Buning: 'I didn't quit' AD job
Tom Buning said he'll always be a Fighting Sioux fan, adding he has no regrets that he took the UND athletic director's job two years ago. Speaking today to the Herald after remaining silent publicly since his resignation as UND's athletic direct...
Tom Buning said he'll always be a Fighting Sioux fan, adding he has no regrets that he took the UND athletic director's job two years ago.
Speaking today to the Herald after remaining silent publicly since his resignation as UND's athletic director last week, Buning disclosed neither why he resigned nor why he took an extended leave of absence after a survey critical of his management style was completed.
"The leave of absence was a necessary step I had to take to protect my family, myself and my professional career," Buning said from his Grand Forks home.
Buning said he did not resign because of the low marks he received in the survey, adding he considered the results part of the process of building the athletic department.
He also would not say whether he was fired by UND vice president of general administration Phil Harmeson, who became Buning's boss on July 1.
"I did not give up on UND, the student-athletes, or the coaches," Buning said. "I didn't quit."
Buning said he decided to talk to the media to put closure to his highly publicized leave of absence and resignation.
Also, he said, it was time for UND to move forward as the school moves toward NCAA Division athletics in the fall of 2008.
Buning was hired in 2005, but he announced on Sept. 17 that we would take a leave of absence. The leave came shortly after he was presented with preliminary results of an anonymous athletic department survey that was completed by staff members and coaches.
Neither Buning nor UND commented on the leave of absence.
Last week, Buning resigned. In a statement, he thanked UND President Charles Kupchella and the people at UND "for giving me a chance to be your athletic director and take this wonderful athletic department to the next level, Division I."
Buning, who came to UND after serving as an associate athletic director at Army, said the last month was difficult, but manageable.
"It's not anything we've had to experience before," Buning said. "In that respect, there are some things you can't prepare for until they happen. But we were blessed with a strong faith, good friends and community support. That allowed us to put this into perspective. This was all very manageable."
Buning said he would like to continue in collegiate athletics.
He also was asked if he had any regrets about coming to UND, considering the events of the last two months.
"I'll always be very proud of the opportunity to serve as the athletic director at UND," he said.
Buning received about $144,000 14 months severance pay and about $10,000 in vacation pay under the settlement.
More on this story in Friday's Grand Forks Herald.