Eastern Illinois fires athletic director

CHAMPAIGN Ill.

Eastern Illinois University fired Athletic Director Rich McDuffie two weeks after saying it found no evidence to support a sexual harassment claim made against him.

McDuffie was fired late Monday, university President William Perry said in a brief statement on the school’s Web site.

But McDuffie, whose contract runs through 2009, will be paid his $137,400 salary for the next year, school spokeswoman Vicki Shaw-Woodard said.

Perry did not explain why McDuffie was fired, saying in a separate statement only that “it was time for a change in leadership at the department of athletics.” He said McDuffie could be assigned special projects to do from home over the next year.

A message left by The Associated Press at Perry’s office Tuesday morning was not immediately returned.

No home telephone listing was found for McDuffie, who has been athletic director for 11 years. The Mattoon Journal-Gazette reported that he declined comment when reached Monday.

Two weeks ago, the university said it had investigated a sexual harassment claim against McDuffie but found no evidence to support it.

Pam Collins, the school’s director of athletic development, wrote in a letter to a campus booster group that she had submitted a formal complaint in April accusing McDuffie of sexually harassing her in 2002. She claimed that the investigation hadn’t been properly conducted.

After she resigned in 2005, Eastern Illinois softball coach Lloydene Searle filed a complaint accusing McDuffie of sexual harassment. The status of that complaint wasn’t immediately clear Tuesday, Shaw-Woodard said.

Dan Nadler, Eastern Illinois’ vice president for student affairs, will oversee athletics until an interim director is hired, Shaw-Woodard said. The search for a new director will begin this fall.

On the Net:

Mattoon Journal-Gazette, http://www.jg-tc.com/

– Associated Press



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