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FAS Dean Gay Poised to Launch Nationwide Search for Athletics Director

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay poses for a photo in her office in University Hall.
Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay poses for a photo in her office in University Hall. By Allison G. Lee
By Jonah S. Berger and Molly C. McCafferty, Crimson Staff Writers

Dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences Claudine Gay will soon launch a nationwide search for Harvard Athletics Director Robert L. Scalise’s successor, she said in an interview Wednesday.

Scalise, who has served in his position for 18 years, announced in October that he would retire at the end of the academic year.

Gay declined to offer specifics on what qualities and qualifications she would look for in a new athletics director, saying it is too early to say more about the direction of the search.

“I feel my mind is mainly focused on really reflecting on Bob's legacy,” Gay said.

She said Scalise has agreed to serve as a “senior advisor” to Gay over the course of the next year, even after he leaves his post.

The announcement of Scalise’s departure comes as Harvard undertakes a study of the culture and structure of its Athletics department. Gay acknowledged the challenges of coordinating the search and the study, but said the study would be an “exciting” tool to “inform the work ahead” for the next Athletics director.

“I think people are excited as they contemplate the future, recognizing that, you know, we are very fortunate to be building on, frankly, a very long record of success across so many different dimensions,” Gay said. “How do we build on that, in some ways, to kind of renew our commitment to the mission and ensure that we continue to be, frankly, a model for Ivy League athletics?”

Mercer, the external firm conducting the review, has already interviewed “various stakeholders,” including coaches and student athletes, Gay said, adding that a survey of all student athletes is “taking shape right now.”

Thus far, Gay has provided only a broad outline of the content of the review. She reiterated Wednesday that the study will consist of “understanding” the student athlete experience and culture of the Athletics program and examining the Athletics department “organizationally.”

“All of it is guided by a really deep commitment to the mission of the department, which is education through athletics and building commitment, community, and pride in Harvard,” she said.

—Staff writer Jonah S. Berger can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @jonahberger98.

—Staff writer Molly C. McCafferty can be reached at Follow her on Twitter @mollmccaff.

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