Oregon State athletic director Dutch Baughman is being forced to leave his job and will be gone by the start of football season, the Eugene Register-Guard reported Friday.
Baughman, athletic director at the Corvallis school for seven years, said he knew nothing of his impending dismissal.
“I’d like to know if that’s happening,” Baughman said. “This is all news to me.”
The newspaper quoted unidentified sources at the university and school boosters as saying they expected the announcement within the next week and certainly by the start of football season.
But Baughman said that if university president Paul Risser “has made some decision, I’m not aware of it.”
Risser was unavailable for comment.
“Dutch Baughman is our athletic director and that kind of speculation serves nobody’s purpose,” university spokesman Bob Bruce said Friday. He declined to comment further.
The newspaper quoted sources as saying disagreements between Baughman and prominent boosters over fund-raising issues had intensified over the summer and that several had asked Risser to fire Baughman.
Baughman also has been criticized for the failure of Mike Riley to sign a contract as football coach eight months after his hiring was announced.
Riley’s refusal to sign involves verbal promises he said were made by Baughman that weren’t included in the contract subsequently reviewed by Riley’s attorney.
“You’d have to discuss that with the university’s legal counsel,” Baughman said. “When attorneys become involved, I notify our legal counsel. That’s what I did.”
As athletic director, Baughman has hired at least one head coach for every sport. He also was credited with bringing the department’s budget into the black despite a lack of success in the two major sports, football and men’s basketball.
Baughman, 48, is a 1971 graduate of Ohio State, where he received his masters degree in athletic administration in 1976. He also worked at Northwestern, Furman, Virginia Tech, the Southwest Conference and as a cattle ranch manager before being hired by Oregon State as an associate athletic director in 1989. He was promoted the following year.
He is in the final year of a contract that pays him about $90,000 annually. The Register-Guard said sources indicated Baughman would be paid for the 11 months remaining on the pact.
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