David Thomas has resigned as athletic director at Morgan State, effective in February, school officials said yesterday.
Thomas, the Bears' AD for 4 1/2 years, is stepping down to devote more time to academic pursuits, a Morgan spokesman said.
"Dr. Thomas has decided to go in a different direction professionally," said Rick Perry, vice president of student affairs. He said that Thomas, a 1972 alumnus of Morgan, is considering a teaching position at the university.
Thomas, 58, declined an interview. A Baltimore native and a graduate of City College, he previously served as AD at Bowie State and SUNY College at Old Westbury (N.Y.).
A search for Thomas' successor - the 12th AD in Morgan history - will start shortly, Perry said. Meanwhile, the Bears named Perry's assistant, Tanya Rush, interim AD. Rush was also acting AD for eight months before Thomas' appointment. She could not be reached to comment last night.
Thomas' resignation, tendered last week, caught the college off guard, Perry said.
"I hadn't heard rumors," he said, adding he wasn't surprised by the decision, given Thomas' academic roots: "He is already advising several doctoral candidates in education."
On a downslide for the past quarter century, Morgan athletics improved on Thomas' watch. Hughes Stadium and Hill Field House underwent facelifts worth $28 million, in part during his tenure. And Morgan football managed consecutive winning seasons (2002-03) for the first time in 30 years.
"Our program is growing," said Donald Hill-Eley, the Bears' football coach who was hired by Thomas to turn the tide. "He [Thomas] has been attentive when we've talked, a good listener. I wish him well."