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Bok Denies Report That He Named Reardon to Athletic Director's Post


President Bok yesterday denied a report in Wednesday's Boston Herald-American that he had named John P. Reardon '60, associate dean of admissions as Harvard's next athletic director.

Bok called the report "totally erroneous" and added that he had sent a letter to Larry Claflin, the sportswriter who wrote the article, advising him to check out his "reliable sources" more carefully in the future.

"Like so many other stories and so much other publicity surrounding this appointment, the story had no basis in fact," Bok said.

Claflin could not be reached for comment yesterday.

Bok added that he will begin a review of candidates for the job early next month, and will select the new athletic director himself instead of reconstituting the search committee that had been charged with nominating a candidate.

"The only way to get the job done is for me to try to take hold of it personally, since I will be here over the summer, rather than trying to hold committee meetings," Bok said.

The University search committee attracted publicity last month when its apparent first choice, Robert Peck, athletic director at Williams College, with-drew his application.

Peck alleged that "political maneuvering" among alumni and administration members to block his appointment and pave the way for the appointment of a Harvard alumnus forced him to drop out of the race. The controversy arose after a report in The Boston Globe said the committee had decided to name Peck.

Robert E. Kaufmann '62, chairman of the search committee, said on Friday "there is nothing new to report" on the selection. Kaufmann earlier stated that he believed the selection process had passed out of the committee's hands.

Reardon said yesterday that publication of the Herald-American article came as "a complete surprise" to him.

"I don't know on what basis he wrote the article," he added.

Reardon, who was one of about 110 applicants to succeed Robert B. Watson '37 as athletic director, said he has not discussed the appointment with the search committee since April, and has not conferred with Bok on the matter.

He remains one of the leading candidates for the post, however, Shortly before Peck withdrew, over 40 Harvard and Radcliffe athletes sent a letter to Bok endorsing either Reardon or Baaron B. Pittenger Jr., associate director of athletics, for the post.

Last month Watson, who delayed his retirement for a semester to allow more time for Bok to make the appointment, predicted that his successor would be "a Harvard College grad, without doubt."

Bok would not predict when he would make a final selection or whether he has any specific candidates in mind. He said that although he has talked with some of the individual committee members he has not yet begun a close study of the field.

"I am personally going to work at it through July, but I have not started yet," he said.

The search began last fall when Watson, a former dean of students who served as athletic director since 1970, announced he would retire in June. Some observers interpreted the move as an opportunity for Bok to use the athletic director's job to boost the athletic complex fundraising program--a drive that Reardon now heads.

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