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NCAA chief Dempsey to retire at year's end

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NCAA chief Dempsey has led with integrity

SPECIAL TO ESPN.COM

Jan. 16
Cedric Dempsey announced Tuesday that he will retire as the NCAA's president at the end of the year. Let me tell you, that is one difficult position to fill.

Cedric Dempsey
President Cedric Dempsey helped moved the NCAA through a turbulent time.
It's tough to satisfy the needs all of those involved. So many people are involved in the world of intercollegiate athletics, from the school presidents and athletic directors to the athletes themselves. Dempsey has always been a man of integrity; he has enjoyed that positive reputation throughout his time on the college scene.

Everywhere he has been -- as an athletic director at Houston, Arizona, San Diego State and Pacific and on to the NCAA -- he has done things in a special way. Dempsey has battled adversity, fighting cancer (non-Hodgkins lymphoma) during his tenure at Arizona. He is a strong man with tremendous courage.

Running the NCAA is a thankless job because you can't make everyone happy. Dempsey has always possessed a great passion and love for college athletics. He has wanted to do nothing but the best for those he served. He has cared so much for the people involved with the collegiate athletic scene.

I am sure he will remain a viable factor for the athletic community, serving as a consultant and helping out.

Think of some of the giants who have stepped down from the collegiate landscape over the years. It really saddens me, because they have been such vital forces in college athletics. Think about Gene Corrigan, the former Notre Dame athletic director who went on to become ACC commissioner, and Dave Gavitt, who had the insight and creativity to bring together the Big East. Gavitt was also a star coach for many, many years.

Those guys were architects in the world of college athletics.

There is no doubt that Cedric Dempsey will be missed. Believe me, he is one special guy who has had his heart in the right place. I wish him health, happiness and nothing but the best upon his retirement at the end of the year.

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