Julio Freire named athletics director, replaces retiring Fowler

Julio Freire new USC Upstate athletic director

Julio Freire

Staff Report
The Carolinian

A new athletic director has been named at USC Upstate, The Carolinian has learned.

Julio Freire will be Athletic Director and Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics beginning Aug. 1. Freire takes over for retiring Lee Fowler who has been athletic director for four years.

The Carolinian confirmed Freire as the candidate of choice.

Freire and Mike Ward were the two finalists introduced to faculty and staff. Both were unemployed after resigning from their previous schools.

Freire resigned in April following Pittsburgh athletics director Scott Barnes leaving for Oregon State. He resigned as athletics director at Tennessee-Martin in 2016 to join Pitt.

Ward, a senior athletic director at the University of Tennessee, resigned this summer after six years at the school.

Fowler is expected to return to Upstate for his final week on campus on July 10 as he clears his office for his retirement to Nashville, Tenn.

The compensation for Freire was not part of the announcement. Fowler made $136,000 according to the state’s USC employee database.

Friere and Ward were introduced as finalists to faculty and staff. Chancellor Brendan Kelly sent a survey to the staff asking it to be returned by the end of the business day last Friday.

Kelly’s survey, based on a ranking of 1-5 with five being the highest score, was asking university faculty and staff to provide feedback on the candidates’ ability for fundraising and marketing of athletics, demonstrate the ability to develop strong and sustainable Division I athletic programs, work collaboratively across the university.

After a thorough and aggressive search that involved a team of colleagues, as well as participation and feedback from coaches, faculty, staff and student athletes throughout the university, it is my pleasure to report that the search for our new Athletic Director has ended with a positive result.