Athletic Director Rick Dickson announces retirement

Mackenna Barker, Online Sports Editor

Tulane Athletic Director Rick Dickson announced Friday that he intends to retire in May 2016.

Dickson served as the helm of Tulane Athletics for the last 15 years, guiding the Green Wave through a plethora of ups and downs in his time as athletic director. Most notably, Dickson led Tulane through the devastating season of Hurricane Katrina when the future of Tulane athletics remained uncertain.

He has not escaped controversy in his 15 years with the Wave. He has faced criticism in recent years for the lack of success of several Tulane teams. This disapproval has been manifested in many forms, most recently with a banner reading “Fire Dickson” flown over Yulman Stadium in its opening game on Sept. 6, 2014.

Despite the criticism he faced, his legacy holds up for his role in reconstructing Tulane Athletics following the Hurricane Katrina season as well as his dedication to the student-athletes.

Known for having the ability to greet the 300 student-athletes by name, his commitment to them and Tulane is rarely questioned.

Following the devastation of Katrina, other schools offered Dickson jobs where he would not have to reconstruct an athletics program, but he stayed firmly at Tulane.

Dickson leaves the Wave in good shape and at a time that holds potential for a new height in Tulane athletics. In the time since Katrina, Tulane has seen a rebirth in athletics. Under Dickson, Tulane saw the construction of $100 million worth of new facilities, including the building of the Hertz Center and Yulman Stadium, as well as the renovations of Devlin Fieldhouse and Turchin Stadium. In 2014, he led the teams into new, more competitive play in the American Athletic Conference.

“Rick has the devotion, respect and love of the Tulane University community,” President Mike Fitts said. “Among his many achievements is bringing Green Wave athletics back from the evacuation of 300 student-athletes and the subsequent shutdown of several programs in 2005 to a full complement of 16 teams in 2007. Rick has been a tremendous resource to me as a new president and has helped me understand the complex issues surrounding intercollegiate athletics. I will miss him.”

Dickson, a native of Tulsa, Oklahoma, took the office of Tulane athletic director in 2000. Prior to coming to New Orleans, Dickson first served as athletics director for six years at his alma matter, the University of Tulsa, and then served as athletics director at Washington State from 1994 to 2000.

During the Dickson era, Tulane teams won 41 Conference USA titles and advanced to NCAA postseason play 36 times. This includes two bowl games in 2002 and 2013, the 2001 and 2005 College World Series and the 2009, 2010, 2013 and 2014 NCAA Women’s Golf Championships.

Beyond the athletic performances, Green Wave athletes in the Dickson era have been distinguished by their academic successes. Tulane’s student-athletes compiled a semester GPA of 3.0 and ranked among the NCAA leaders in graduation rates while Dickson has been in office, as well as consistently scoring above the national averages in the NCAA’s Academic Performance Rates.

Dickson looks fondly upon his career at the helm of Tulane Athletics.

“When I look back on my 29 years in this business, my fondest memories are those I made at Tulane,” Dickson said. “I am most proud of what this program has done to transform the lives of so many of the young men and women who have worn a Green Wave uniform during my time here. I will miss them, my staff and coaches the most.”