West Virginia Announces Search for AD

MORGANTOWN – The long and successful run as Athletics Director at West Virginia University for Moundsville native Ed Pastilong is nearing its end.

Pastilong, who announced his retirement February 2008, will relinquish his duties June 30, though the plan is for him to stay on in a key advisory role as athletics director emeritus through 2012.

Thursday, WVU President James P. Clements said the school will launch a national search for Pastilong’s successor, but it won’t turn its back on the man who helped it grow to unprecedented heights.

”Ed has spent a lifetime helping to build this department to where it is today – and I cannot imagine the next years without him as a continuing part of the team,” Clements said.

Pastilong, who was recognized Feb. 27 as the inaugural recipient Ambassador of Ohio Valley Award by the Upper Ohio Valley Dapper Dan Club, has enjoyed a remarkable ride in his 21 years in charge of the department.

On the job since 1989 – and part of the school’s administration since 1976 – Pastilong has overseen an astounding financial advancement in charge of this uniquely self-sufficient business.

The department’s budget reportedly grew from $20 million to more than $59 million under Pastilong, with that number jumping by $18 million in the last two-plus years, according to an interview done by The Intelligencer with Pastilong in November 2007, when the department’s budget hovered near $41 million.

Pastilong’s legacy will not just be of the spearheading of major capital improvements, more than $85 million in total, or the growth of the budget. He was instrumental in helping with the formation of the Big East conference. He has overseen the founding of the WVU Sports Hall of Fame, improvements from available scholarships through the Athletic Director’s Academic Honor Roll he initiated, bold coaching hires, higher graduation rates and unprecedented fan support.

The men’s basketball team, for example, just wrapped up a home schedule with the highest total number of fans to see the Mountaineers play in any season in history (173,281) with the highest average (12,377) per game. The football team led the Big East in attendance for the sixth straight season. The last five years, it can be argued, have been as good as any stretch in terms of athletics success in school history, all under Pastilong’s watchful eye.

West Virginia has finished in the Top 50 in the Director’s Cup standings two out of the last three years, that being a guide to measure overall varsity sports success via each school’s finish in up to 20 sports. WVU is ranked No. 28 this year.

”Our teams have had great success on the field, on the court and in the classroom,” Pastilong said. ”We have had outstanding student-athletes, coaches and staff who have each worked with the common goal of making WVU successful. And we have succeeded while operating our programs financially self-supporting.

”But there comes a time in a career when you have to make a transition, and that time is now. With the longterm strategic visioning of the entire university under way, it’s the right time to let a new athletic director play a key role in the future of intercollegiate athletics at WVU.

”And there is no doubt I will remain close to my Mountaineer athletic family because this is where my heart is.”

Clements said the university will begin the initial steps of the search process during the next few weeks. If the search goes beyond June, Clements said Pastilong has agreed to stay on as athletics director until the position is filled.

”It’s an exciting time for WVU and Mountaineer athletics,” Clements said, ”and I am committed to finding the best candidates in the country to join our administrative team. The field is wide open and we expect to attract some of the most talented people in the nation.”

Pastilong and his wife, Mona, have two daughters, Kim DeFelice and her husband Anthony, and Amy Richter and her husband Pat, and four grandsons Michael and Nick DeFelice and Ryan and Shawn Richter.