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SBU athletic director Jim Fiore asked to leave

Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore has been relieved of his duties. File photo

November 21, 2013 | 01:45 PM
On Tuesday, Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore, who helped put Stony Brook athletics on the map with national recognition of its teams, and oversaw the program during major renovations and its increasingly successful status, was relieved of his duties.

The move was announced in an email addressed to the campus community from university president Dr. Samuel L. Stanley, which read: "I am writing to inform you that Jim Fiore is leaving Stony Brook University. Senior Associate Athletic Director, Donna Woodruff will serve as interim athletic director as we commence a national search to identify a new athletic director."

The message is also displayed on the Stony Brook Athletics website, where his biography was already removed.

The university declined to comment on why the decision was made.

Lauren Sheprow, Stony Brook's media relations officer, responded in an email stating, "It is university policy not to comment on personnel matters."

Fiore, a Long Beach native, became one of the youngest people to hold the title of director of athletics at the NCAA Division I level when he began his duties at SBU on his birthday, Aug. 13, 2003. He was the ninth person to hold the position at the school.

Prior to working at Stony Brook, he was a senior associate of athletics at Princeton University, and held administrative positions at Fordham University and Dartmouth College.

Under Fiore, the program underwent several expansions of its athletic facilities, including a $10 million renovation of the university's pool; an upgrade of the Joe Nathan baseball field thanks to a $500,00 gift made by ex-Texas Rangers relief pitcher and former SBU baseball player Joe Nathan; the opening of the Dubin Family Athletic Performance Center after alumnus Glenn Dubin made a $4.3 million donation; and the $21.1 renovation of the Stony Brook Arena.

Fiore's administration also oversaw the athletic program's success that included a football team that won a Big South title in 2011 and shared the title with other teams in 2009, 2010 and 2012; went to the Football Championship Subdivision playoffs in 2011-12 and also led the football team's move to the more prestigious Colonial Athletic Association. He also oversaw a basketball team that won three regular-season American East titles and earned three National Invitation Tournament bids in the last four years, and a baseball team that reached the College World Series in 2012.

According to Michael Conte, president of PR firm Syntax, representing Fiore, the athletic director will be paid for his contractual salary for the next 31 months through June 30, 2016, representing nearly $800,000.

Conte also added that Fiore was not consulted about the decision, said that Fiore was informed of the decision late Tuesday afternoon, and said in an email, "Jim was informed that the university is moving in a new direction for leadership. Nothing more."

"It has been communicated to me that the university desires to move in a different direction with regard to the leadership of the athletic program, and as a result, has bought out my contract," Fiore said in a statement. "I have had nearly 11 wonderful years at Stony Brook and I am incredibly proud for all of the experiences I have had in building the university and our emerging Division 1 program."

Conte also said in the email that Fiore is grateful for his experiences and is proud of his accomplishments.

"He is certainly excited about the next chapter of his professional career and committed to bringing his charisma, enthusiasm and expertise to the next level," Conte said.

In his statement, Fiore also noted building upon the Seawolves brands, including modernizing the facilities, personalizing the recruiting process, and opening the eyes of prospective student-athlete to see Stony brook as an enviable destination.

"Though too numerous to identify by name, I am thankful to my coaches, staff, student-athletes, athletic boosters, university colleagues, local community and businesses, alumni, elected officials and the broader Suffolk County community, which has made this such an incredible stop on my professional and personal journey for me and my family," the statement continued. "I wish the university and Seawolves nation the greatest success in the future."

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