ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (AP) - The University of New Mexico on Monday appointed one of its deputy athletic directors to head the department until the position is permanently filled, marking the first time a woman will oversee all of the university’s athletics programs.
Janice Ruggiero is stepping in following the abrupt retirement of Paul Krebs, who was facing increasing criticism for spending public money on a 2015 golf trip to Scotland that included private donors.
State auditors and the attorney general’s office are continuing inquiries into the trip and overall spending despite the departure of Krebs, who had been at the helm since 2006.
Interim university President Chaouki Abdallah said Monday he was honored to appoint Ruggiero to the temporary post.
“I have every confidence in Janice’s ability to lead our programs,” he said in a statement.
Ruggiero played high school basketball under coach Don Flanagan, who went on to become the university’s winningest coach before retiring in 2011. She also played three seasons at UNM and graduated with a business degree in 1989.
She began working for the athletic department in 1990 and went on to earn a master’s in sports administration. Over nearly three decades with UNM, she has worked as a coach, an adviser, a compliance officer and has served on various NCAA committees.
“As a lifelong Lobo - in the classroom, on the court and as an administrator - I am excited to take on this new endeavor,” said Ruggiero, who most recently served as deputy athletic director for internal operations and senior woman administrator.
She thanked Krebs for advancing the department when it came to academics, competitiveness and sporting facilities.
During Krebs’ tenure, the Lobos won 57 Mountain West titles and seven other titles in different conferences. The 34 championships won from 2011-12 to 2014-15 make up the best title stretch in school history.
University officials said the search for Krebs’ replacement will begin within the month.
Krebs’ last day is June 30. He’s taking accrued annual leave through the end of the month.
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