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Hardy leaving Hampton for Arkansas-Pine Bluff
Lonza Hardy Jr. has resigned as Hampton University’s athletic director to take the same post at Arkansas-Pine Bluff.
Hardy’s resignation will be effective Sept. 6.
Hardy visited the Arkansas school last month and was introduced to university administrators, faculty and staff at a reception on June 28, but said he was not offered the job during that visit.
Hardy became HU’s athletic director in 2007 after six years at AD at Mississippi Valley State, a Southwestern Athletic Conference school like Arkansas-Pine Bluff. During his tenure at Hampton, the Pirates have won 11 Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference championships, including tournament titles in men’s and women’s basketball this past season.
Hardy, who did not immediately return a message on Wednesday, was associate commissioner of the Southwestern Athletic Conference from 1989 to 2001. He was also sports information director at two SWAC schools, Southern and Alcorn State.
“I have considered it a privilege to work at a university for the past four years that is unquestionably one of the nation’s premiere institutions of higher education,” Hardy said in a release. ” … I have learned much during my employment here and those lessons will surely make me a better professional and person as I continue to progress along my life’s journey.”
In each of Hardy’s years at HU, the athletics program captured the Mary McLeod Bethune Trophy, given to the MEAC school with the best overall women’s sports program.
In a release, Hampton president William Harvey called Hardy a “loyal and dedicated professional” who “has had a very positive effect on our athletics program. He helped guide us through NCAA re-certification, he helped us to remain a consistent championship program and he quickly became a part of the Hampton family. While we hate to see him leave, we are fully supportive of his decision and we anticipate letting our association with him continue into the future, both on a professional and personal level.”
UAPB joined the SWAC in 1997 and made its first league football championship game appearance in 2006. The women’s basketball team earned its first SWAC title and accompanying NCAA tournament bid in 2009-10.
The Golden Lions’ football team went 5-6 in 2010. The school’s men’s basketball team went 7-24 in 2010-11 and its women’s basketball team went 1-28.
UAPB chancellor Lawrence A. Davis Jr. told the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette after Hardy’s visit that hiring Hardy would be a coup for Davis’ school.
“I think it would be very significant if (we) are able to recruit such a person,” Davis said. ” … He’s at Hampton. Hampton is a more headline university than we are, as far as some people are concerned. So you question: Do they really want to leave there to come to Pine Bluff? Pine Bluff is kind of struggling.”
By Daily Press