Northwestern University will immediately begin a search for a new athletic director, Northwestern President Henry S. Bienen announced today (Dec. 3). The University will begin a search for a person to succeed Mark Murphy, who resigned to become president of the Green Bay Packers professional football team.
"We're sorry to see Mark go and we appreciate the tremendous leadership that he has provided here," Bienen said. "At the same time, we understand what a wonderful opportunity this is for him, so we wish him well."
During Murphy's four-and-a-half years as Northwestern's athletic director, the women's lacrosse team captured three straight NCAA national championships, the women's softball team twice advanced to the Women's College World Series, placing second and third, the men's soccer team reached the final eight of the NCAA tournament, the men's swimming and wrestling teams had extraordinarily successful seasons and the women's tennis team continued its domination of the Big Ten. The football team made two bowl appearances and won six or more games four out of the five years.
In the U.S. Sports Academy Directors' Cup Standings, Northwestern has finished in the nation's top 30 for three consecutive years. In 2006-07, the Wildcats had 10 of their 19 teams participate in NCAA postseason play.
In addition, Northwestern student-athletes continued to have one of the highest graduation rates among all Division I-A schools. The football team has won three of the past four AFCA Academic Achievement Awards, which honor the school with the nation's top graduation rate, and Northwestern led the Big Ten in the latest NCAA graduation success rate (GSR) data with a 98-percent figure.
Also under Murphy's guidance, Northwestern recently built new playing fields for soccer, lacrosse, club sports and student use, renovated its softball stadium and also built new locker rooms for the men's and women's basketball teams.
"I very much appreciate the opportunity I was given when Northwestern selected me as its athletic director," Murphy said. "I'll miss the many friends I've made here and I'll continue to be a Wildcat supporter."