William J. "Bill" Cleary '56, a legendary figure in Harvard athletics, announced his retirement Friday from his position as Nichols Family Director of Athletics, effective June 30, 2001.
Cleary has held the position for nearly 10 years, taking the reins after he won the NCAA championship as coach of the men's hockey team in 1989. His career at Harvard spans six decades as student athlete, coach and administrator.
"Harvard is a very special place and it has been a privilege to be a part of such a tremendous educational and athletic environment for so many years," Cleary said in a press release.
As athletic director, Cleary presided over the largest Division I program in the nation. Harvard fields 41varsity sports and approximately 20 junior varsity teams, in addition to numerous club sports. More than 1,500 students compete in intercollegiate athletics at Harvard.
Members of the search committee to find Cleary's successor have not yet been named.
Cleary has made strides over the past 10 years to improve facilities for all of Harvard's programs. Last year, he opened Jordan Field, an artificial turf facility that serves the field hockey and lacrosse teams. Also last year, Harvard dedicated the Beren Tennis Center, which boasts 18 outdoor courts, and two years ago opened the Murr Center, the new headquarters for Harvard athletics.
The Murr Center consolidated the department entirely within the Soldiers Field athletic complex. The athletic department administrative offices, which used to be at 60 JFK Street, and the ticket office, which was located in the basement of Harvard Hall, were relocated to the Murr Center, as were the varsity weight room, the hall of history and 16 regulation squash courts.
In addition to expanding Harvard's facilities, Cleary just this past summer received funding from Harvard to hire full time assistant coaches for every varsity program.
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