Todd Stansbury’s phone started to blow up early on a recent morning.
Of course, the first thing that popped into his mind was something really bad must have happened: “I thought that somebody had either died or somebody was in trouble,” Stansbury said Thursday.
But when he checked his phone, Stansbury was bombarded with people letting him know the Georgia Tech athletic director position was open.
While Stansbury was just a little more than a year into his tenure at Oregon State University as the university's vice president and athletic director, the pull was a strong one for the Georgia Tech alum.
On Thursday, Stansbury, who played football for Georgia Tech and served in the athletics department from 1987-95, was introduced as the school’s new athletic director.
Oregon State officials said they would launch an immediate search for an interim athletics director.
Stansbury replaces Mike Bobinski, who left for a similar position at Purdue.
“This is more than just another AD job,” Stansbury said at his introductory press conference in Atlanta Thursday morning. “My journey to this point started a long time ago.”
While the journey took a while, the process didn’t.
“Well, it all happened pretty quickly,” Stansbury said. “It all came about probably in the last 72 hours.”
Added Georgia Tech president G.P. “Bud” Peterson: “We met with a number of candidates, interviewed a number of candidates and I asked Todd if he wanted the job and he said 'yes.' He said 'yes' and I said we’d figure it out from there and we have. I didn’t have to twist his arm.”
While Stansbury is excited to return to his alma mater, he said it was difficult to leave Oregon State.
“Knowing that this has always been the goal was to eventually come back to the Flats, I was hoping that this could potentially be a possibility,” Stansbury said. “But of course it was tempered because I was in a great spot and I had a great staff and we were doing some really innovative things (at Oregon State).”
Stansbury took over as OSU’s vice president and athletic director in August 2015, replacing Bob De Carolis, who stepped down in June 2015. Stansbury previously worked for the university from 2003-12.
During his time at Oregon State, Stansbury expanded OSU’s “Everyday Champions” program, which emphasizes success in the classroom and in the community.
As part of OSU's efforts to build a stronger presence in the Portland area, Stansbury helped to restart the Far West Basketball Classic and launch the Dam City Showcase, a series of baseball games against national competition hosted by the Beavers along with a spring football scrimmage.
While Oregon State President Ed Ray noted he was disappointed to see Stansbury leave, he said he understood his decision.
“I have known Todd for a number of years and appreciate all that he accomplished while here,” Ray said in a release. “While I was very pleased to hire him in 2015 to return to Oregon State, I do understand the pull of his alma mater.”
Ray said he plans to name an interim athletic director as soon as possible.
Oregon State plans to use an advisory group of university, alumni and other leaders in intercollegiate sports, as well as a being aided by a national search team, to begin a search for a new athletic director.
The search committee will be led by Joey Spatafora, an OSU professor and faculty athletic representative to the Pac-12.
“We will attract someone who well understands the 21st century student-athlete,” Spatafora said in a release. “Our new athletic director will advance the important role that athletics play on the Oregon State campus, among our students, fans and donors — in Oregon and across the nation.”
Added Ray: “I guarantee that our new athletic director will add significantly to the success of Oregon State’s men’s and women’s athletics. Fan excitement and engagement will grow, and he or she will be committed to all student-athletes and to all OSU students. I expect that we will attract well-experienced candidates and strongly qualified candidates of diversity. Our new director will contribute to the remarkable transformation that is occurring at Oregon State, where everything we do is about inclusive excellence and leadership."
At OSU, Stansbury was paid a base salary of $500,000 a year, and also had the opportunity to collect various bonuses when teams won championships, when student-athletes hit certain academic goals and for hitting budget goals.