- Associated Press - Friday, April 11, 2014

ARKANSAS CITY, Kan. (AP) - After less than a year on the job, Cowley College President Clark Williams has abruptly resigned amid complaints about his decision to drop the school’s soccer programs and other controversial moves.

Williams resigned in an email Thursday, a day after more than 200 people showed up at a special meeting of the Cowley College Board of Trustees to discuss the Arkansas City college’s direction. The trustees met in closed session Wednesday night and did not discuss any issues with the public, The Arkansas City Traveler reported (http://bit.ly/QcKkZq ).

Williams‘ tenure, which began in July, also included the firing of men’s basketball coach Tommy DeSalme, the resignation of veteran administrator Charles McKown and the impending retirement of longtime softball coach Ed Hargrove.

“I will step down as president of Cowley College at the close of business, today,” Williams wrote Thursday. “Before I depart, however, I would like to signal to the superb faculty and staff of this outstanding college that I have enjoyed working with each and every one of you.”

Tony Crouch, executive vice president of business services for the college, will serve as interim president, effective Friday. He was interim president for six months last year before Williams was hired.

“It is unfortunate that Mr. Williams has resigned as president of Cowley College, but it is in the best interest of the college and Mr. Williams at this time,” board chairman Ron Godsey said.

The decision to eliminate the men’s and women’s soccer programs was announced March 25, one day after DeSalme was fired. The college cited budget problems.

Cowley trustee Jim Ramirez, a strong critic of Williams, noted criticism began shortly after Williams became president. He said Williams and the board didn’t mesh well and his tenure had been “an extensive learning curve” for all involved.

“It’s not just soccer, it’s a number of things,” Ramirez said.

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Information from: The Arkansas City (Kan.) Traveler, http://www.arkcity.net