University of Maine at Presque Isle dean of students Christine Corsello has assumed leadership of the university’s athletics department and will undertake the duties of athletic director, the school announced in a press release Wednesday.
The reassignment of administrative duties in the UMPI athletic department is part of campus efforts to balance the budget for the 2010-2011 fiscal year, according to the release.
As a result, Bill Casavant’s position as athletic director was cut.
“This very difficult budget year forced us to review all areas of the campus and to make some painful but necessary cuts,” President Don Zillman said. “These changes in athletics came after months of talks with athletics department leadership and an in-depth review of all available options. This was the decision we came to that allowed us to preserve all of our sports teams and coaching positions.”
Corsello has 17 years of experience in directing athletics programs while serving as the top officer for student affairs. She has overseen athletics departments while serving as dean of students at two other institutions — the Massachusetts College of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and Fitchburg State College in Massachusetts.
“When Chris Corsello came to UMPI in 2007, one of her major responsibilities was to be the direct supervisor of all athletics programs with the objective of revitalizing UMPI athletics. She has done an excellent job of leading this effort — setting a vision, appointing Bill Casavant as athletics director in 2008, and working with him during the last two years to rebuild athletics,” Zillman said.
“The university would have liked to see athletics continue in this way under Bill’s direction and Chris’ supervision, but budget constraints did not allow for that. We appreciate Chris taking on these duties during these difficult times and look forward to the strong leadership we know she will provide in athletics.”
UMaine athletes’ GPA 3.09
The University of Maine was one of seven schools to post a 3.00 grade point average or better in the 2009-10 America East Academic Cup, announced Wednesday by the America East Conference.
The Academic Cup, established by the America East board of directors in 1995, is presented to the institution whose student-athletes post the highest grade point averages during that academic year.
Vermont won the 2009-10 Academic Cup with a record-setting 3.19 GPA. The six other schools to post a 3.00 grade point average or higher were New Hampshire (3.16), Binghamton University (3.11), Maine (3.09), Boston University (3.09), Hartford (3.06) and Stony Brook (3.03).
America East also honored all teams with the highest GPA in their respective sports. The Maine women’s swimming and diving team finished with a 3.42 team grade point average to earn the distinction.
Sixty-five percent of the league’s teams (97 of 145) had GPAs of 3.0 or better. In addition, the league’s nearly 3,200 student-athletes compiled a 3.05 cumulative average during the 2009-10 season.
The Black Bears have won the America East Academic Cup twice, in 2004 and a co-champion in 2007.
Summit League evaluating UND
The Summit League will begin evaluating the University of North Dakota for possible membership and could send officials for a campus visit by the end of the year.
The league had said it would not consider UND until the school resolved the dispute over its Fighting Sioux nickname, which some including the NCAA find offensive. The state Board of Higher Education has since directed UND to begin retiring the nickname.
League commissioner Tom Douple said school presidents are satisfied “that [UND] is headed in that direction.”
UND, which just completed its second season in NCAA Division I, competes in the Great West Conference in most sports. That league does not advance an automatic qualifier to postseason tournaments.
The 10-member Summit League has automatic qualifying status and would reunite UND with former North Central Conference rivals North Dakota State, South Dakota State and South Dakota in some sports, including basketball.
“Obviously we’re pleased to be a part of the process and to be considered for membership,” athletic director Brian Faison said. “We’re looking forward to providing the Summit League with the necessary information.”
Douple said the evaluation is “a multistep process” and it is not clear when the school would begin competition if it is accepted. South Dakota, which was accepted into the league in April 2009, will begin play in the Summit in the 2011-12 school year.
“We have a whole list of profile questions we want to review … how they’re set up academically, what kind of support systems there are, fiscally how they’re structured and how they plan to attack the future,” Douple said.
The Summit League, formed in 1982 and formerly known as the Mid-Continent Conference, includes Centenary College, IPFW, IUPUI, UMKC, NDSU, SDSU, Oakland, Oral Roberts, Southern Utah and Western Illinois. South Dakota will be the 11th member.
If UND is accepted, its hockey teams would continue to compete in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association, and the football team in the Great West. The Summit League does not sponsor football, though Douple said the league is exploring the possibility.