Russell resigns from athletic director position at Riordan
By Jeremy Balan
According to Vicki Terehyden, the director of communications at Archbishop Riordan High School, Pete Russell has resigned from his position as athletic director at the school.
Russell was hired near the end of the 2010-2011 school year and 2011-2012 was his first full season in the position.
Derek Tate, Riordan’s current dean of admission, has taken over as athletic director on an interim basis, while the school seeks a new full-time AD, but Terehyden said there is no time frame for when the school will fill the position.
“There will be a national search for next athletic director, to find the best fit,” Terehyden said. “You never know how long the hiring process will take. Mr. Tate is a good fit for it, considering his background. It’s a big job, but we have full confidence in him.”
Russell was handed the task of reviving the Riordan athletic department, taking over for long-time athletic director Ron Isola, but will likely be remembered most for his mistakes.
In January, Russell admitted to the Central Coast Section that he had an oversight in filing transfer paperwork for a varsity basketball player last season, forcing the Crusaders to forfeit five games, which knocked them out of CCS playoff contention.
Then, he made critical comments about the CCS when the section officially handed down the sanctions on Jan. 20.
“This seems a little harsh for high school kids,” Russell said in January. “We’re not Ohio State or Florida State. Maybe the CCS has to justify their salaries with rulings like this. I don’t know.”
The comments caused a rift between Russell and CCS commissioner Nancy Lazenby Blaser, who said his statement irreparably damaged their working relationship, which she called “nonexistent” in an interview on Aug. 6.
“The problem with that, and I feel bad for him, is that he’s going to need my help someday and it will be awkward,” Lazenby Blaser said. “He’s lost. He’s really struggled, I think, and he needs more help to do what he’s doing. I was thinking, what did you think the job was? I don’t think he really had a clue. An AD job at a high school is a [grind].”
Russell was a scout in the National Football League and did not have experience managing a high school athletic department prior to his time at Riordan.
Russell was contacted by SanFranPreps.com on Saturday, but was unavailable for comment.