item currently on the agenda for the athletic department is building a new basketball arena. Costs for the arena including purchasing the land necessary for the structure could exceed $180 million. Frohnmayer indicated that $100 million would be sought from private funding.

"We wanted to match our expectations with our capacity to raise funds, and we're not there." cited Frohnmayer. "I clearly think that we need a successor to McArthur Court, as beloved as it is, but it remains a very high priority on the University's capital list for the last many years now.

The University President indicated "there is interest without engagement" from private donors in funding the arena project. Frohnmayer indicated Moos' departure had nothing to do with the ability of funding the arena project.

"It will depend on the donor's interest," said Frohnmayer of the funding by private sources. "Not who is president or athletic director."

Moos did not feel any pressure on him to leave because of the arena except for the fact that there is not a date when the project might be completed. A project the size of the arena construction is a major endeavor and about the only thing certain is that it would take about three years to complete once the green light is given to start construction.

"I felt if started it I wanted to be here when it finished and the start date kept eluding us," admitted Moos of the arena project. "It started to get far enough out there that the finish date was infringing on other things I wanted to be doing."

Frohnmayer indicated that Moos is contractually obliged to stay until March 31, 2007, but could conceivably stay longer if no successor is found for the Athletic Director's post. A search for a successor will soon commence and Frohnmayer said he has no one in mind and even if he did he would not want to prejudice the process by naming a favorite.

Rumors on eDuck.com's message boards indicate that Mike Bellotti would be made interim Athletic Director. So in the event that a new athletic director is not found by March 31st would an interim AD be named?

"Bill has agreed to stay on for some period of time and that's very reassuring because we'll have the same continuity of leadership, the same family atmosphere in the department that has been so widely noted both internally and externally," responded Frohnmayer to the question. "We don't want to lose that. I don't think we will with Bill being able to fulfill the role."

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