San Jose State University announced on Thursday that athletic director Gene Bleymaier has stepped down to become special advisor to president Mary Papazian. Deputy athletic director Marie Tuite will take over in the interim, while San Jose State conducts a national search for a long-term replacement.
As special advisor, Bleymaier carries "responsibility for ensuring momentum and progress on development plans for our athletics facilities," says the press release.
"I am looking forward to this opportunity to focus fully on our South Campus master plan, which is critical to the future success of our athletics programs," said Bleymaier.
Hired by then-president Mohammad Qayoumi, Bleymaier became athletic director at San Jose State in 2012, after a nearly three-decade stint as athletic director at Boise State from 1982 to 2011. Signed to a five-year contract, Bleymaier never got an extension from Qayoumi or either of his successors, Susan Martin or Mary Papazian. In January 2017, Jon Wilner of The Mercury News reported: "...sources have indicated there’s a strong likelihood that Bleymaier’s contract won’t be extended."
During his five years as athletic director, Bleymaier hired new head coaches in multiple sports, most prominently for football, men's basketball, women's basketball, and baseball. The football program won two bowl games, the 2012 Military Bowl and 2015 Cure Bowl. Softball won the 2013 WAC Tournament, and women's soccer won the MW Tournament in 2015.
However, Bleymaier fired two of his initial hires, football coach Ron Caragher and baseball coach Dave Nakama, in 2016. Neither coach produced a winning season in their four-year tenures.
In 2013, San Jose State moved from the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) to Mountain West Conference (MW).
Under Bleymaier's watch, San Jose State received approval from the Cal State Board of Trustees for a proposed, privately funded North End Zone project at Spartan Stadium (now CEFCU Stadium) in 2013. While fundraising for that project has yet to be completed, the first phase of South Campus renovations has been completed, including a new golf practice facility. Bleymaier also won an $8.7 million, 15-year naming rights deal from CEFCU for Spartan Stadium.
"[I]f [the San Jose State] Spartans want a thriving athletic dept in 10-20 yrs, they must upgrade South Campus," tweeted Wilner.
In academics, San Jose State athletics collectively earned an Academic Progress Rate score of 976 in 2015, the highest in program history.
A deputy athletic director since 2010, Tuite enters her second stint as interim athletic director, having previously served in that role in the spring of 2012 after Tom Bowen resigned to take the job at Memphis.