Athletics departments lets go of Ken Tyler
By OLIVIA TAYLOR
It was announced on March 30 that Ken Tyler, University of Mary Washington athletic director, will not be continuing on in the position. Tyler was informed that his contract that expires in June would not be renewed.
When reached out to for comment, Tyler responded “I am extremely proud of our many accomplishments during my tenure as director of athletics. We did some amazing things for the department, university and community. I have been humbled by the incredible outpouring of support I have received and will cherish tremendous relationships with many colleagues, student-athletes, and supporters.”
According to an email addressing the UMW athletic staff member, that was obtained by the Free Lance-Star and cited in the article “UMW parting ways with athletic director Tyler,” this came as a surprise to Tyler.
“I had no idea this was coming and was not given any real reason. Needless to say, I am shocked and disappointed… I gave everything I had to UMW, right up until today.” said Tyler in the email which was addressed to the UMW coaches.
Tyler has filled the athletic director role at Mary Washington for just over six years. He was first hired following former athletic director Edward Hegmanns retirement in 2012. Tyler served as the athletic director for West Virginia Wesleyan before coming to UMW.
Tyler served as the athletic director for several significant events in the department. Some of these events included the addition of a men and women’s golf program to the list of varsity sports at UMW, as well as the addition of two athletic department vehicles to aide in the recruitment process for coaches.
A less positive happening during his tenure was the release of a Washington Post article concerning discrimination on the women’s basketball team. In a April 2017 article of the Blue and Gray Press it was revealed that there were “disheartening actions taken by leaders in athletic department.”
Many student athletes appeared to have an opinion on the situation, but very few were willing to comment on the record. According to some varsity athletes they were advised by coaches to not say anything on the record.
Senior, Historical Preservation major and captain of the Men’s Crew team, Kyle Moran said, “His concerns are obviously towards the bigger sports like basketball and the like. Because of this the other smaller sports seemed to get lesser treatment. All and all I am sure he wanted what was best for the school but some of his decisions did not reflect that.”
For looking to the future Moran noted, “I hope that the athletic department takes this as an opportunity to move forward and improve.”
Junior Business Administration major and member of the equestrian team Sam Bennett had similar sentiments about Tyler.
“Coach Tyler was always very hard to talk to,” said Bennett. “When he was threatening to stop the riding team, he would never answer our questions; he always danced around the answer. It seemed that if you were not apart of a “popular” sport, it was hard to get his attention.”
Bennetts’ quote was in reference to a situation that occurred last Spring when negotiations with Hazelwild stables threatened the fate of the Equestrian team at UMW. According to the aforementioned Free Lance-Star article about the announcement, “Head women’s tennis coach Patrick Catullo steps in as interim AD, and longtime Eagles coach Dana Hall will chair the Department of Health, Athletics and Physical Education.”
When Hall was reached out to about questions concerning the direction of the department and some reasoning behind this decision she referred back to the University’s official statement.
Little news has been made public about the future of the Athletic Department. According to the Free Lance-Star article, “UMW will hold a national search for its next athletics director this summer.”