ABC 7 and Fox 22 reported Monday morning UMaine director of athletics Karlton Creech would be leaving the school on his own terms, in order to take the position of vice chancellor for athletics and recreation at the University of Denver. Creech was officially introduced at a press conference Monday afternoon. USA Today's Dan Wolken was first to report the University of Denver would be his destination.
Creech had been with UMaine since February of 2014, and had signed a four-year extension in January of 2017. He has been in athletic administration dating back more than 20 years, and permanently replaced former athletic director Steve Abbott, who left the school in 2013.
“I’d like to thank the University of Maine for the incredible opportunity to serve as director of athletics,” Creech said in a release from UMaine. “My years in Orono have been some of the most rewarding of my career and I look forward to following the continued success of the Black Bears.”
The school announced Monday afternoon an interim athletic director will be named shortly, and a national search has begun for his permanent replacement.
"We understand that this is an opportunity for Karlton to take his talents to a new level of athletics leadership, and we wish him well," University President Susan J. Hunter said in the same release. "The University of Maine takes seriously its role as the state's only Division I program, and its responsibilities to Black Bear fans near and far. We will build on the leadership and fundraising that have effectively advanced UMaine Athletics in the last four years, and will continue to dedicate ourselves to excellence in athletics leadership that will best serve Maine."
Creech would have additional comment in a release from the University of Denver.
“I am eager to continue the tradition of athletic and academic excellence that has been established at the University of Denver,” he said. “Athletics is personal. My wife Staci went to school on an athletics scholarship so I know the importance of our student-athletes excelling in the classroom and the community.”
Maine hockey legend Jim Montgomery currently serves as the head coach of the University of Denver hockey team, and won a national championship with the school last season.
This story has been updated from its original form.