Oct. 4, 2005
Stanford, Calif. - Following are excerpts from the comments of Ted Leland and Stanford University President John Hennessy at a Tuesday press conference announcing that Leland will leave his post as the Director of Athletics at Stanford on January 1, 2006, after over 14 years on the job. Leland has accepted a position as the Vice President for University Advancement at the University of the Pacific.
STANFORD UNIVERSITY DIRECTOR OF ATHHLETICS TED LELAND
On his job at Stanford
"It's been a privilege to be the Athletic Director at Stanford. I see it as a community trust, being the Athletic Director here. It's been fun to work with some incredible coaches and athletes. I am indebted to our great athletic department staff, to thousands of alumni who supported this program in the right way. We share the institutional values. I am indebted to our faculty, and it's clear that Stanford Athletics has a different relationship with our athletes and faculty. Some athletic departments see their faculty athletic representatives as the enemy; I have seen them as confidants and friends. I have never made a big decision in this department without talking with the faculty first."
On his new position at the University of the Pacific
"Pacific is a great opportunity for me. It's what we consider our hometown; my wife grew up there. The opportunity to be a Vice President at a great school like the University of the Pacific is fabulous. I believe in higher education. It's a field I love, educating young people. I love the research and the discipline that goes on within our academic world. I can now support that in a very different role. I have the opportunity to repot myself, and all of us look for that sometime."
On what factored into his decision
"All eight males in my family beside myself were all military officers and got to a point in their careers and repotted themselves. My family has had a tradition of second careers. This is a chance for me to begin a second career. This is a good time for Stanford to have new leadership. There is an informal tradition at Stanford for deans, presidents and provosts to tend not to serve for more than 10 years. We do that as a challenge and as a public service, to clear the way for someone else. If there are any ideas or talent that I haven't been able to bring to the task in Stanford Athletics, where is it? It's better for someone else to come in with their own new energy and bring us from the level where we are to the next."
On his future plans
"I want to get out of the way for new generations. Athletics is a young person's game. We need some fresh leadership here in Stanford Athletics. I'll stay here until January 1 as the Director of Athletics, making sure that we work with the President and Provost to fund the football stadium appropriately, that we develop a construction schedule that makes sense, and that we figure out a way to reseat the Stadium in a way that works. I've got some fun tasks to take on."
On the timeline for the new position at Pacific
"Nine months ago I was asked to be on the board of regents at Pacific. Two weeks ago I was asked if I would be interested in the position. They had an ongoing search, and I wanted them to talk to me when they were done with the search. If they were still interested I would talk to them, and that's what happened. I was offered the job yesterday afternoon and decided late last night that this was the right thing for me to do."
On what he will remember about Stanford Athletics
"I can look at each and every coach in the face and remember a great contest that I was privileged to watch that they participated in."
On the difficulty of his decision
"It was difficult. I owe so much to this place and to the people here. It was difficult to say I can't stay. I think it makes sense in the long run."
On what he was not able to accomplish in 15 years on the job
"Stanford tends to look for the next thing despite what has been accomplished. We need to get the football stadium done correctly. We need to assure the community that we're serious about football. We have the leadership now, and we're headed in the right direction. Consistency in football is one of the things we're missing. It's hard on everyone, including the students, coaches and even the Athletic Director."
On the opportunity at Pacific
"I can't imagine having taken another job in sports. I believe so much in Stanford. I have no interest in professional athletics. That shut out any athletic endeavor for me. This was what had to happen - my wife's hometown, a university I have two degrees from and care a lot about. I believe I can help the University of Pacific and the president to accomplish their vision."
"At Stanford, people have to understand the balance of athletics and academics. You can't change the culture, but you have to maximize it. The culture is asking students to be great athletes and excellent scholars at the same time. We can't cut corners and be successful. Whoever we hire will have to have a variety of skills, balancing budgets, marketing, (but) the core skill required is understanding the values of this place. You have to absorb the culture here and use it to be successful."
On his highlights at Stanford
"My highlights are private and have to do with seeing an individual student achieve, to see a team overachieve. I love the trophies and the championships, but that's not what drives me. What drives me is seeing growth in people. That's my moment, that's really our job. It's those moments that mean a lot to me."
"I think, as you all know, after almost 15 years of leading Stanford Athletics, Dr. Ted Leland will moving to a new position as Vice President at the University of the Pacific. We are extremely proud of the record of Stanford Athletics under Ted's leadership and the wonderful job that our student-athletes and coaches have done. Of course, we are proud of the fact that for [eleven] years in a row, we have won the Directors' Cup as the most successful program. But perhaps even more than that, we're proud of the tremendous academic accomplishments of our students and the wonderful standards that Ted has set for how to operate an athletic department that not only wins on the field, but wins in the classroom and wins for our students. Going forward, that's something that has become a hallmark of Stanford Athletics and something we certainly want to continue as our bedrock foundation. We are intensely grateful for what Ted has done over this nearly 15-year period, which as I go around the country and talk to other university presidents, they point to as the model for collegiate athletic programs. We've done a wonderful job together, and I think we'll continue with that wonderful 15-year foundation."
On the search process for Leland's successor
"We will start the search process immediately. Stanford has a tradition that the Director of Athletics reports to the Provost - the academic chief officer of the university, unlike many other institutions. I am going to ask the Provost to chair the search committee, and of course, we will have representation from the student body, as well as from the athletic department. We have also traditionally included some of our alumni. We haven't thought about the details, given the timing, but that's what I would expect to happen. We would hope to have someone in place for Ted's departure in January."
On where the search will look for candidates
"I think we will always look both places [externally and internally]. Traditionally, we have done open searches looking for the best available person we can find."
On whether there is a need for new energy at Stanford as Leland indicated in his comments
"He still looks like he has enough energy to me. The Provost and I immediately said, `five more years, Ted.' We have tremendous respect for what Ted has accomplished here, and that was certainly our goal. At the same time, when somebody says that it's really time, and looks you in the eye and says it's time for a change for me personally, I think you have to accept that decision. We accept it and wish Ted the very best."
On the qualities Dr. Leland brought to the job that have helped him be successful at Stanford
"I think first and foremost, an emphasis on student-athletes as students and members of our student body who are going to be successful. Upholding the values of the program, when you walk into the buildings and you know that our athletics program is about seeing our student-athletes succeed as total individuals."
On whether Stanford will continue to emphasize non-revenue sports as it did under Leland
"Absolutely. We're trying to offer our students as broad a palette of athletic opportunities that we possibly can. We are firm believers in Title IX and in offering opportunities for our young women as well as our young men, so I think we will certainly continue that. Certainly for those of us who get the opportunity not only to go to football or basketball, but to go to synchronized swimming or a tennis match or an event that is outside of the norm, I think that is a wonderful opportunity."