Mueh will retire as brigadier general Saturday

Updated: July 29, 2004, 9:28 PM ET
Associated Press

AIR FORCE ACADEMY, Colo. -- The Air Force Academy named Hans Mueh as its new athletic director Thursday, the first civilian to fill the post and one taking over in the middle of a steroid scandal in the football program.

Col. Hans J. Mueh, who has served as chemistry department director since 1987 and as vice dean of faculty the past two years, takes over for Col. Randy Spetman, the school announced Thursday.

Spetman stepped down in January and his replacement, academy alumnus Mike Bloomfield declined the position in May.

Mueh takes over a program that has hit by allegations of steroid use by two football players.

"I do believe its an isolated incident," Mueh said, adding he believes the school's athletics program is among the healthiest in the country.

Mueh was among the top two candidates to oversee instruction for the 4,000 cadets at the elite school. That position is being filled by Col. Dana Born.

"To be honest I was disappointed when I wasn't chosen. But then having gone through that interview process with the Secretary of the Air Force and with [Air Force Academy Superintendent Lt.] General [John] Rosa, putting a package together, I think everybody got to know me a bit.

"So when this offer came up, it came out of the blue," Mueh said.

Mueh will be promoted to brigadier general when he retires Saturday. When he takes the post on Tuesday, he will be the school's ninth athletic director and first civilian to hold the post.

"Randy Spetman and I have talked about this because there were times when Randy's uniform -- when dealing with other ADs and comissioners throughout the NCAA -- turned out to be a detriment because there was a certain perception that if you're in the military you have a certain mind-set," Mueh, who holds a doctorate, said. "There are certain times and places where the title Dr. Mueh will let me have a foot in the door."

In the late 1980s, Mueh served as officer representative for the football team. "The thing that was foremost on his mind as an officer representative was to serve the players, and do what's best for them," Air Force football coach Fisher DeBerry said.

Mueh has served as a faculty representative to the Western Athletic and Mountain West conferences. For the past four years, Mueh has been chairman of Region VIII for the NCAA's Postgraduate Scholarship Committee.

Copyright 2004 by The Associated Press