By Aaron Swaney Herald Writer
Archbishop Murphy High School decided last week its athletic department needed new leadership.
The football team could be next.
After evaluating its athletic department shortly after the new year, Archbishop Murphy’s board of directors decided to part ways with athletic director Rick Stubrud, acting AD Jerry Zander said Tuesday. The board also placed Wildcats head football coach Dave Ward and assistant coach Jeff Schmidt on administrative leave.
Zander said the decision doesn’t mean Ward or Schmidt won’t be retained in their current positions. Both Ward and Schmidt are still employed at Archbishop Murphy; Ward as an English teacher and Schmidt in campus security.
“This is a chance to look at the football program and evaluate where it’s at,” Zander said.
Zander said a committee will be formed to look at the program from top to bottom. The committee will be made up of members of the Archbishop Murphy community, including staff members. The review period should take about three weeks, he said.
Asked why Ward and Schmidt were placed on leave, Zander cited “a difference of opinion” and declined to elaborate.
“We are obviously very proud of what we’ve accomplished,” added Zander, who coached football under the late Terry Ennis at Archbishop Murphy. “But we want Archbishop Murphy football to be about more than just wins and losses. We want it to be a fantastic experience.”
Stubrud had been athletic director at Archbishop Murphy the past four years. His last day was Thursday.
“Rick did some great things here,” Zander said.
Zander was the Wildcats’ boys basketball coach for 10 years before moving to Arizona three years ago. He returned to work at Archbishop Murphy on Aug. 1 of last year.
Zander said he would be interested in applying for the athletic director’s job once it’s posted.