Wichita State fires athletic director Darron Boatright, university president comments

Wichita State University fired Athletic Director Darron Boatright on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.
Wichita State University fired Athletic Director Darron Boatright on Wednesday, May 4, 2022.(KWCH)
Published: May. 4, 2022 at 11:50 AM CDT
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WICHITA, Kan. (KWCH) - Update 1:10 p.m. Wichita State president Richard Muma provided the following statement regarding Boatright’s firing:

Today, I write to let you know of a transition in our Department of Athletics. Earlier today, I informed Director of Athletics Darron Boatright, who has served the Shockers for 12 years, six as the full-time director, that we are making a change in the leadership of the department.

While there were certainly achievements and successes during Darron’s tenure, there were significant, ongoing concerns that became acute in recent weeks, ones that I did not believe could be addressed. This decision is in the best interests of Wichita State, our coaches and staff, and our student-athletes.

I have asked Senior Associate Athletic Director / SWA Sarah Adams to serve as our Interim Director of Athletics and I am confident that she will provide us with the leadership, stability and compassion needed during the transition.

Read the rest of the statement here.

Athletic director Darron Boatright has been fired by Wichita State, a source confirmed with KWCH late Tuesday morning.

Boatright was named athletic director on Aug. 16, 2016, after serving in other roles within the athletic department. He signed a two-year contract extension in October 2020, which kept him under contract through June 2024, but it wasn’t announced by the university. The Wichita Eagle discovered the extension through an open records request in February.

Boatright served while the university conducted an independent investigation into former men’s basketball coach Gregg Marshall, after former players levied allegations of verbal and physical abuse against Marshall. The investigation ultimately led to Marshall’s resignation, albeit with a significant settlement of nearly $8 million. Boatright’s firing comes almost a year to the day (May 6, 2021) after Rick Muma was named university president after previously serving in an interim capacity.

Boatright’s highest-profile hires were naming Isaac Brown as Marshall’s permanent replacement after Brown served in an interim capacity to begin the 2020-21 basketball season. Boatright also hired baseball coach Eric Wedge, a former major league manager who, as their catcher, helped lead the Shockers to the 1989 national championship.

Recently, a group called Save Shocker Sports purchased billboard advertising calling for Boatright’s firing. The group claimed Boatright and other members of the administration had “fallen behind on a number of things - (name, image, likeness) deals, athletic department transparency, facilities, and fundraising to name a few.”

Boatright, along with former university president John Bardo, led the movement of Wichita State from the Missouri Valley Conference, where it had been a member since 1949, to the American Athletic Conference in 2017. WSU’s men’s basketball team won the conference during a COVID-shortened 2020-21 season, but fell back to a 15-13 record and 6-9 mark in the AAC.

After the season, nine Shockers entered the transfer portal. One, point guard Craig Porter, elected to return, but WSU was forced to almost completely remake its roster for the second time in three seasons. The investigation into Marshall occurred after a similar number of players elected to leave the program.

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