Jim Weese

A week after announcing that Western's current athletic director will retire on Dec. 31, Western announced that Jim Weese will be filling in for the role after her retirement.

Former dean of the faculty of health sciences, Weese will assume his new role on Jan. 1, 2017. He will be in charge of facilitating the search for a new permanent athletic director as well as leading a program-wide review of athletic services at Western. 

Thérèse Quigley, the current athletic director, stated at the time of her announcement that the decision to announce her retirement was made with practicality in mind. 

"The decision to retire in January was primarily to give the university opportunity for a seamless transition in time to conduct both a review and a national search," she said, adding that she will remain available to assist the new permanent director and Weese in any capacity she can.

The University's provost and vice-president of academics, Janice Deakin, clarified in a press release what Weese's special position will entail.

"In addition to bringing interim leadership and stability to Sport and Recreation Services during the search process, Jim will also oversee some important initiatives that will draw upon his management expertise and his unique knowledge of Western’s student-athlete programming, as well as Canada’s greater interuniversity sport community."

Weese has a deep background in athletics, having supervised athletics and recreation with the faculty of health sciences at Western and human kinetics at the University of Windsor. He has a PhD in sport management from Ohio State University, and has been a university athlete and coach, as well as Windsor's athletic director from 1986 to 1991. 

"I have a real affection for the area of intercollegiate athletics and campus recreation," said Weese. 

His official title in his temporary position with Western Athletics will be special advisor to the provost with interim responsibility for Sport and Recreation Services. His main responsibility will be the broad evaluation of all athletic activity on campus.

"Typically when there are vacancies it's an ideal opportunity to do a review," Weese pointed out. "I think the review is important just to get a sense of the scope and capacity of the program." 

Weese didn't identify any specific areas of campus athletics that will be looked at, but rather explained that the program will be examined as a whole. 

He noted that many other universities have undertaken similar endeavours in times of transition, analyzing the size of their program and whether their structure is conducive to future growth and development. 

According to Weese, he will be working with the university to determine "what kind of program we should have, given the size of our institution, [and] the proud tradition of excellence that we've had in both campus recreation and Mustang athletics."

"Mustang athletics and campus recreation are both very successful enterprises," Weese added, "and we want to make sure that they are set up for long term success and sustainability." 

Weese expects to be in the temporary role for about six months, and when a permanent athletic director is found he will return to teaching a sport leadership class at Western. He has been involved with the university since 2004, and plans to continue his work both as a researcher and a professor.

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Charlie is a third year student in Media, Information and Technoculture, and is a second year sports editor for Volume 111 of the Gazette. Follow him on Twitter @charliejclarke or contact him at charlie@westerngazette.ca

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