After somehow managing to keep football coach June Jones, getting SMU into the Big East as an all-sports member, and luring Larry Brown to be the head basketball coach, SMU athletic director Steve Orsini was fired immediately today. According to Scout.com SMU beat writer Laken Litman, SMU President Gerald Turner made the decision.
Turner: "After several discussions over the last few weeks, it became apparent to me that it was necessary to make this change." #SMU— Laken Litman (@LakenLitman) May 17, 2012
Orsini and the entire SMU athletic department had come under some scrutiny recently for running rather large deficits. An SMU journalism student chronicled the athletic department's finances, showing that poor attendance and increasing expenses had caused it to run over $100 million in deficits in the past seven years. No reason was given for Orsini's termination, but department finances certainly didn't help.
Turner said a national search for an athletic director is under way. The hire will be critical as SMU prepares to transition to the Big East after the 2012-2013 season with a somewhat strained relationship with June Jones (who tried to leave for the Arizona State job in January) and an indefinite succession plan with Larry Brown. The new athletic director will certainly walk into a challenging situation.