Oliver Luck named new WVU athletic director
Will earn $390,000 base salary, take over July 1
Published: Wednesday, June 9, 2010
Updated: Saturday, June 12, 2010 00:06
After a national search, West Virginia University President James P. Clements had to look no further than the University's own Board of Governors to find WVU's new athletic director.
The University has officially named Oliver Luck, Board of Governor member and president and general Manager of Major League Soccer's Houston Dynamo, as its new athletic director. He stepped down as a member of the BOG earlier this week.
"In my eyes, everything he touches turns to gold," Clements said about Luck. "He is a great pick for our great University."
Luck will replace longtime WVU athletic director Ed Pastilong, who will retire June 30. He will take over July 1 and be formally introduced Monday, but will continue to work with the Dynamo throughout the end of the year.
"President Clements is a tremendous recruiter," Luck said. "It did take some thought on my part and a good bit of jawboning from the president."
Luck signed a five-year contract (Luck's contract can be found online at http://wvutoday.wvu.edu/r/download/4866). He will earn a base salary of $390,000 each year, nearly double the salary of Pastilong, who earns $225,000 per year. His full contract will be released later today.
"We did a full review of AD salaries across the country, and he is right in line with his peers," Clements said.
Luck said one of the deciding factors was how his family would deal with moving from Houston to Morgantown. Because Clements was able to move him family successfully and smoothly to Morgantown, it made the decision easier, he said. Clements is finishing up his first year as president at WVU after leaving Towson University.
Luck will enter the post as athletic director in a troubling time for many athletic departments with discussions of conference realignment and budget cuts happening across the country.
"This is a particularly challenging time given all the conference alignment rumors and chess moves being made," Luck said. "I look forward to working with Jim and his staff that he put together to really make sure we protect WVU as best as we as we possibly can to make sure our affiliations are the best affiliations that we can have to further the growth of our University."
Luck is a WVU graduate and former quarterback. He also served on the BOG since 2008 after being appointed by West Virginia governor Joe Manchin.
"I knew sometime along the line he would like to come back to West Virginia in some capacity," said BOG chair Carolyn Long. "This is just a perfect fit for us. He is so bright and articulate and on top of that he is such a good man.
"It's wonderful that he wants to come back to his university, and it's an excellent hire."
Manchin has 30 days to find Luck's replacement for the BOG.The new member will serve for the remainder of his term through 2012.
Luck played quarterback for WVU from 1978-81, setting school records for touchdown passes and completions. He led the team to a Peach Bowl victory over Florida as a senior. He passed for 5,765 yards in his career – fourth on WVU's all-time list.
His college prowess allowed him to be selected in the second round of the 1982 NFL Draft by the Houston Oilers, where he played until 1986. During that time, he earned his law degree at the University of Texas.
In 2005, Luck was named president and general manager of the Dynamo and led the organization to two-straight MLS titles. He was also a major part in the development of a new stadium for the team which Luck will continue to see out before solely becoming WVU's athletic director.
"Houston is a great community. I enjoy it dearly," Luck said. "But the opportunity for me to go back to my alma mater to succeed somebody that I think is a great person is one that I couldn't pass up."
Luck, a Cleveland native, is a two-time academic all-American and a member of the Academic all-American Hall of Fame. He was also a Rhodes Scholar finalist. Luck graduated from WVU magna cum laude in 1982 as a member of Phi Beta Kappa.
Pastilong will serve as athletic director emeritus, an advisory role, until 2012.
"Eddie and I spoke this morning and he pledged to me that he will do whatever I need him to do or ask him to do that is in the best interest of the University," Luck said.
As recruiting coordinator for the football team, Pastilong recruited Luck. Later, as an associate athletic director, Pastilong hired Luck to watch over Hawley Field, which was being "torn up." The two have been friends ever since.
Pastilong said when Luck was on the BOG and traveled to Morgantown, he always made an effort to meet with Pastilong.
"I've always enjoyed the friendship, and I trust him," Pastilong said. "It's going to be good for WVU, and it will be comfortable for me."