Wednesday, February 9
Goss had rocky 29 months in Ann Arbor
 
Associated Press

 ANN ARBOR, Mich. -- Michigan athletics director Tom Goss ended a rocky 2½-year reign by resigning Tuesday, effective at the end of March.

"It has not been easy, but the positive outweighs the negatives," Goss said at a news conference.

Tom Goss
Tom Goss resigned after a turbulent 29-month tenure as Michigan's athletics director.

"I believe that while it is time for me to step aside, a course has been defined to lead this department to great accomplishments."

University president Lee Bollinger accepted the resignation.

"I want to express my admiration and gratitude for the many qualities Tom has brought to this athletic department," Bollinger said. "Tom has a deep and emotional connection to the university rooted in his days here as a student-athlete."

A source close to the situation, speaking on condition of anonymity, said Bollinger had asked Goss to resign. The source said Goss considered fighting the request, but didn't.

"He didn't want to go to court," the source said.

Bollinger said the reasons for Goss' resignation is far too complex for any kind of simple statement.

Earlier reports had said that Goss, 53, would likely be fired if he didn't resign. Just last week, Goss rejected as rumors reports that his resignation was imminent.

Goss was the university's ninth athletics director -- the fourth in 10 years -- and the first black to hold the job.

The Detroit News and The Ann Arbor News reported in Tuesday's editions that Goss' departure comes after he angered Bollinger by not telling him of an NCAA probe of the eligibility of Wolverines freshman basketball player Jamal Crawford. Bollinger refused to comment on those reports Tuesday.

The NCAA last week suspended Crawford, the team's leading scorer, for six games for his living arrangements while in high school.

The papers reported that Bollinger learned of the Crawford investigation on television while watching a basketball game between the Wolverines and in-state rival Michigan State while he was in Washington D.C.

Tues, February 8
Athletics director Tom Goss' resignation Tuesday leaves Michigan basketball coach Brian Ellerbe and his staff without their biggest supporter. What that means is still unknown.

One thing is certain, Ellerbe has been given little respect or chance to succeed by other coaches who covet the job and the local media who have seemed eager to attack Ellerbe after every move. Ellerbe also didn't win over any fans by banning media from talking to players after Jamal Crawford was suspended.

But a perception still exists that Ellerbe shouldn't have gotten the job after Steve Fisher was pushed out three years ago. Ellerbe was a former coach at Loyola, Md., earning a 34-47 record in three years. But in Ellerbe's defense, he won the Big Ten tournament in his first season in 1997-98, proving that he could coach.

When given the chance to recruit, he signed the most important player in Michigan when he landed Ann Arbor, Mich., product LaVell Blanchard. Ellerbe also nabbed top guards Kevin Gaines and Crawford, the latter giving him off-court grief but still was a productive player.

Ellerbe deserves the time to watch his first class get to its sophomore season. Unfortunately, no one around Michigan basketball has ever been afforded the luxury of going through a rebuilding process. The Michigan coaching staff doesn't feel like it has any support in the area. Now that Goss is gone, but no one knows if the next athletics director will have as friendly a face.

Within hours, the Detroit paper said, Bollinger formed a crisis team that included Provost Nancy Cantor, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Robert Kasdin and Lisa Tedesco, a university vice president whose job is to alert Bollinger and the regents to any impending negative publicity.

Their efforts quickly focused on Goss' handling of the Crawford case, according to the Detroit paper. After two days of fact-checking, they recommended Thursday that Bollinger ask Goss to resign.

Don Canham, who held Goss' job for two decades, was saddened by the news.

"I'm sick about it," Canham said. "He was an outstanding individual, a great guy. Not to have at least five years (on the job) is not the way Michigan operates."

Goss has also been criticized by some of the university's regents for a budget deficit last year. He was placed under close scrutiny by the administration after a $2.8 million budget deficit was revealed last June, sources have said.

Last weekend, The Ann Arbor News reported sources as saying Bollinger would likely not pick a permanent replacement until near the end of the school year in May and that the next athletics director would not necessarily have strong ties to the university.

When hired at Michigan to succeed Joe Roberson, who retired, Goss became the Big Ten Conference's highest-paid athletics director with his initial salary of $220,000. In April 1998, Bollinger boosted Goss' to $275,000 and paid him an extra, one-time payment of $30,000.

Goss is a 1968 Michigan graduate who played football for the Wolverines. He was an executive in private business, most recently for PIA Merchandising Corp. in California, when Bollinger hired him.

 


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 Tom Goss wants to thanks the Michigan athletic supporters.
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