Steve Cottingham quits as Marquette AD

MILWAUKEE -- Marquette athletic director Steve Cottingham resigned Thursday, parting ways with a program facing scrutiny for recent legal issues.

Cottingham was named the school's interim athletic director in January 2007 and took the role on a permanent basis a year later. He oversaw a tumultuous transition after men's basketball coach Tom Crean left for Indiana, and successor Buzz Williams has kept up the program's winning ways on the court.

But Marquette recently has been criticized for the way it handled sexual assault allegations against unidentified athletes.

"Although recent events involving a few student-athletes have certainly been a disappointment to me, I leave Marquette with positive feelings and confidence in its future," Cottingham wrote in a letter to Marquette President Robert Wild.

Prosecutors decided in May not to charge the athletes involved in the alleged assaults. District Attorney John Chisholm said at the time that investigations into two separate alleged assaults were impeded because Marquette's public safety department didn't tell authorities.

Instead, it advised students of options available, including reporting the allegations to the police department.

Marquette's Dean of Students, Dr. Stephanie Quade, said at the time that the school was "not proud" of the incidents or the way they were handled. She said the school had changed protocol to notify police immediately.

"We have had meetings with Marquette University and its public safety department in order to ensure such a lapse between the reporting of a crime and its investigation never occurs again," Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn said in a statement at the time. "Marquette University has pledged to do better. We will hold them to their word."

Neither the school or law enforcement has identified the athletes.

Cottingham oversaw expansion of the school's athletic programs, including the addition of men's and women's lacrosse beginning in 2012, and a drive to boost Marquette's athletic scholarship fund.

He recently gave Williams a contract extension, fending off interest from rival schools after the Golden Eagles' surprise run to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.

Deputy athletic director Mike Broeker will be the acting athletic director pending a permanent replacement.