BETHANY, W.Va. – Bethany College announced major changes Friday in their Athletic Department, which includes releasing Athletic Director/Head Football Coach Steve Lee and two other football coaches from their contracts.
Also released from their contracts with the school were defensive coordinator Charlie Giangrosso and offensive coordinator Mark Lee. The moves come on the heels of Bethany’s third consecutive 1-9 season, which ended Saturday with a 30-15 loss to Carnegie Mellon (Pa.) University.
In Lee’s place, Andy Upton, who currently serves as the offensive line coach and the head track and field coach at Bethany, will oversee the football program as the search for a permanent head coach is conducted.
According to Bethany College President Dr. G.T. “Buck” Smith, this move was not necessarily made because of the team’s record over the past two years as much as it was made because a structural change was needed in the Athletic Department.
“I am motivated by two things: doing what is best for Bethany College and doing what is best for our students,” said Smith. “I believe both will be best served by a structural change to split the head football coach and athletic director duties.
“The athletic director position needs to focus on setting the overall direction and securing necessary resources to help underwrite the entire program,” said Smith. “In a new football coach, we are seeking a person with passion, energy and motivational skills to develop and lead a highly successful program consistent with a small college of distinction.”
To assist with both searches, Bethany will be using the help of an old friend of the College. Bob Goin, a 1959 Bethany graduate and current athletic director at the University of Cincinnati, will be aiding the school in their searches. Goin is retiring from Cincinnati, which will give him the opportunity to assist with the process almost immediately.
“To make this move at this time also has a lot to do with the opportunity that we have,” said Smith. “We have a grand opportunity to use a remarkable resource in Bob Goin. We now have someone who not only is at the top of the game nationally to assist us, but also someone who knows and loves Bethany.”
According to Goin, who is also a member of the school’s Board of Trustees, the chance to use his more than 35 years of athletic administration experience to help his alma mater in this capacity is a very exciting chance.
“In speaking with President Smith, I am very enthused to hear where he wants this college to be and I’m energized by having a chance to assist us in getting there,” said Goin, who also served as AD and chair of Bethany’s Physical Education Department from 1970-76 before moving on to West Virginia University. “I believe it is important to win because it reflects on the excellence of the College, but we are only as good as our resources. I am interested in using my experience, my love for the school and my influence as a board member to help us get where we need to go.”
Commenting on the timing of the decision, President Smith noted it needed to be made now to ensure that bright days are ahead for Bethany, both for the immediate and for the long-term future.
“We could have gotten there over a longer period of time but I see this as a chance to expedite the process,” said Smith. “While this is a dark day for three people about whom we very much care, I believe this decision was in the best interests of the College, not only in the short-run, but also in the long-term.”
To fill the athletic director duties, associate athletic director and head softball and volleyball coach, Jan Forsty, and assistant athletic director and head baseball coach, Rick Carver, will handle the day-to-day internal tasks until a new athletic director is found, which will not be until a football coach has been hired. That national search will begin immediately.