Marquette athletic director Cottingham resigns

Marquette athletic director Steve Cottingham resigned Thursday,

parting ways with a program facing scrutiny for recent legal

issues.

Cottingham was named the school’s interim athletic director in

January 2007 and took the role on a permanent basis a year later.

He oversaw a tumultuous transition after men’s basketball coach Tom

Crean left for Indiana, and successor Buzz Williams has kept up the

program’s winning ways on the court.

But Marquette recently has been criticized for the way it

handled sexual assault allegations against unidentified

athletes.

”Although recent events involving a few student-athletes have

certainly been a disappointment to me, I leave Marquette with

positive feelings and confidence in its future,” Cottingham wrote

in a letter to Marquette President Robert Wild.

Prosecutors decided in May not to charge the athletes involved

in the alleged assaults. District Attorney John Chisholm said at

the time that investigations into two separate alleged assaults

were impeded because Marquette’s public safety department didn’t

tell authorities.

Instead, it advised students of options available, including

reporting the allegations to the police department.

Marquette’s Dean of Students, Dr. Stephanie Quade, said at the

time that the school was ”not proud” of the incidents or the way

they were handled. She said the school had changed protocol to

notify police immediately.

”We have had meetings with Marquette University and its public

safety department in order to ensure such a lapse between the

reporting of a crime and its investigation never occurs again,”

Milwaukee Police Chief Edward A. Flynn said in a statement at the

time. ”Marquette University has pledged to do better. We will hold

them to their word.”

Neither the school or law enforcement has identified the

athletes.

Cottingham oversaw expansion of the school’s athletic programs,

including the addition of men’s and women’s lacrosse beginning in

2012, and a drive to boost Marquette’s athletic scholarship

fund.

He recently gave Williams a contract extension, fending off

interest from rival schools after the Golden Eagles’ surprise run

to the round of 16 in the NCAA tournament.

Deputy athletic director Mike Broeker will be the acting

athletic director pending a permanent replacement.