Kilkenny named new Oregon AD

Updated: February 14, 2007, 6:46 PM ET
Associated Press

EUGENE, Ore. -- The University of Oregon has turned to prominent booster Pat Kilkenny to serve as athletic director for the next two years. One of his priorities will be getting a new basketball arena back on track.

Kilkenny replaces Bill Moos, who in November announced plans to step down next month.

Kilkenny is chairman emeritus of San Diego-based Arrowhead General Insurance Agency Inc., which he acquired in 1984 and sold in 2006.

An Oregon native who is close to Ducks booster and Nike co-founder Phil Knight, Kilkenny attended the University of Oregon.

University President David Frohnmayer said Kilkenny has agreed to return any salary to the school for "academic and athletic purposes." Kilkenny's formal contract is not yet final.

"I love Eugene. I love the University of Oregon," he said. "I don't think there's any doubt that my intentions are the best they can be. I want to leave this place in a lot better stead than the day I arrived."

He has been spearheading Oregon's plans to replace venerable McArthur Court, and contributed $1.5 million to finance the design of a new basketball arena.

"I have the utmost confidence in Pat's ability to execute the aggressive agenda I have laid out for him," Frohnmayer said. "He is charged with solidifying the leadership within the athletic department, moving the operation from being financially self-sufficient to self-sustaining, strengthening the connection with the academic mission of the university, expanding the donor base, and reviving the new basketball arena project."

The plans for the 12-500-seat arena, which was at first expected to be completed by 2009, were derailed last year. McArthur Court has been the hallowed but crumbling home to the Ducks since 1927.

"Quite frankly, there's still a fundraising process that needs to be done," he said about jump-starting the project.

Frohnmayer said Kilkenny's name first came up after the start of the new year. They shook hands on the appointment Tuesday evening.

"He was drafted," Frohnmayer said. "He did not apply for the position."

Kilkenny was also among donors to help finance the nearly $2 million settlement package for Moos, who made $450,000 a year. Kilkenny said the settlement was for a job well done, and never imagined his name would eventually arise in connection with the job.

Moos had been athletic director since 1995, and guided the expansion of Autzen Stadium and the construction of the department's Moshofsky Center for football players. During his tenure, Oregon's athletic department budget rose from $18 million to $40 million, and added two women's sports.

"Hopefully with a little wind at our back we can perpetuate it," Kilkenny said of Moos' legacy.

There was speculation that Ducks football coach Mike Bellotti would be offered the job, but in January Frohnmayer announced that he and Bellotti agreed that the football coach and athletic director should be separate people "because it really is two jobs."

"What a great choice for our department and for the university," Bellotti said of Kilkenny's appointment. "Pat possesses the leadership skills, decision-making ability and communications skills, as well as proven business acumen, to ensure the continued success of Oregon athletics. He is a great Duck and understands what it takes to compete successfully in Division I athletics."

Kilkenny has also served on the University of Oregon Athletic Department Advisory Board and on the Board of Trustees for the University of Oregon Foundation.

An eight-member search team sought a new director.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press