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Eaton sees no 'major decisions' on the horizon

The University of Maryland named its athletic department’s chief financial officer as interim athletic director on Monday. Senior Associate Athletic Director Randy Eaton, 49, will lead the department until a replacement for former athletic director Debbie Yow is appointed.

Eaton will not be a member of the search committee charged with finding candidates to fill the permanent athletic director post, according to U-Md. President C.D. Mote, and Eaton said he will have no role in determining Yow’s successor. Multiple sources within the Maryland athletic department said a search committee could be announced as early as Tuesday.

Eaton said he had not had time to consider whether he would like to be a candidate for the full-time athletic director position. He said his top priority over the next few months will be to maintain the athletic department Yow molded during her 16 years in College Park. On Friday, Yow left to become the athletic director at N.C. State.

“For lack of better terminology, just not to wreck the ship, if you will,” Eaton said in a teleconference. “I think we’ve been left in a very good situation by Debbie. If you look at most (Division I) athletic programs when an AD of this stature leaves, they’ve got some pretty big issues, and we’re not in that situation. I think it’s just hold the course until such time that the search committee can name a full-time athletic director and get them in here this fall.”

The athletic department’s budget for the coming fiscal year was completed in April, according to Eaton. He said he does not foresee any “major decisions on the horizon” that will need to be made prior to the permanent athletic director being appointed.

"I think by the time we get into the middle of the football season, I think all of us anticipate having a new athletic director named and possibly on board," Eaton said.

Eaton, who came to Maryland in 2003, is well regarded throughout the athletic department for his straightforward, yet personable, approach. He also holds strong relationships with those in the men’s basketball and football programs, according to multiple Maryland officials.

“Randy is not the type to mince words,” one Maryland official said, “and there’s a real respect that comes with that.”

Said Mote: “I think he has the confidence of people in athletics and around the campus and around the community, so he seemed like he’d be a logical choice.”

This is not the first time Eaton has assumed the interim tag. In November of 1997, Eaton was named interim athletic director at East Tennessee State. He served in that role for six months and was one of six finalists for the permanent position.

Eaton and Mote will hold an all-staff meeting Tuesday, and Eaton said he already had been in touch with many of Maryland’s head coaches. As for his responsibilities as the department’s CFO, Eaton said he will continue to fulfill his duties with assistance from Associate Athletic Director for Business Jon Palumbo.

“I know, ultimately, when I explain to people, I said I feel as the interim athletic director, my role is to take the blame when things go wrong,” Eaton said. “And when things go good, everybody else, they get the kudos.”

By Steve Yanda  |  June 28, 2010; 5:39 PM ET
Categories:  Football , Men's basketball  
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Next: Kirwan: U-Md. president to be named in August; A.D. search to take 3-4 months

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