UPDATE: ASU Re-Assigns Athletic Director Dean Lee

Arkansas State University said Tuesday that it is re-assigning Athletic Director Dean Lee to another position at the university.

In a news release, ASU confirmed what sources told ArkansasSports360.com earlier in the day: that Lee will remain employed at ASU in the university's advacement office. He will be associate vice chancellor for advancement.

"He will work closely with Vice Chancellor Cristian Murdock as ASU gears up for an international fundraising effort," ASU said in a news release, available in full at the end of this story. The university also said Lee's salary will remain at $150,123.

A search for a new athletic director will begin immediately. Senior associate athletic director Doug Abel will serve as interim athletic director.

Lee signed a three-year extension on June 5, which would have kept him as athletic director through June 30, 2015.

The move comes as ASU prepares for its first football season under new head coach Gus Malzhan, a former offensive coordinator for the University of Arkansas Razorbacks and Auburn University, where in 2010 he helped coach the team to a national championship. 

The hiring of Malzahn, which followed a 10-win season under former head coach Hugh Freeze, has prompted university officials to set their sights on raising the profile of the ASU football program.

A Decade at ASU

Lee came to ASU in 2002, succeeding Paul Griffin, who resigned earlier that year after less than a year in the position.

Lee came to ASU from Oklahoma State University, where he was executive director of the OSU Athletic Associates and assistant vice president of the OSU Foundation. He joined the OSU staff as associate director of athletics for the Big 12 Conference school in 1997.

Before that, he spent two years as athletic director at Arkansas Tech University in Russellville. While at Tech, he directed the school’s move from the NAIA to the NCAA Division II level.

Lee also worked as vice president of the Razorback Foundation at the University of Arkansas from 1988 until he left for Tech in 1995. While at Fayetteville, he also served on the faculty as an instructor.

Full Statement from ASU

Arkansas State University-Jonesboro Chancellor Tim Hudson announced today that Director of Athletics Dr. Dean Lee will fill a vacancy in the University Advancement division as associate vice chancellor, effective immediately. He will work closely with vice chancellor Cristian Murdock as ASU gears up for an international fundraising effort.

Lee’s salary will remain at $150,123 upon joining Advancement.

“We appreciate Dr. Lee’s service to Arkansas State University in the role of Athletic Director,” said Dr. Hudson. “Under his tenure, ASU has enjoyed progressive changes in donations, academics, facilities and attendance. Given his background, he will be an asset to University Advancement in our quest for additional resources.”

Chancellor Hudson has asked Dr. Chuck Welch, president of the Arkansas State University System, to head a national search for a new director of athletics. “We expect to move quickly to hire a new AD,” said Dr. Welch. “We will be looking for an individual who understands the business of athletics and is poised to further the momentum ASU is currently experiencing. We expect to attract high-caliber candidates who bring with them the leadership expertise to take ASU’s athletic programs to the next level. ” The search will launch immediately. Senior Associate Director of Athletics Doug Abel will serve asinterim director of athletics until the position is filled.