Pat Chun to be athletic director at Washington

Mar. 27—One day after losing its men's basketball coach, Washington State lost its athletic director to its biggest rival.

Former WSU athletic director Pat Chun has accepted the AD position at the University of Washington, it was announced Tuesday.

The news came one day after men's hoops coach Kyle Smith jumped to Stanford.

"It is truly an honor for my family and I to join the University of Washington family, and I look forward to doing my part to help elevate the athletics program and the University," Chun said in a statement. "Our transition to the Big Ten is a critical step in our journey and great things lie ahead for the Huskies."

Chun joined WSU from Florida Atlantic in 2018. In Seattle, he replaces former UW athletic director Troy Dannen, who left for Nebraska last week.

During his six years in Pullman, Chun helped the Cougars navigate a series of unprecedented events in college athletics.

Chun led WSU through the COVID-19 pandemic; the introduction of Name, Image and Likeness deals for college athletes; massive athletics budget deficits and the ongoing collapse of the Pac-12 Conference.

He hired Apple Cup-winning football coach Jake Dickert, Pac-12-champion women's basketball coach Kamie Ethridge, as well as Smith, who recently took the men's basketball team to its first NCAA tournament in 16 years.

Chun also spearheaded record-setting fundraising totals with the Cougs. WSU set a university record in 2022-23, finishing with $61.9 million in athletics fundraising.

At UW, Chun joins a school that is leaving the Pac-12 for the Big Ten next season. The Huskies and nine other Pac-12 schools will exit the league this year, leaving behind just Washington State and Oregon State.

"We appreciate Pat Chun's six years of service as WSU Director of Athletics and are disappointed by his departure," WSU President Kirk Schulz said in a statement. "Washington State University is home to high-performing student-athletes, an incredible fan base, quality coaches and top-tier academics. As we look towards the future, I'm optimistic that we will leverage these strengths to ensure continued success for our athletic programs."

Schulz said a national search for a new AD will commence immediately and an interim AD will be appointed in the coming days.

Chun's departure comes during a difficult time for Washington State's athletics department.

WSU is dealing with $100 million in internal debt it accrued over the past decade. The school pays $10 million annually to service the debt.

WSU and OSU are also facing major uncertainty concerning their conference future. The two universities have expressed a desire to rebuild the Pac-12 Conference and remain at the Power Five level, but there is no clear plan on how they'll be able to accomplish that.

WSU and OSU have a two-year grace period to remain as a two-school conference while they try to figure out a path forward.

In the meantime, WSU has a football scheduling alliance with the Mountain West Conference for next season and will play most other sports in the West Coast Conference for the next two years.

Chun also lost two of his best coaches in the last three months: volleyball coach Jen Greeny to West Virginia in December and Smith to the Cardinal.

Greeny was arguably the best coach in the athletic department after leading the Cougs to eight straight NCAA tournaments.

Before his AD positions at FAU and WSU, Chun spent 15 years as an administrator in the Big Ten at Ohio State.

Now, he returns to his old conference.

"Pat has a track record of success and a wealth of experience — from 15 years in the Big Ten and service on national groups guiding the future of college sports, to securing community support and a commitment to the well-being of student-athletes," University of Washington President Ana Mari Cauce said in a statement. "He knows our state, is highly respected in national athletics circles and has an eye for talent. I'm so happy he'll be joining us to lead UW Athletics into the future."

Wiebe may be contacted at (208) 848-2260, or on Twitter @StephanSports.