SEATTLE -- Former Vanderbilt athletic director Todd Turner was hired to head Washington's troubled athletic department.
"Todd Turner is one of the nation's most experienced and
respected athletic directors," incoming university president Mark
Emmert said in a statement. "He emerged in the search process as
the very best candidate, and we're pleased he likes us as much as
we like him."
Turner will replace interim athletic director Dick Thompson, who took over when Barbara Hedges announced her early retirement in January.
Washington's athletic department has been rocked with a series of scandals in the past year. The school faces the possibility of
major NCAA sanctions in a gambling investigation, and a federal
probe is continuing into the actions of a former softball team
"I'm not terribly concerned about the past," Turner said at a
news conference Saturday. "I'm more focused on what lies ahead."
Turner is optimistic all those issues will be resolved in due
time, and he pledged continued cooperation.
"You can't always control what happens, but you sure can
control the way you respond," Turner said.
Turner will receive a five-year contract worth $325,000 in base salary. Administrators are negotiating incentives that should boost the package to $420,000 annually.
"We ended up with absolutely the right person for this job, and I couldn't be happier how the process went," incoming university
president Mark Emmert said.
Turner's position at Vanderbilt was eliminated last fall in a
major overhaul. The athletic department was integrated into the
rest of the administration.
Turner was Vanderbilt's athletic director from 1996 to 2003,
overseeing a program that included 14 varsity sports and 300
student athletes at the private school in Nashville, Tenn.
Vanderbilt, with about 6,000 students, is a member of the
Southeastern Conference. Emmert is concluding his term as
chancellor at LSU, another SEC school.
Washington has 23 sports programs with about 650 student
athletes and a $39.5 million annual budget.