Red Wings name Derek Lalonde their new head coach

CMU losing longtime athletic director to Arizona

Tony Paul
The Detroit News

Dave Heeke is trading some MACtion for some Paction.

Four candidates have been identified to replace Dave Heeke as Central Michigan athletic director.

Heeke, the longtime athletic director at Central Michigan, is leaving the university for the same position at Arizona, the schools announced Saturday.

Heeke, a native of East Lansing, has been Central Michigan's athletic director since December 2005, taking over for retiring Herb Deromedi. Prior to arriving at Central Michigan, Heeke spent 18 years in Oregon's athletic department, rising to senior associate athletics director/chief of staff.

"Dave is an awesome athletic director, but even a better person, which is a lot coming from a Bronco to a Chippewa," said Western Michigan athletic director Kathy Beauregard, upon hearing media reports of Heeke's departure.

"Dave has, from his first day, talked about our special rivalry and wanted to make sure we respect it and emphasized making sure all representing CMU never took elite sportsmanship out of the most important relationships. That was extremely special. We will deeply miss his leadership within the MAC, but wish Dave and his family genuine congratulations.

"Arizona found the perfect hire."

A graduate of Albion College, Heeke emerged from a pool of 65 candidates in Arizona's national search.

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He has overseen some good times in Mount Pleasant, with the football team winning three Mid-American Conference championships, one under Brian Kelly and two under Heeke's hire, Butch Jones.

The basketball team won the last two MAC West Division championships under Keno Davis, another coach hired by Heeke.

There have been extensive facility upgrades during Heeke's tenure, too, most notably to the basketball facilities and the football stadium. There also were many upgrades to facilities for non-revenue sports. He also brokered an apparel deal with adidas.

CMU's cumulative student-athlete GPA has exceeded 3.0 for 11 consecutive years.

"I couldn't be more excited to be part of the Arizona athletics family," Heeke said in a statement. "I also want to thank all of the terrific people at Central Michigan University who have been so wonderful to our family during my time in Mount Pleasant.

"Arizona has developed a storied history and tradition and I'm looking forward to being a part of the next chapter in Tucson."

At Arizona, he replaces Greg Byrne, who left to become athletic director at Alabama.

Heeke, a baseball and field-hockey athlete growing up, will be the boss of Rich Rodriguez, the former football coach at Michigan. He could be on the hot seat, with Arizona going from 10 wins in 2004 to seven in 2015 and three this season, including a 1-8 record in the Pac-12.

Heeke and his wife, Liz, have three boys, Ryan Max and Zach.

Candidates to replace Heeke could include Central Michigan senior associate athletic director Craig Willey and Oakland athletic director Jeff Konya, among others.

Central Michigan had another departure Saturday, with newly named offensive coordinator Gino Guidugli leaving to join the staff at Cincinnati, where he received a $75,000 raise. Coach John Bonamego is expected to hire from outside the program to fill the job.