Just a little over a month ago UAA announced the dismissal of former hockey coach Dave Shyiak. Now, after a vote of no confidence and many other negative implications, UAA’s Athletic Director Steve Cobb has been let go as well. This came shortly after a letter from Governor Sean Parnell expressed his dissatisfaction with how UAA has been handling the recruitment of a new hockey coach, and recent allegations of player abuse.
Tim McDiffett, UAA’s senior associate athletic director, will replace Cobb until the selection process for potential candidates can be completed.
Cobb has been with UAA for over 12 seasons, but the recent issues have led to community outcry for his dismissal.
Here is the official press release sent out earlier today:
ANCHORAGE, AK, May 29, 2013 – UAA Chancellor Tom Case today asked Athletic Director Steve Cobb to step down from his post, effective immediately. As an officer of the University, Dr. Cobb serves at will on six months’ notice.
“Dr. Cobb’s legacy at UAA includes a number of remarkable achievements of which we are all proud,” said Chancellor Tom Case. “However, it has become clear in recent days that despite his efforts, Steve will not be able to bring all elements of the public together in support of UAA, and that criticism of Steve has become a distraction from the great work that UAA does every day. Though it’s necessary for us to move ahead under new leadership in Seawolf Athletics, Dr. Cobb’s outstanding contributions to our student-athletes, the community and to Seawolf Nation have been unprecedented.”
During Cobb’s tenure, UAA produced 210 All-American athletes, 121 Academic All-American athletes, 15 conference championships and nine NCAA West Region titles. This spring, UAA student-athletes boasted an impressive cumulative average GPA of 3.21. In August 2014, UAA will open the Alaska Airlines Center, a new 5,600-seat community and athletic venue. All of these successes could not have been possible without the Dr. Cobb’s leadership and vision.
Senior associate athletic director Tim McDiffett will serve as acting athletic director until an interim is named and a search committee is formed for Cobb’s replacement.
The supplemental search committee for the next hockey coach will continue its work and plans to announce finalists soon.
Regarding the investigation into a 2011 incident between then hockey coach Dave Shyiak and a student-athlete, Chancellor Case said: “The police have now concluded all interviews. Although a final report is not yet complete, and consistent with the alleged victim’s position, I have been assured by police that the investigation found no basis for recommending criminal charges against Coach Shyiak or anyone else. I am particularly pleased that there was no evidence of intimidation of players and that the investigation confirmed that AD Cobb did in fact conduct a good faith review of the allegations at the time.”
Chancellor Case also stated, “In hindsight, it may have been more appropriate to have simply referred the matter to police at the time. However, Dr. Cobb concluded that the allegation was overstated, as has proven to be the case. Nevertheless, UAA takes seriously the need for students and student-athletes to feel safe at UAA and we will redouble our efforts to ensure that all students and employees understand reporting procedures for safety-related issues.”