The race for Harvard's new athletic director moved into the home stretch last week when Robert Peck, athletic director, chairman of the Physical Education Department at Williams College and the apparent front-runner for the post, announced he was dropping out.
Peck cited "political maneuvering" to prevent the University search committee from naming him as his reason for withdrawing.
Members of the committee would not discuss Peck's case, but one wealthy alumnus did say last week many alumni were upset that the committee might name a non-Harvard alumnus like Peck, and had made their wishes known.
President Bok and Dr. Chase N. Peterson '52, vice president for alumni affairs and development, both said they have heard from alumni regarding the athletic appointment, but would not elaborate.
Peck's withdrawal also spelled a partial victory for the 40 Harvard and Radcliffe athletes who last month signed a letter endorsing either of two well-known Harvard administrators for the post because of their commitment to both intercollegiate and intramural athletics.
Neither of the two administrators--Baaron B. Pittenger, associate athletic director, and John P. Reardon '60, associate dean of admissions and coordinator of the program for athletic facilities--has the "anti-big time" reputation of Peck, who made waves last month by turning in a rival college's hockey coach for alleged recruiting violations.
The committee is continuing its consideration of several candidates for the job, presumably including both Pittenger and Reardon.