Arizona hires Central Michigan's Heeke as athletic director

TUCSON, Ariz. (AP) The University of Arizona has hired Dave Heeke as athletic director, pending contract approval from the board of regents.

University President Ann Weaver Hart announced the move Saturday. Heeke replaces Greg Byrne, the athletic director since 2010 who left to become Alabama's athletic director.

Heeke spent the last 11 years as athletic director at Central Michigan after 18 years in Oregon's athletic department. From East Lansing, Michigan, Heeke played baseball and club hockey at Albion College and earned a master's degree from Ohio State.

''Arizona has developed a storied history and tradition,''' Heeke said in the news release announcing his hiring, ''and I'm looking forward to being a part of the next chapter in Tucson.'''

Byrne praised his successor.

''His vast experience working with student-athletes, coaches, staff, fans and university communities at CMU and in the Pac-12 makes Dave the perfect selection,''' Byrne said.

Central Michigan President George E. Ross credited Heeke for ''creating a championship culture'' at the school.

Former Oregon football coach Mike Bellotti said he has known Heeke for 30 years.

''I've always been impressed with his ability to communicate ideas, energy and excitement to people,'' Bellotti said in the Arizona news release. ''I think it's infectious when you're around him. He loves and understands athletics and what makes it go; the people, the facilities, and the energy that is necessary to have a program continue at a high level.''

Heeke and his wife Liz have three sons: Ryan, Max and Zach.

No time has been set for his introductory news conference in Tucson.

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