Mike Karabin was named interim athletic director yesterday at the University of Toledo, and an operating committee of three will assist him until a permanent replacement can be found for Pete Liske.
Karabin, 44, a university employee for more than 21 years, had been senior associate athletic director for external operations. He will be paid $110,000 a year.
“During this interim period, I am looking to Mike Karabin to provide good leadership, strengthen the athletic department's ties to the community and be a careful steward of resources,'' interim president William Decatur said in a statement. “I have confidence in him and the operations committee.”
The operations committee comprises Laurie Turner, senior associate athletic director; Jim Klein, professor of law and the UT faculty athletics representative to the NCAA; and Calvin Lawshe, interim vice president for student services and assistant to the president for community relations.
“I feel tickled to death and honored that the university thinks highly enough of me to give me this opportunity on an interim basis,'' said Karabin, who has long aspired to be an athletic director but has turned down other opportunities, he said, in order to stay at the DivisionI level.
“Our mission is going to be making sure everyone understands what we have to get done. The biggest focus will continue to be raising money for the (athletic) program and staying within operational guidelines. That's where our energy will be focused - serving our program and institution and providing opportunities for our coaches to be successful.”
Karabin played baseball at UT, winning the Mid-American Conference batting crown as a senior with a .419 average. After two seasons in the Chicago Cubs' organization, he became a UT assistant baseball coach and promotions manager in 1979. He later served as the marketing and development director.
As senior associate AD, Karabin was responsible for the athletic department's external operations, which include marketing, development, television, radio, sales, football scheduling, special events, game management and facilities development.
Karabin explained that he will be accountable for decisions, but made it clear that he would make no “hard-ball decisions'' without the input of the athletic committee, as well as others at the university, including the president.
Karabin said that he and the operating committee would “work together and make sure we're sharing information and making the right decisions for the program.''
He said he felt comfortable working with all of the committee's members, adding that Klein and Lawshe have been involved in the program for quite some time anyway.
“I welcome the group,'' Karabin said. “I think it's really healthy.''
He also made it clear that he planned to open the lines of communication within the university - something that Liske was criticized for when his contract was not renewed.
“All parties have to be informed properly,'' Karabin said. “I'll make sure that happens.”
Joe Brennan, executive director of public relations at UT, said there was no “hard and fast timetable'' for naming a new athletic director. “Searches typically take several months or more,'' he said.
He did, however, say that university officials intended to start the search as soon as possible.