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University of Idaho Names First Female Athletic Director

Terry Lynn Gawlik represents a new chapter in University of Idaho athletics


The University of Idaho has named a new athletic director, the first woman to ever take the helm of Vandal athletics. Terry Lynn Gawlik was named the new athletic director by the State Board of Education on Aug. 7.

Gawlik comes to Idaho from the University of Wisconsin-Madison, where she was the senior associate athletic director. She had worked for the university since 1994, and she will start at the University of Idaho on Sept. 1.

“I think the university is thrilled about where we’re going right now,” said Jodi Walker, director of communications for the University of Idaho. “Her connections and knowledge of people in the industry will be a huge asset.”

Walker said the university was looking for someone with integrity and connections in collegiate athletics—“Preferably, someone who can win some games,” she said.

There were a total of 59 applicants for the role, 10 of which were deemed finalists.

Gawlik represents the turning of a page for the university’s athletic department, which was steeped in controversy with the ousting of the former director. The former athletic director, Rob Spear, was placed on administrative leave after the athletic department was accused of mishandling sexual assault allegations.

"A review of past response to sexual assault allegations within the athletics department is ongoing and unrelated to this decision," read a statement from the university, Boise Weekly reported previously. "A final report from the external reviewers is expected soon."

The university brought in two outside investigators to determine whether the athletic department should have handled sexual assault cases differently and whether the director exerted improper influence over the volleyball and women’s soccer teams.

The report found that the department had not given adequate resources to a member of the women’s diving team who reported a sexual assault. However, the report did not find that Spear improperly used his influence, the Idaho Press reported.