Fresno State

Tumey linked to UCLA athletics director position, but says his focus is with Fresno State

UCLA athletics director Dan Guerrero will retire in June after 17 years that included successes everywhere except on the football field and basketball court.

With that development, attention on Friday quickly turned to potential replacements and Fresno State athletics director Terry Tumey is getting a lot of early play. Several news organizations including the Los Angeles Times have reported the former Bruins defensive lineman and assistant football coach is considered among the front-runners for the job.

Tumey, though, said he is focused on Fresno State and moving forward an athletics department struggling under the weight of 21 sports programs and solving major facilities issues.

“As an alum it’s nice to see things like that,” Tumey said. “However, right now, it’s a distraction to what we’re trying to build here at Fresno State.

“What we’re trying to concentrate on is how we can represent this Valley and this institution in a way that is appropriate and equal to the greatness of this university. For us, that’s where our focus is. That’s where my focus is and that’s where it will continue to be as we move forward.”

The Bulldogs’ athletics director has a five-year contract at Fresno State that runs through 2023. If Tumey were to accept comparable employment, resign or terminate his appointment prior to its normal expiration, he would have to pay the university an early-departure fee.

According to the contract, should separation from employment come on or before July, 31, 2021, he would owe the university $600,000; should it come between Aug. 1, 2021 and July 31, 2022, he would owe the university $300,000.

After Aug. 1, 2022, there is no early-departure fee.

UCLA won 32 national championships under Guerrero, but has not won a Pac-12 championship in football and this season is off to an 0-3 start. The Bruins last played in a Rose Bowl in 1999, the program’s most recent major bowl appearance. UCLA has not won a Rose Bowl since 1986, when Tumey was playing for the Bruins.

Utah athletics director Mark Harlan, a former UCLA athletics administrator, also has been connected to the job by media reports along with Josh Rebholz, the Bruins’ senior associate athletics director for external relations.

Robert Kuwada: @rkuwada
Related stories from Fresno Bee