New pack leader sought for Saskatchewan Huskies

Dave Hardy is stepping down as chief athletics officer of Huskies Athletics. Slavomir Kutas / Global News

The search is on for the next chief athletics officer (CAO) to lead the Saskatchewan Huskies on the road to recovery from the impacts of the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

It was officially announced on Wednesday that Dave Hardy will be stepping away from his role with Huskie Athletics.

Read more: Saskatchewan Huskies football team urging U Sports board to revisit age cap ruling

He said university athletics have changed due to the pandemic and the road to recovery is going to be a long one.

“We’re all wondering exactly what the future will look like coming out of this side of the pandemic. And I think, certainly the beginning of the pandemic and the effect that it’s had came very quickly. And I think the recovery is going to take a lot longer,” Hardy said.

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“I’m thinking that the recovery is going to be a long-term thing and I think probably what Huskie Athletics needs more than anything right now is a leader that will lead them through that process and take them to the other side and have the opportunity to structure Huskie Athletics in the form in which conforms with their vision.

“This university, every university, all publicly funded institutions face great financial challenges … We will have fewer resources at this university in another year than we’ve had in the past years. How those resources are allocated to the different colleges and units where athletics fits into all of that. Those are significant challenges and unknowns for us all right now.”

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The former Huskie men’s basketball player was appointed CAO of the athletics program at the University of Saskatchewan (USask) in August 2019.

“I mean, opportunities come around at different times in your life and it came around at a different time of life for me, but I don’t regret a second of it. I’ve enjoyed every moment of it,” Hardy said.

“I’ve able to be able to learn about Huskie Athletics and (USask) has been personally very, very, very rewarding, challenging. There’s no question. A little bit uncomfortable, yeah, lots of times. But again, I think that’s where you learn a little bit. So I’m so grateful to have had the opportunity.”

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Read more: Saskatchewan Huskies football, soccer seasons cancelled due to coronavirus pandemic

Hardy took on the role for a term of up to two years and has committed to staying on until his replacement is found.

“Decisions will be made by the search committee. The timelines are a little ambiguous. It could be four months. It could be six months. It could be 12 months. So I think with any of those timeframes, it’ll just depend upon who surfaces when they become available and when they’re able to take the position,” he said.

“I think (my successor’s) someone that’s able to, again, manage the financial challenges that we’re able to face and the difficult decisions that might need to be made around human resources and those kinds of things that are made every day in the public, in the private sector in particular.”

Hardy said there are no U Sports or Canada West sanctioned competitions this fall term and a decision regarding the status of second-term sports will be announced on Oct. 8.

He added they have 375 student-athletes in Saskatoon training with their coaches and teammates in USask’s facilities as of Sept. 1.

During Hardy’s time at the helm, all 15 Huskie teams qualified for post-season play for the first time in department history.

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The former head coach of the Canadian Junior Football League’s Saskatoon Hilltops has been recognized as a member of both the Saskatoon and Saskatchewan Sports Hall of Fame in the team category. 

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Current Huskies football players help coach high school athletes at elite camp

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