Georgia Tech athletic director Braine to retire

Updated: January 11, 2006, 3:03 PM ET
Associated Press

ATLANTA -- Georgia Tech athletic director Dave Braine is retiring because he has Crohn's disease, a chronic gastrointestinal ailment.

The 62-year-old Braine has been the athletic director for nine years. He told The Associated Press on Wednesday that he hopes his retirement will lead to less stress and allow him to better cope with his illness. His retirement was first reported by Atlanta television station WXIA.

Braine will stay on as AD until his successor is hired, the school said. He had previously said that he would not seek another contract when his current deal expired in June 2007.

"I had fully intended to complete my contract ... so it is difficult to leave on these terms but there really is no other way," Braine said in a statement. "I was diagnosed last summer with Crohn's disease. My condition is not life threatening, but it is necessary for me to step down and take care of my health."

In recent months, Braine has dealt with the school's first NCAA probation, followed by Tech's appeal. He also recently announced a new five-year contract for football coach Chan Gailey and drew much criticism for saying he does not believe the program can be a consistent big winner.

The football program has had four straight seven-win seasons under Gailey, and has gone to nine straight bowl games. Meanwhile, the men's basketball program has made back-to-back NCAA tournament appearances, advancing to the championship game two years ago.

A clause in Tech basketball coach Paul Hewitt's contract gives him 18 months after Braine's departure to leave for another job with no penalty. Hewitt said Braine first discussed his retirement plans with him two months ago.

"Everybody knows how I feel about Dave and how important he is to me," Hewitt said. "I'm not doing anything drastic or rash. Working at Georgia Tech, you need somebody who understands the school and how things are academically. I just think a lot of my success comes from having an athletic director like him."

Added Hewitt: "I'm not the only reason we've won that number of games. He's a former coach who had a lot to do with my success."

Copyright 2006 by The Associated Press