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The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

The Independent Voice of Southern Methodist University Since 1915

The Daily Campus

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Three fired in athletic staff shake-up

Three fired in athletic staff shake-up

Changes in the athletic department have resulted in the firing of three senior associate athletic directors in the past two weeks.

John Koerner, Ed Wisneski and Scott Secules, who combined, have more than 35 years experience at SMU, were all released by new Athletic Director Steve Orsini.

Senior Associate Athletic Director for Business John Koerner was released in August. He described his time at SMU as “the best years of my life, I have no complaints.”

In the time Koerner spent at SMU he worked under three different athletic directors: Doug Single, Forest Gregg, and Jim Copeland. Each time a new director came to SMU, Koerner said he offered his resignation, but was always told he still had a job. Koerner did not make the same offer to Orsini, but was not convinced he wouldn’t be asked to leave.

“Whenever there’s a change in administration, there’s a sense of anticipation that you may not make it,” Koerner said.

Koerner added Orsini had a personal conversation with him to give him the news.

Koerner said he understands Orsini needs to have people he’s comfortable with in senior administrator positions, and bringing in new people can help change the culture of the department.

Koerner had a 26-year long tenure at SMU, beginning with an eight-year stint as the budget director for SMU, before moving to the athletic department in 1989. He served as interim athletic director while former athletic director Jim Copeland was recovering from cancer surgery last spring.

Koerner said he and his wife are going to stay in Dallas, and he will not be pursuing another job in athletics. He said he has been an accountant for 26 years and is ready for a new career. He said he is interested in working in pharmaceutical sales or public administration.

Secules, a former NFL quarterback, worked on the external operations of the athletic department. He oversaw all athletic fundraising, marketing and promotions, ticket sales, sponsorship and media relations.

Secules said he understands why he was let go.

“That’s part of transition,” Secules said, “It’s part of our business.”

Secules said he was called into Orsini’s office Friday morning and given the news before the football team left for Lubbock.

He added many people have been asked to leave. Some were let go right away, and others, once Orsini knew where he wanted to take the athletic department.

Wisneski, on the other hand, did not see his release coming.

“I was given a lot of responsibilities and duties, which were new [right before the firing], so no, I didn’t see this coming.”

Since 1995, Wisneski has helped more than 1,000 student athletes find work with his Preparing Achievers for Lifetime Success program. The voluntary program emphasized life skills and helped athletes adjust once their time on the field was over. Wisneski mainly helped athletes create resumes and maximize their marketability. In some cases, he was able to help place athletes into jobs.

“I never erased a resume,” Wisneski said. “I’m probably the only college administrator with over 1,000 resumes on his computer.”

“This was a passion for me, not a job,” Wisneski said.

While his tenure at SMU is over, Wisneski said he appreciates his time at the university.

“I’ve been reflecting on the enormity of the fact that for the past 18 years, I’ve had the opportunity to have an impact on other people’s lives.”

Wisneski came to SMU in 1988, and in 1989,

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