By Lauren Barthold | @bylaurenb
The past week brought much breaking news on the campus of Oakland University (OU).
On Wednesday, OU President Dr. Gary D. Russi suddenly announced his retirement in an email to students.
In it, he recapped some of his accomplishments and said, “During my tenure, I am proud that the University has experienced tremendous growth. Our student population has grown to nearly 20,000, and the academic credentials of incoming first-year students have improved significantly. More than 65 new academic degree programs have been added since 1995, and full-time faculty has grown to more than 500. During this time, Oakland University has invested – often with state support – more than $400 million to enrich environments for teaching, research, learning and living.”
Dr. Russi’s retirement is effective August 1st of this year, and the current Associate Vice President for Outreach, Betty J. Youngblood, Ph.D. will serve as interim president.
But it did not stop there.
Just a couple of hours later, a press release from OU’s athletic website, ougrizzlies.com announced that Dr. Russi’s wife and women’s basketball coach Beckie Francis had been “relieved of her position effective immediately”. Jeff Tungate will serve as interim coach.
Francis took to twitter to also recap, “The work I have been doing over last year to bring awareness to issue of sexual assault is a very personal passion; I will keep advocating.” She had tweeted earlier, “Looking forward to next phase of life. Gary & I have talked about retiring for a while now-it’s time for both of us. Wish Oakland the best.”
Research said otherwise. Francis is only 47 years old, leaving her a long way to the average retirement age. On top of that, Francis hired a new assistant on May 1st, along with participated in a Horizon League announcement that took place on May 8th in Detroit. By the looks of it, Francis had no plans to leave OU.
Click on the link below to listen as WXOU News talks with Sports Director Don Tottingham about the story, even offering his personal opinions on the whole thing.