By Kathy Orton
Washington Post Staff Writer
Friday, February 18, 2011; 12:17 AM
Though Kvancz, who turns 65 in August, is retiring from day-to-day operations of the athletic department, he will remain at the university as a special adviser to Robert Chernak, senior vice provost and senior vice president for student and academic support services. Kvancz will be involved in the strategic planning for intercollegiate athletics as well as health and wellness.
In addition to Kvancz's retirement, Russell Ramsey, chairman of GW's Board of Trustees, announced that Randy Levine, president of the New York Yankees and a 1977 GW graduate, will chair a special committee that will perform a comprehensive review of athletics at the university.
"This is something I've given a lot of thought to over the last couple of years," Kvancz said. "And with the advent of this special committee that Randy is going to chair I think the time is right to do it. I'm really excited because maybe I can help, too."
The committee, which will be composed of school trustees and GW senior administrators, will develop a strategic plan for the athletics department by evaluating athletics management, sponsorships, fundraising and facilities. A steering committee of students, alumni, faculty and staff also will be formed.
"We have an ability to think about where we can strategically create areas of focus and excellence," Ramsey said. "Randy's going to help us think about it. . . . We want to have a strategic plan. We want everyone on the outside to understand that we're putting significant resources behind it."
Levine's committee will submit its report to the board of trustees in June.
"Together we will help shape the future of athletics at the university," Levine said in a statement released by the university. "GW has the commitment and passion to help our student-athletes reach their potential in the classroom, the field, the water and the court. From basketball to lacrosse, this is a great opportunity to take GW athletes to a new level."
Chernak said the search for a new athletic director will begin immediately and run concurrently with the committee's work.
"There is no way of assessing at this point how long it might take to identify that individual who will have some big shoes to fill when Jack vacates the position in June," Chernak said. "It will end when we identify a candidate who meets our expectations. . . . It's quite possible that the report will be done before an individual is identified or maybe after. There's no way of telling right now.
"We haven't gone as far as defining the exact attributes we're going to be looking for. We still have to draft a job description."
Under Kvancz, GW has sent its men's basketball team to six NCAA tournaments and its women's team to 12. The Colonials also have won multiple Atlantic 10 championships in men's and women's basketball, baseball, volleyball and men's and women's soccer.
Kvancz also has undertaken several capital improvements at GW. He oversaw the $43 million renovation of Smith Center, where the men's and women's basketball teams play their games; the construction of a new gymnasium that is used by the general student population; and expansion of the athletic facilities at GW's Mount Vernon campus.
Kvancz is well respected among his peers, serving on the NCAA men's basketball tournament selection committee and as president of the Atlantic 10 Conference athletic directors.
Before coming to GW, Kvancz was athletic director at George Mason for 12 years. He also served as the athletic director and men's basketball coach at Catholic.
A standout guard on Boston College teams coached by NBA great Bob Cousy, Kvancz led the Eagles to two NCAA tournament appearances in the 1960s. He was inducted into the New England Basketball Hall of Fame in 2003.