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USF's Griffin withdraws from Iowa State's AD hunt

By ANTONYA ENGLISH and SHARON GINN

© St. Petersburg Times, published November 1, 2000


TAMPA -- University of South Florida athletic director Paul Griffin, who was one of three finalists for the athletic director's job at Iowa State, withdrew his name from consideration Monday. His decision to remain at USF came one day before Iowa State officials were scheduled to name a new athletic director. Griffin said he informed ISU officials of his decision late Monday afternoon. He interviewed for the job Oct. 20.

At the time, Griffin said his decision to seek the position had nothing to do with problems in the women's basketball program, which include six lawsuits filed during the past three months and the suspension of coach Jerry Ann Winters for retaliation against a former player. The turmoil did not factor into his decision to stay, he said.

"I've expressed the decision to get in didn't have anything to do with it, so it would be inconsistent to say it had anything to do with getting out," Griffin said.

Griffin said he had several positive reasons to remain at USF.

"No. 1, as I've gotten to know what the situation is (at Iowa State) ... I think I can make more significant, positive contributions to the University of South Florida," Griffin said. "(Also) I've been very appreciative of the fact that president (Judy) Genshaft has consistently urged me to stay. With her ... expression of support, plus my belief that there are a lot of things here to be accomplished, I chose not to go to Ames."

Genshaft said through a spokesman Tuesday afternoon she is pleased with Griffin's decision.

"I'm delighted that he's going to stay," Genshaft said. "He basically has built the athletic program from the ground up to be a real powerhouse and a leader in the Conference USA."

Murray Blackwelder, vice president for external affairs at ISU, could not be reached for comment.

Griffin, 53, has been athletic director at USF for 15 years and is chairman of the NCAA's football certification committee, which certifies all preseason and post-season games. He has been in charge of USF's athletic department under two-thirds of the school's presidents.

"I think people need to realize that I'm the longest tenured Division I athletic director in the state," Griffin said. "I would think that people would understand and appreciate my depth of commitment to the university."

Bruce Van De Velde, a senior associate athletic director at the University of Oklahoma, will be hired as athletic director at Iowa State, according to published reports in Ames.

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