Tech Announces Athletic Department Changes
Georgia Tech President Wayne Clough and Athletic Director David Braine announced steps today to address recent issues related to student-athlete academic performance. The changes were announced at a meeting of the Board of Directors of the Georgia Tech Athletic Association.
While the academic accomplishments of Georgia Tech student-athletes on average have steadily improved for the past four years, following this spring semester 11 student-athletes were declared ineligible, of who 10 were football players. These players are required to sit out a term before returning to school.
Dr. Carole Moore, formerly Director of Academic Services for the Georgia Tech Athletic Association, has elected to return to a full-time academic role at the Institute. Moore will become a special assistant to the vice provost, where she will teach, further develop international education efforts, and refine elite scholar initiatives. Moore currently is a teacher in the Georgia Tech Oxford program.
Clough praised Moore for significantly improving academic advising services in the Athletic Association during her tenure, as was evidenced by improved graduation rates, higher grade point averages, and sustained academic progress for student-athletes.
"Georgia Tech owes Carole a large debt of gratitude for her long and dedicated service to the Institute and most recently for working hard on behalf of our student-athletes," said Clough.
Col. James Stevens, a Tech alumnus who is retiring from the U. S. Air Force after a 27-year career, will replace Moore. Stevens holds master's degrees in business administration and logistics and has been the professor of Aerospace Studies for the past three years, commanding Georgia Tech's Air Force Reserve Officer Training Corps Detachment 165. He was named MVP of the Liberty Bowl in 1972.
In making the announcement, Clough and Braine made it clear that coaches will continue to be expected to work with academic support personnel in a coordinated team effort to ensure that student-athletes have the opportunity to meet the challenges of a Tech education while making steady progress toward graduation.
"We also expect better effort and performance from our student-athletes," said Clough. "The vast majority of our student-athletes go far above and beyond what an average student must do in pursuit of their education. But all of the support systems in the world won't work if a student isn't motivated to obtain an education."
Clough emphasized his expectation that student-athletes should be able to achieve at an academic level comparable to that of the average of the student body, including remaining on track for graduation. He also highlighted the importance of academic advising within athletics.
"Credible and competent academic support enhances the experience of our student-athletes and upholds the rigorous academic excellence of Georgia Tech," said Clough.
Stevens will spend time this summer visiting some of the nation's most successful athletic departments to exchange ideas about how to cope with increasingly tough academic progress requirements from the NCAA.
"As part of his duties, we have asked Col. Stevens to visit a number of universities well known for the academic success of their student-athletes to see what we might learn from their experience," said Clough, a member of the NCAA Executive Committee. "There are a number of important academic changes on the horizon for student-athletes, and we want to ensure that we take advantage of best practices."
"Col. Stevens is keenly aware of our expectations and is ready to take a fresh approach to meeting them," said Clough. "I'm confident that the excellent foundation provided by Dr. Moore and the new perspectives brought by Col. Stevens will yield positive results in the future."
As is currently the case, Academic Support Services will report to both the athletic director and the provost.
"Such an arrangement makes sense," said Clough. "It ensures that those in daily contact with the student-athletes are fully engaged in their academic progress. It also ensures that the academic side of the house has an active role in working with athletics to provide a balanced perspective.
"In the end this is all about the maximizing the potential of our student-athletes in the classroom and on the playing fields," said Clough. "That is, after all, our primary mission."
About Col. James Stevens
Col. Stevens received his Industrial Management degree from Georgia Tech in 1975 and was a football and baseball standout for Tech in the early 1970s. He played football under Bill Fulcher in 1972 and 1973 as quarterback and was named the MVP of the 1972 Liberty Bowl in Georgia Tech's victory against Iowa State. He also played baseball for Coach Jim Luck in 1974 as an outfielder and designated hitter. He led the Jackets with seven home runs and a .377 batting average.
Stevens received his commission into the U.S. Air Force from Detachment 165 at Georgia Tech in 1975. He went on to fly F-111s as a weapons systems officer. He has been a commander at the flight, detachment, squadron, and group levels. He also was a professor of Strategy and Force Planning at the Naval War College in Newport, RI.
From there he was assigned as a group commander in charge of more than 1,500 people and four squadrons providing base security, communications, human resources and moral, recreation, and welfare services to a population of more than 20,000 people at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque, NM. His final assignment in the Air Force brought him back to his alma mater and the AFROTC detachment where his service to his country began.
Col. Stevens is married to the former Dee Hudson and they have four children -- Chad, Dea, Joel and Renee.