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Robert B. Watson '37, director of athletics whose impending retirement has sparked a controversy over the selection of his successor, announced Wednesday that he will remain at Harvard for another semester to allow the University more time to choose a new athletic director.

Watson said yesterday he agreed to stay on at President Bok's request, although he thinks it is "a great mistake" to remain on the job past his planned June 30 retirement date.

The failure of the University search committee to name a successor in the nine months since he announced his retirement made it necessary to stay on to "take up the slack" in the Department of Athletics, Watson added.

The committee apparently planned last month to name Robert Peck, athletic director at Williams College, but Peck withdrew after encountering student and alumni opposition to the appointment of a non-Harvard alumnus.

Definitely A Harvard Alum

Watson said he thinks the committee will not try to name another candidate like Peck. "My successor will be a Harvard College grad," he predicted.

Only a Harvard alumnus will be able to understand the importance of intercollegiate sports in maintaining Harvard's prestige, and be able to resist the efforts of graduate students to gain greater access to the University's currently inadequate athletic facilities, Watson said.

"If you got an outsider, then where do the undergraduates stand? The committee realizes this, and they know it must be a Harvard College graduate," he added.

Robert E. Kaufmann '62, associate dean of the Faculty for finance and administration and chairman of the search committee, said yesterday he cannot predict whether the next director will be an alumnus, adding that he thinks the committee's wishes may no longer figure into the selection process.

"Not At All Clear"

"It's not at all clear" what role the committee will play in the selection, Kaufmann said. He added that since Peck withdraw four weeks ago, he has not been involved in the selection deliberations.

"Everything that has been done then has been in the hands of the President and the deans," he said.

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