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UC Davis AD Warzecka to retire in June
UC Davis announced Tuesday that Director of Athletics Greg Warzecka will retire from the university on June 30 after 16 years in the post.
Warzecka, 60, oversaw the athletic department’s transformation from a nonscholarship NCAA Division II athletics program to a Div. I program with close to a $20 million annual budget.
Nona Richardson will serve as interim director of athletics beginning July 1 while a nationwide search is conducted for Warzecka’s successor. Richardson currently serves as executive senior associate athletics director and senior woman administrator.
“After serving the university for 16 years as athletics director and having been in college athletics for 34 years, I feel the time is right,” Warzecka said in a statement. “The last 16 years have been a very rewarding experience and I feel good about the progress the intercollegiate athletics program has made.
“While there have been many challenges, we’ve also enjoyed tremendous success, and I’m grateful for the opportunity to have been part of it,” he added. “I’m excited for the future of UC Davis Athletics and I look forward to following the Aggies for many years to come.”
Warzecka joined UC Davis in 1995 and has overseen two conference affiliation changes, more than $40 million in facility expansions and renovations, and an athletics grant-in-aid budget which currently awards more than $6 million per year.
Warzecka also led UC Davis from the Div. II level where it garnered six
Directors’ Cups in eight years as the most successful athletics program in the country, to a new life at Div. I, where in the Big West Conference.
“Greg’s leadership in Intercollegiate Athletics has led to many achievements and distinctions,” said Chancellor Linda P.B. Katehi. “His commitment to UC Davis has been extraordinary and has built a solid foundation for an exciting future in athletics.”
Progress has been constant for the Intercollegiate Athletics program under Warzecka’s leadership. He quickly set that course by engaging discussion at the university regarding the addition of athletics grants-in-aid, which had never been offered at UC Davis.
UC Davis began offering modest grants in 1998, the same year it moved from the Northern California Athletic Conference to the California Collegiate Athletic Association.
After the Facilities and Campus Enhancement Initiative was passed by undergraduate students in 1999, Warzecka oversaw more than $40 million in facility construction and renovations, as well as additional fundraising.
The construction and renovations included completion of the Schaal Aquatics Center which hosted the 2006 NCAA Collegiate Women’s Water Polo Championship, and building of Aggie Stadium, the nearly 11,000-seat home of the Aggie football, women’s lacrosse and field hockey programs, which opened in 2007.
Fundraising for the Marya Welch Tennis Center, which features six championship courts and other amenities, also occurred during his tenure; the center opened in 2005.
The addition of women’s golf in 2005, and the re-introduction of women’s field hockey in 2009, helped highlight a continuing commitment by UC Davis to Title IX during his service. Warzecka also oversaw the addition of women’s rowing, lacrosse and water polo which began competition during the 1996-97 athletics year.
Warzecka’s defining accomplishment as athletics director, however, began in 2003 when students passed the Campus Expansion Initiative that provided funding to support a move to Div. I. By that time, Warzecka and the university had already secured an invitation to join the Big West Conference. The campus later launched a tireless four-year reclassification to its new status.
UC Davis has achieved several successes during its short tenure in the Big West including 11 regular-season or tournament titles. Several teams have also been represented at the NCAA Championships, notably men’s soccer, baseball and women’s golf which earned at-large bids in the Aggies’ first year at the Div. I level. Women’s basketball provided one of the many highlights this year, earning its first-ever bid to the NCAA Tournament in March. Women’s golf will be participating in the NCAA Finals next week.
Recently, Warzecka helped lead the UC Davis football program into the Big Sky Conference, considered one of the elite Football Championship Subdivision conferences. The Aggies’ membership in the Big Sky will begin in 2012.
Individual distinction for Warzecka came in 2001-02 when he was named the A.D. of the Year for the Div. II West Region by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics.
Prior to coming to UC Davis, Warzecka served as the director of athletics at the University of Redlands, as the men’s A.D. at the University of Chicago, and as assistant baseball coach at his alma mater, UC Berkeley. Furthermore, he was the head coach at San Francisco State and the University of Chicago.
He earned his Bachelor of Arts degree in physical education from UC Berkeley in 1975 and his Master of Science with an emphasis in athletic administration from Cal State Hayward in 1983.
By Woodland Daily Democrat sports staff