Brennan resigns as Loyola AD Moves to San Jose, ending 4 years here

September 13, 1990|By John W. Stewart

Thomas Brennan, athletic director at Loyola College for four years, has resigned to accept a similar position at San Jose (Calif.) State University.

Gail Fullerton, San Jose State president, will introduce Brennan at a news conference tomorrow. Brennan was the final choice from a group of three; the runner-ups were Rick Greenspan, an associate athletic director at the University of California in Berkeley, and Robert Bockrath, senior associate athletic director at the University of Arizona.

At San Jose State, Brennan, 38, succeeds Randy Hoffman, a former associate athletic director at the University of Maryland, who resigned in June to become athletic director at Idaho State University.

James Smith, 27, an assistant athletic director since January, has been named Loyola's interim athletic director. Brennan is expected to begin his new position the first week in October.

"After four years, if you are going to advance, you have to look at the larger Division I programs -- programs with major-college football," Brennan said yesterday. "One thing at San Jose State, the revenue posture of the football team has to improve.

"It won't be easy, but I look at it as a real challenge. I believe the position is right for me and I'm right for it. It's a good fit."

In making the announcement, Dr. Fullerton said: "Dr. Brennan has the breadth and depth of experience that we have been looking for, and I am pleased to have him joining SJSU. He has an impressive record in building a Division I program, has notable marketing skills and holds impeccable academic credentials."

If recent years are an indication, it certainly does figure to be a challenge. Seven people, including two appointed on an interim basis, have held the position since 1978.

Reached by telephone at his office in Pocatello, Idaho, Hoffman said: "Historically, it's a difficult situation. It's a downtown school and the media considers it a stepchild, not so much to Cal and Stanford, but to the area's professional teams.

"When we went in three years ago, the graduate rates were horrendous for the whole program, the sports were under-funded, there was a too-active boosters group and there wasn't a whole lot of control. We added an academic support program and made contacts with several major corporations. I hope it will be easier for the new man."

There also was the controversial release of head football coach Claude Gilbert, an alumnus, and now Brennan goes into a program with solid head coaches in the two most visible sports. Terry Shea is the new football coach, and Stan Morrison returns as the basketball coach.

The two stages of Brennan's career were obvious strong points in his favor. He was an assistant and later an associate athletic director at the University of New Mexico from 1980-86, and, at Loyola, he improved the school's Division I program while putting increased emphasis on the marketing, promotions and fund-raising aspects of the athletic department.

At New Mexico, he was responsible for coordinating activities with outside agencies and boosting revenue-producing programs.

Brennan's strengths at Loyola were in the same fields. Loyola was the first Baltimore-area college to have its basketball games broadcast on a commercial radio station, and an athletic support group grew to about 400 members, who raised nearly $400,000 last year. In addition, Brennan played an important role in Loyola's move from the Northeast Conference to the more visible Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference last year.

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