Gary Friedman has resigned as ISU's athletics director, effective June 30. (WJBC photo)
By Bryan Bloodworth
NORMAL - Gary Friedman's two-year reign as Illinois State University’s athletic director is over. Friedman announced today that he will resign effective June 30.
ISU president Al Bowman has appointed Larry Lyons, associate athletics director, to a three-year term as athletics director beginning July 1.
“I am very grateful for the opportunity to have served as director of athletics at ISU," said Friedman in a statement released by the university. "It simply was not the right fit. We have implemented several positive initiatives to enhance the student-athlete and fan experience at ISU and achieved great results and I look forward to following the Redbirds’ continued success."
During Friedman’s tenure, ISU launched a $25 million construction and renovation project for Hancock Stadium, the facility’s first major upgrade in 50 years.
Additional facilities improvements included a new driving range, men’s basketball locker room and baseball field resurfacing. Friedman and his staff also reached their fundraising goals for selling suites and club seats for Redbird football games at Hancock.
Student-athlete’s academic success also continued during Friedman’s term, with rises in overall grade point average, including a cumulative high GPA of 3.15 in 2012. The number of student-athletes achieving a perfect 4.0 grade average and the number of AFNI Honor Roll members also increased.
While maintaining an environment of compliance, Friedman also led the athletic department to an all-time high finish in the Learfield Directors’ Cup. The athletics program also increased its visibility both regionally and nationally with an expanded radio and television network.
“I want to thank Gary for his tireless service to Illinois State University, the local community and the Missouri Valley Conference,” Bowman said. “We wish Gary and his family the best during this time of University transition.”
Lyons, who is in his 26th year at ISU, currently oversees business, facility and external operations, human resources and the Weibring Golf Club.
He supervises the athletic training, athletic equipment and strength and conditioning units and provides administrative leadership for men's and women's golf and baseball. During the spring of 2011, Lyons served as the department's interim director of athletics.
Bryan Bloodworth can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org