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May 31, 2008

Kevin White leaves Notre Dame for Duke

DURHAM, N.C. (AP) - Kevin White was hired as Duke's athletic director Saturday, leaving Notre Dame for a school with an elite basketball team and a football team that has had 13 straight losing seasons and has not been to a bowl since 1994.

Notre Dame appointed Missy Conboy as its interim athletic director. The school said there is no timetable for a permanent replacement.

White will replace Joe Alleva, who was hired as LSU's athletic director in April after a decade of leading the Blue Devils' 26 sports programs.

"Kevin White is in the first rank of athletics directors nationally and will make a perfect fit at Duke," university president Richard Brodhead said.
White had been at Notre Dame since 2000. He hired football coaches Tyrone Willingham and Charlie Weis, and hired former Duke assistant Mike Brey as the men's basketball coach.

Under Alleva's watch, Duke claimed 44 Atlantic Coast Conference championships and six national titles, including the school's third and most recent crown in men's basketball in 2001.

He oversaw Duke's athletic department during the debunked rape allegations against members of the lacrosse team in 2006, and recently hired David Cutcliffe to revive the Blue Devils' football program.

Brodhead led the search committee that unanimously selected White, who has connections to two of Duke's most prominent coaches: Brey is one of Mike Krzyzewski's former assistants, and White oversaw the hiring of Cutcliffe as an assistant to Weis in 2005 before he abruptly resigned because of health reasons.

White helped Notre Dame plan a $26 million renovation of the basketball arena and expand the school's nonrevenue sports. He and his wife were made honorary alumni three days before switching jobs.

But White was widely criticized by Irish fans because the football team hasn't won a national championship since 1988 - the longest stretch in school history - and some fans place much of the blame on White.
He gave Bob Davie a contract extension in 2000, then fired him after the next season. White replaced Davie with George O'Leary, who resigned after less than a week on the job after he admitted he had lied about his academic and athletic past. White's next hire was Willingham, who lasted just three years.

In all, the Irish football team had four winning seasons, three losing campaigns and one .500 finish during White's tenure.

The Irish were more successful off the football field. Brey led the Irish to five NCAA appearances in eight seasons and the women's basketball team has made 13 straight NCAA tournament appearances. The Irish won national championships in women's basketball in 2001, in fencing in 2003 and 2005, and in women's soccer in 2004. The college baseball team advanced to the College World Series final in 2002 and the hockey team made it to the NCAA finals for the first time this past April.

Conboy had been the deputy athletic director at Notre Dame the past three years and had worked in the Notre Dame athletics department since 1987. She played basketball for the Fighting Irish from 1979-82.

Of Notre Dame's 11 athletic directors, only two were not graduates of the school.


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