Boston College athletic director Gene DeFilippo said on Friday that he was stepping down after 15 years, a tenure in which he stabilized the program in the aftermath of gambling scandal, led it into a new conference and collected four NCAA men's hockey championships.
DeFilippo said he had been discussing retirement with his wife, Anne, and came to the conclusion after being diagnosed with a treatable form of cancer.
''In light of my recent bout with melanoma, which is treatable, this decision became clearer to me this summer,'' he said in a statement released by the school. ''After the intensity of 40 years of intercollegiate athletics, this change will enable me to spend more time with Anne, my three children, and our granddaughter, Katherine. I look forward to this next stage of my personal and professional life.''
DeFilippo took over the BC athletic department in 1997 after 13 football players had been suspended for betting on games - then the biggest gambling scandal in NCAA history. He presided over its switch from the Big East to the Atlantic Coast Conference, a move that led to hard feelings among his colleagues in the school's longtime league.
But the school also had its successes: BC won four hockey titles during DeFilippo's tenure and 11 national team and individual sailing championships and had 12 consecutive winning seasons in football, a streak that was snapped last year. BC has also annually ranked near the top of the NCAA graduation rates for athletes.
''Gene devoted himself to building a strong, successful athletics program, one that reflected BC's commitment to quality academics and institutional integrity,'' BC's president, the Rev. William Leahy, said. ''Doing that has been his passion and joy, and the BC community, particularly our student athletes, have benefitted immensely from his care, advice and hard work.''