08/02/04 — Cassell to step down as MOC's AD

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Cassell to step down as MOC's AD

By David Williams
Published in Sports on August 2, 2004 1:55 PM

MOUNT OLIVE -- Dr. Allen C. "Mac" Cassell announced today he will step down as Director of Athletics at Mount Olive College after the conclusion of the 2004-05 academic year.

Cassell will devote full-time to teaching duties at the college in the department of Recreation and Leisure Studies.

Cassell, who is a full professor, says spending more time with his family, as well as his passion for teaching, were the motivating factors behind his decision.

"When you have a chance to pause and think about where you are and where you're going, you start thinking about family and commitments," said Cassell. "You start thinking about time and what's important. That thought process led me to the decision to make the transition from athletics to teaching full-time. I love to teach, plus having the three months off in the summer will allow me the opportunity to spend more time with my family."

Cassell and his wife Linda live in Mount Olive, while their son and daughter are grown and live in different parts of the country. The Cassells also have three grandchildren.

Cassell was hired as Mount Olive's athletics director in 1994. He oversaw the school's transition from its final year as a member of the NAIA to NCAA Division II membership. Under Cassell, the athletics program has grown from nine sports in 1994 to 14 varsity sports and three junior varsity sports today.

In Cassell's first decade at Mount Olive, the Trojans have won or shared Carolinas-Virginia Athletics Conference championships in baseball, men's basketball, softball and volleyball. The Trojans have been represented in NCAA II post-season competition in baseball, men's basketball, men's cross country, women's cross country and women's tennis.

"Needless to say, I've experienced more than a few sleepless nights in making this decision because of my passion for athletics and my commitment to the staff I helped assemble," said Cassell.

Mount Olive College President Dr. J. William Byrd praised Cassell for his accomplishments as athletics director and looks forward to having him as a full-time faculty member.

"Mac has represented Mount Olive's athletics program at the local, conference and NCAA levels very ably," said Byrd. "He has brought a high level of integrity and quality to our school and he has provided a long-range view of building a solid athletics program at Mount Olive College. We are all grateful to Mac for his contributions as athletics director and we look forward to his continued contributions as a full-time professor."

Cassell expressed gratitude towards Dr. Byrd and to former president Dr. W. Burkette Raper.

"I am very grateful to Dr. Raper for hiring me and to Dr. Byrd for all of his support," said Cassell. "I'm also grateful to Dr. Byrd for allowing me to move forward to a new phase in my life.

"The experiences I've had here, the people I've gotten to meet and the places I've gone to, I couldn't have imagined when I first walked in the door. Personally and professionally, my experience as athletics director has been rewarding and fulfilling."

In his capacity as athletics director, Cassell has been active within the NCAA, having served on the Board of Directors of the Division II Athletics Director Association since its inception in 1996, including terms as president, second vice-president and third vice-president. He also spent four years on the NCAA II Golf Committee and was tournament director for two national championships. Cassell is one of only four athletics directors in the CVAC who have served as AD at their school since the conference moved to NCAA Division II in 1995.

"Mac is highly regarded in the CVAC as a leader and he has played leadership roles in NCAA Division II as well," said Byrd.

Cassell says most of his committee terms conclude at the end of 2004-05 and that also played a role in the timing of his decision.

Although he will no longer serve in the athletics department in an official capacity, Cassell assures that he will always be a part of Mount Olive College athletics.

"I know this year is going to be an exciting year for Mount Olive College athletics, and it'll be tough to just walk away after the year is over," said Cassell. "But even though I won't be sitting in the athletics director's chair after this year, I'll always have a passion for Mount Olive College athletics and Mount Olive College athletics will always be a part of me."

A national search for Cassell's successor will begin in the fall.