NIC athletic director to retire

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COEUR d'ALENE — Al Williams, who has been North Idaho College athletic director since 2003, announced he will retire from the position, NIC's president told employees Monday.

"We wish Al the very best," President Rick MacLennan wrote. Williams' last day on the job will be Sept. 27.

Graydon Stanley, vice president for Student Services, will serve as acting athletic director in the interim.

Williams could not be reached for comment on Monday.

"We are reviewing the job description and will work to get an announcement out about the vacancy as soon as possible," NIC spokeswoman Laura Rumpler said.

Williams previously served as an assistant men's basketball coach at the University of Denver and was the assistant director of athletics development from 2001 to 2002.

He played basketball for NIC and the University of Idaho.

Under Williams' leadership, the Cardinals have enjoyed success on the regional and national levels.

The women's basketball team won the 2011 National Junior College Athletic Association championship, while the wrestling team won the 2013 national title. Other programs, including men's basketball, volleyball, soccer and golf, have also had success.

Williams helped transition the Cardinals from the NJCAA to the Northwest Athletic Conference, excluding wrestling, from 2014 to 2016.

Williams' retirement comes less than a month after the NWAC penalized the men's basketball team for league violations of using booster-club funds to pay for housing during the summers of 2017 and 2018, using such funds without NIC Business Office oversight and operating camps in violation of NWAC rules.

NWAC's executive board ruled that:

• During the summer of 2021, NWAC will work with NIC to conduct a review of the college's progress on league rule compliance;

• Williams may not serve on the NWAC executive board while the athletic department is on three years of probation; and

• Of the $30,000 fine, $10,000 is suspended pending review in 2021 and the executive board's determination of satisfactory progress.

"As I have stated before, I ask that you all commit to supporting our student-athletes and coaches perhaps now more than ever," MacLennan wrote in his memo. "We were unsuccessful in our appeal to the NWAC but are committed to rising above and creating a stronger athletics department. Our athletic teams are a great connection between the community and NIC and have been and will continue to be a point of pride for us all."

MacLennan wrote that he and NIC board members have heard that some in the community would like to propose that NIC leave the NWAC and return to the Scenic West Athletic Conference of the NJCAA.

"While I believe that the treatment NIC athletics received from NWAC leadership for league violations was excessive, I am also mindful that NIC did violate conference rules," he wrote.

"We are correcting our mistakes and taking steps to create a culture of compliance and collegiality within the athletics department. While the board of trustees may, in the future, discuss our conference status and ask the administration to reexamine available options, this is not currently under consideration."

The NIC board agenda at 6 p.m. on Sept. 25 in the Student Union Building will include a discussion on the college's relationship with the NWAC. Public comment will be accepted.

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