The University of Oregon has hired insurance executive Pat Kilkenny, an alum and prominent school booster, as its new athletic director.
Kilkenny replaces Bill Moos, who in November announced plans to step down next month.
Kilkenny is chairman emeritus of San Diego-based Arrowhead General Insurance Inc., which he acquired in 1984 and sold in 2006.
Kilkenny, an Oregon native who is close to Ducks booster and Nike co-founder Phil Knight, graduated from the University of Oregon in 1974.
University President David Frohnmayer said Kilkenny will serve as AD for two years. He has agreed to return his salary to the school for “academic and athletic purposes.”
He has been spearheading Oregon’s plans to replace venerable McArthur Court, and contributed $1.5 million to finance the design of a new basketball arena.
“I have the utmost confidence in Pat’s ability to execute the aggressive agenda I have laid out for him,” Frohnmayer said. “He is charged with solidifying the leadership within the athletic department, moving the operation from being financially self-sufficient to self-sustaining, strengthening the connection with the academic mission of the university, expanding the donor base, and reviving the new basketball arena project.”
Frohnmayer said Kilkenny’s name first came up after the start of the new year. They shook hands on the appointment Tuesday evening.
“He was drafted,” Frohnmayer said. “He did not apply for the position.”
Kilkenny was also among donors who came forward to finance the nearly $2 million settlement package for Moos, who made $450,000 a year.
The 55-year-old Moos had been athletic director since 1995, and guided the expansion of Autzen Stadium and the construction of the department’s Moshofsky Center for football players. During his tenure, Oregon’s athletic department budget rose from $18 million to $40 million, and added two women’s sports.
“Hopefully with a little wind at our back we can continue it and perpetuate it,” Kilkenny said of Moos’ legacy.
There was speculation that Ducks football coach Mike Bellotti would be offered the job, but in January Frohnmayer announced that he and Bellotti agreed that the football coach and athletic director should be separate people “because it really is two jobs.”
“What a great choice for our department and for the university,” Bellotti said of Kilkenny’s appointment. “Pat possesses the leadership skills, decision-making ability and communications skills, as well as proven business acumen, to ensure the continued success of Oregon athletics. He is a great Duck and understands what it takes to compete successfully in Division I athletics.”
An eight-member search team sought a new director.
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