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December 12, 2007 at 11:04 AM

Turner’s letter to his staff

UW AD Todd Turner made his views pretty clear when he met with the media yesterday.
But for another view, here is the letter he sent to athletic department employees Tuesday explaining the situation:
December 11, 2007
Dear Friends,
It is with very mixed emotions that I write to you today. After careful consideration and thoughtful reflection on our time here since you welcomed us to the UW, Sara and I have decided that now is the right time for us to leave the University of Washington and return to our Southern roots. This came after lengthy discussions with President Emmert where it became clear that changes in leadership needed to be made. He has accepted my resignation from my position as Director of Intercollegiate Athletics effective January 31, 2008.
I will continue to serve in my current role as AD until I leave next month. As you might expect, much of my work will be dedicated to insuring a smooth transition for the next AD. Fortunately, we have a strong team of leaders in place to carry on the work we have begun. I have recommended to President Emmert in the strongest of terms the importance of maintaining the leadership model that has taken us this far.
I want each of you to know that I feel very good about the work we have accomplished together here during my tenure. When I arrived just over three years ago, the President’s primary charge to me was to create a culture of integrity in athletics and to reconnect the athletics program to the mainstream mission of the University. This is something we have worked at every day and, I trust, you will continue to do so as you go forward. I do believe we have made great progress. Along the way we won national and Pac-10 championships. We have achieved academic performance measurements that are among the highest when compared to our West Coast peer institutions. We have created life-enriching opportunities for literally hundreds of young men and women student-athletes. Most importantly, we have established a principle-centered, compliance-sensitive culture in the Athletics Department. Plus, we’ve had a lot fun.
You have inspired me with your dedication to the well-being of our student-athletes, your commitment to each other, your competitiveness, and good cheer. Together we have reestablished the UW athletics program as one of character and integrity. Thank you for that. Continue doing this and the foundational phase of our mission will be complete. Now, it’s up to you to put the final touches on this endeavor with more than a few championship banners. I trust that you will.
I can’t encourage or challenge you enough to maintain and build upon the mission and values we have affirmed for athletics at Washington. Creating an environment that develops winners on the field, in the classroom, and in life…that’s what it is all about. We have done this together. It is our mantra, our focus, our unifying purpose. Be true to it and the student-athletes will experience what they came to the UW to get…a world-class preparation for a successful, productive life.
Frankly, I’ve grown concerned recently over the growing imbalance between what the public (i.e. fans) expects and the true purpose of intercollegiate athletics. It’s a frightening time to be in your positions if you truly believe in the ideal of the student-athlete within the framework of higher education. It will take exceedingly strong leadership to hold us true to this ideal. In recent days, I’ve seen a side of athletics that sickens me with the incessant interloping of uninformed, unenlightened, self-anointed experts who look upon intercollegiate athletics solely as entertainment to satisfy their own self interests. That’s why competitive success at the UW without compromising values, character, and integrity is so essential. Someone has to be the example. It might as well be the Huskies.
I know some people would think me goofy to keep hammering away on this. But, it has been my life’s calling. I learned this in my earliest days as a young administrator at the University of Virginia and it has stuck with me. I cannot give it up. In some ways, that’s really at the core of why I am stepping aside…not to give up the fight, but rather to find another platform to underscore the cause. I need you with me on this, so when and if I ever call on you, please step up!
So, after nearly 32 years in this wonderful enterprise, 21 of which were as an Athletics Director, what is a fellow to do to further identify his purpose in life? At 56, there are many productive years ahead for us to enjoy new experiences and exciting challenges. These may come in the world of intercollegiate athletics or some other related or entirely different enterprise. Regardless, the lure of intercollegiate athletics, its value to our young people, and its influence on our society will always be somewhere near the core of what I do. Sara, our children, and I will take some time to reflect on the events of recent months before refocusing upon our future. Along the way, we’ll have a few laughs, spend some needed time together, and follow the Huskies with great interest and considerable pride.
On a personal note, I want to thank each and every member of the athletics staff for accepting me and my family as your friends as much as you did me as your colleague. We will be Huskies for life! I will be forever grateful. Sara and I will carry many wonderful memories with us as we pursue a new direction in our lives.
Dream – Achieve – Win – Grow – Serve



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