Idaho’s state Board of Education has just voted unanimously to approve a new multi-year contract for a new athletic director at the University of Idaho: Terry Lynn Gawlik, who will be the first woman to fill that position. “Terry just really stood out,” University of Idaho President C. Scott Green told the state board. “I would say that we did run a very thorough search; we had 59 folks apply for the position. … It was a very high-quality pool.”

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Idaho State University in Pocatello also has an athletic director who is female; Pauline Thiros was formally appointed to the position March 15 after a national search. She had been serving as the interim athletic director since August of 2018.

Gawlik, currently the senior associate athletic director for sports administration at the University of Wisconsin, has 25 years experience, Green told the board. “She has run a number of NCAA committees, has an incredible network,” he said, and “has a reputation for integrity and being able to implement compliance solutions and Title 9 requirements when necessary. And basically she checked every box that we’re looking for, including one that she’s just very much looking forward to living in the state of Idaho.”

The UI hasn’t had an athletic director for about a year. Former AD Rob Spear was fired by the state board Aug. 16, 2018 after an investigation into the handling of sexual assault and harassment complaints involving UI athletes; he'd been on paid administrative leave for more than four months prior to the firing while the matter was investigated. However, Spear still is being paid; his contract doesn’t run out until Feb. 17, 2020. He's now being paid about $94,000 a year by the university, after taking a job as executive director of the Idaho Falls Auditorium District in April that pays $100,000 a year. Under his contract, that triggered a reduction of his former state salary of $181,958 a year.

State payroll records classify Spear as still on paid administrative leave, though the university calls that an accounting quirk due to his status as a terminated employee who's still being paid through the end of his contract.

State board members voted unanimously to approve a new contract with Gawlik that starts Sept. 1, 2019 and runs through July 31, 2024. Board member Emma Atchley said its “liquidated damages” provisions, should the university terminate the contract “for convenience” — as it did with Spear’s — is much improved. 

That provision states that if the university were to terminate the contract "for convenience," not for cause, Gawlik would be entitled to half her salary "as liquidated damages and not a penalty," either until the end of the contract or until she obtains "reasonably comparable employment, whichever occurs first." That's a big change from Spear's contract, which said he'd receive his full salary.

Both include the clause saying that if the former director obtains other employment, the continuing payments would be reduced so that the combination of the payments and their new salary wouldn't exceed their previous full UI salary.

Board members said they appreciated that the new contract with Gawlik is equal to both sides on liquidated damages: If she were to terminate her contract "for convenience" because she'd found another job, she'd have to pay UI half her salary until her contract term ended. Under Spear's contract, he would have been obligated to pay half or less of his salary, in amounts that decreased each year, but the university had to pay his full salary.

Said board member Richard Westerberg, "The liquidated damage/for convenience element in this contract is I think a huge step forward, and I really appreciate all of the University of Idaho staff working really hard to get a more balanced approach to the way we do liquidated damages."

The UI has issued this news release about the appointment:

Terry Gawlik Named University of Idaho Director of Athletics

MOSCOW, Idaho – Aug. 7, 2019 – University of Idaho President C. Scott Green announced today the hire of Terry Gawlik as the Vandals’ new director of athletics following approval by the Idaho State Board of Education. Gawlik brings 25 years of leadership experience in intercollegiate athletics, including 14 years as the designated senior woman administrator at the University of Wisconsin.

“Terry Gawlik is a talented leader who brings vision, enthusiasm, experience and integrity to this position,” Green said. “We are thrilled to add someone with a decades-long track record of commitment to student-athlete success – in competition, in the classroom and in the community. She is the right leader for our Vandal Athletics program as we build a culture of excellence now and for many years to come. Terry has extensive experience in NCAA men’s and women’s athletics which has allowed her to develop a broad network of coaches and administrators that sets her apart.”

As Wisconsin’s senior associate athletic director for sport administration, Gawlik serves as a key member of Wisconsin’s senior staff and is responsible for the direct supervision of 10 sports and associated budgets, six head coaches and 425 student-athletes. Her career includes extensive leadership roles on Big Ten Conference and NCAA committees. Over the past 12 years, she has chaired the NCAA Division I Women’s Basketball Committee, the NCAA Division I Women’s Volleyball Committee and the NCAA Division I Men’s Soccer Committee.

Gawlik develops, manages and monitors the department’s strategic plans and its policies and decision-making processes, including gender equity and diversity issues, coaching staff evaluations, recommendations and contract extensions. Gawlik also oversees the department’s implementation and compliance with policies and procedures regarding Title IX, gender equity, diversity and sexual assault and violence training.

“I am very honored to accept this position and become a member of this great Vandal community,” Gawlik said. “My passion is developing people – our student-athletes, our coaches and our staff. Together we will continue to build championship programs. I know President Green has a great vision for this institution and for the athletic department. I will work every day to lead and help facilitate this vision.”

Gawlik has been with the Badgers since 1994, working first as the event coordinator for men’s and women’s basketball and volleyball (1994-97), before becoming an assistant athletic director (1997-2005), associate athletic director (2005-11) and most recently a senior associate athletic director (2011-19).

Gawlik is heavily involved in campus committees and organizations at Wisconsin, where she is the campus and athletic department Title IX deputy. She serves on the Campus Equity and Diversity Committee and Campus Clery Act Committee. Within athletics, she chairs the Senior Staff Working Group on Equity and Diversity, as well as co-chairs the Gender Equity, Diversity and Student Welfare Committee.

Prior to joining Wisconsin Athletics, Gawlik coached at three different colleges in her native Texas. She served as the head coach for basketball, volleyball, tennis and track and field during her stops at Mary Hardin-Baylor, St. Mary’s University and Austin College.

Gawlik was a basketball and volleyball student-athlete at Southwestern University, where she graduated with a degree in physical education and English. She went on to earn her master’s degree in physical education and educational administration from Texas State. Terry and her husband Dan, a research scientist at the University of Wisconsin School of Medicine, have two children: a son, Matt Fitzsimons who resides in Colorado; and a daughter, Katy, who resides in Michigan with her husband Kevin Mack.

Gawlik will start her position at Idaho Sept. 1. Her contract includes a base annual salary of $200,000 and runs approximately five years through July 31, 2024. The agreement also includes academic and athletic performance incentives.

Betsy Z. Russell is the Boise bureau chief and state capitol reporter for the Idaho Press and Adams Publishing Group. Follow her on Twitter at @BetsyZRussell.

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