CORAL GABLES (CBSMiami/AP) – The University of Miami Athletic Director who oversaw the school’s move from the Big East to the Atlantic Conference has passed way.
Paul Dee, who was Miami’s athletic director from 1993 through 2008, died Saturday night at the age of 65.
“We lost a teacher, leader, friend and a truly loyal man today,” Miami athletic director Shawn Eichorst said. “Paul Dee devoted every ounce of energy and passion to the University of Miami over many, many years. The Hurricane family sends its condolences and grieves along with his family and friends.”
During Dee’s tenure as Athletic Director, UM won three national championships—two in baseball (1999 and 2001) and one in football (2001). He led the successful efforts to raise University of Miami student-athletes’ academic performance, and today every sports team surpasses the NCAA’s Academic Progress Report’s minimum standards.
Under his leadership, the University significantly improved its athletic facilities, including building the BankUnited Center and renovations to Mark Light Field at Alex Rodriguez Park.
Before serving as its AD, Dee started work as Miami’s general counsel in 1981.
“The entire University of Miami community is saddened by the loss of Paul Dee,” Miami President Donna Shalala said. “A proud alumnus, he will be remembered for his distinguished career and service to the University.”
Dee also was a member of the NCAA’s committee on infractions, most notably when sanctions — including a bowl ban, scholarship reductions and forfeiture of games — came down against Southern California in 2010, all stemming from improper benefits given to then-Heisman Trophy winner Reggie Bush by sports marketers. Dee chaired the committee at the time, then saying “higher-profile players require higher-profile monitoring.”
Those words were oft-repeated a year later, when Miami found itself dealing with another high-profile NCAA scandal.
Widespread claims came out in 2011 of extra benefits having been provided by rogue booster and convicted Ponzi scheme architect Nevin Shapiro during an eight-year span, much of which occurred during Dee’s time as athletic director. That investigation is ongoing, with sanctions possible in the coming months.
“I don’t think any of us had any idea what he was doing,” Dee said last year.
Dee was a past recipient of the James W. McLamore Outstanding Service Award, something Miami established to recognize service to the university that went “above and beyond the call of duty,” plus earned the school’s Faculty Senate Award of Merit and President’s Medal in 2008. He was also a member of the University of Miami and Palm Beach County sports halls of fame, as well as the Orange Bowl committee.
Dee was remembered for a huge commitment for strengthening the Hurricanes’ programs in women’s sports.
“Paul Dee was as generous, kind and patient as anyone I’ve ever met in athletics,” Miami women’s basketball coach Katie Meier said. “His vision for intercollegiate athletics was based on integrity and equality. I will miss my mentor, adviser and friend.”
Dee graduated from Florida in 1970 with a degree in political science before earning a master’s degree from Miami in 1973 and a law degree there four years later.
“Ever since I came to Miami, I’ve loved Miami,” Dee said in a 2007 interview with The Associated Press.
Dee, who earned his master’s degree in education in 1973 and juris doctorate degree in 1977, was currently a member of UM’s School of Education faculty after having served the University in several roles. He was inducted into the University of Miami Sports Hall of Fame and was a member of the Iron Arrow Society, UM’s most prestigious honor. He was a member of the Florida Bar and was honored several times by the Boy Scouts of America and other civic organizations.
Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced. In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations be made to the Paul T. Dee Fund for The University of Miami Athletics Department and the School of Law. Please send donations to the University of Miami, Advancement Division, P.O. Box 248073, Coral Gables, FL 33124.
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