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OIT athletic director fired

Oregon Tech Athletic Director Mike Schell was relieved of his duties, effective immediately, Wednesday morning.

Coaches, athletes and others used words such as "shocked," "stunned" and "appalled" when they heard the decision which, according to numerous sources, was made by the school’s board of directors. Interim president Jay Kenton told Schell of the decision.

Shortly after Schell was told he had been released, the coaching staff was notified.

By late Wednesday, several voice mails to the Herald and News commented on the move and expressed frustration with the decision.

There still was shock within the athletic department Thursday.

Softball coach Greg Stewart has been named interim athletic director.

Rumors and conjecture are floating around the community on why Schell, who was in his 21st season with OIT, was let go.

Attempts to reach Kenton were unsuccessful, but his office said because it was a personnel issue, there would be no comment. Schell also was unavailable for comment.

Schell had served as OIT athletic director since 2002. Before that, the OIT grad with a bachelor’s degree in electronics engineering technology served as associate athletic director and was involved with several aspects in the development of the intercollegiate program at Tech.

In addition to serving on several campus committees, Schell saw scholarship endowments raised to more than $600,000, helped with the development of the Danny Miles Success Fund to raise money for OIT teams to travel to national-level competitions, improved the fitness center and oversaw the remodel of the athletic department lobby.

He worked with OIT boosters and alumni to get new basketball scoreboards, a modern basketball court and improvements on the softball field.

Schell modernized the running of Cascade Collegiate Conference cross country and track and field events with quality electronics and added video streaming of some OIT athletic contests.

He worked tirelessly to ensure that OIT student-athletes were full-time students and met all other academic criteria if they were to represent the school in intercollegiate sports. Tech is one of a handful in the country with every varsity team posting a cumulative grade point average of 3.20 or better.

His most recent efforts created an on-campus soccer facility. Original plans were to convert John F. Moehl Stadium to a soccer and track and field facility and when bids came in almost $2 million over what was expected, an alternate site near Purvine Field was developed for about one-third the cost of original plans.

Schell twice was named conference Athletic Director of the Year.

Reach Klamath Falls Herald and News Sports Editor Steve Matthies at smatthies@heraldandnews.com.