President Gordon Gee plans to move swiftly to name a new athletic director and in the short-term has appointed Rob Alsop, vice president for strategic initiatives, as the interim director of athletics.
The University has retained outside legal counsel and the search firm Turnkey ZRG to assist in hiring a new athletic director with the goal of having a new director in place within three to four weeks.
“I deeply appreciate Shane’s leadership over the past eight years and I wish him well,” Gee said. “But with the ever-changing landscape of intercollegiate athletics, I believe this is an opportunity to bring a fresh perspective to our program.”
During Lyons’ tenure at WVU, Athletics:
· opened a new $10 million Athletic Performance Center for Olympic Sports;
· completed extensive renovations to the Milan Puskar Center, Milan Puskar Stadium and Coliseum;
· finalized the $45 million Mylan Park Track and Aquatic Center;
· oversaw the completion of Monongalia County Ballpark;
· turned in the highest department GPA and APR scores in school history, including department high 361 student-athletes on the Big 12 Honor Roll last year; and
· initiated the Time2Climb campaign to increase MAC donors.
Alsop, who will assume the interim athletic director duties immediately, served on WVU’s Board of Governors in 2013 before joining the University the next year as vice president for legal and governmental affairs and entrepreneurial engagement. He was named vice president for strategic initiatives in 2017. A two-time graduate of WVU, including the College of Law, Alsop oversees areas such as auxiliary and business services, corporate and government relations, dining services, talent and culture, and information technology services.
He also has been involved in the major planning for Athletics capital projects including renovations to the Milan Puskar Center and Mylan Park Track and Aquatic Center, navigating through the COVID-19 pandemic and collaborating on key decisions relating to Athletics’ major partners such as Learfield.
“I am confident that Rob will lead and assist our coaches, student-athletes and staff during this turning point,” Gee said. “I also know that he will lay the pathways necessary for a new athletic director to make a seamless transition into the role.”
Though Lyons departure indicates a shift, Gee added no changes to the football program will be made in the coming weeks.
“We are supporting Coach Neal Brown and our team as we complete our season over the next few weeks,” Gee said. “We are aware there are some deficiencies, but we have not given up on the coach and the team, and they have not given up on each other. The evaluation of the football program will be the first task of our new athletic director and no changes will be made until that review has been completed.”
Interim Athletic Director Rob Alsop will address media members during a news conference today (Nov. 14) at 1 p.m. in the Football Team Room at the Milan Puskar Center. The news conference will also be streamed via WVU Sports on Facebook and Twitter.
MEDIA CONTACTS: April Kaull
Executive Director of Communications
Senior Associate Athletics Director for Communications
Department of Athletics
Call 1-855-WVU-NEWS for the latest West Virginia University news and information from WVUToday.
Follow @WVUToday on Twitter.