ESPN has confirmed the sad news that former longtime Miami Hurricanes athletic director Paul Dee died Saturday night. He was 65.
“The entire University of Miami community is saddened by the loss of Paul Dee,” UM president Donna Shalala said in a statement. “A proud alumnus, he will be remembered for his distinguished career and service to the University as Vice President and General Counsel, Director of Hurricane Athletics and a member of the School of Education faculty.”
According to USA Today, Dee started working at Miami as general counsel in 1981. It wasn’t until 1993 that he took over as the AD of the school – which was facing numerous NCAA violations. As part of his cleanup program, Dee hired Butch Davis to lead the charge. In addition to Davis, he brought aboard current UM baseball coach Jim Morris and women’s basketball coach Katie Meier.
“Paul Dee was as generous, kind and patient as anyone I’ve ever met in athletics,” Meier said in a statement. “His vision for intercollegiate athletics was based on integrity and equality. I will miss my mentor, advisor and friend.”
After the the internal coaching “overhaul,” Dee then oversaw UM’s move from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference and helped the school build an on-campus basketball arena as well as new practice facilities and Cobb Stadium.
Dee was UM’s AD for 15 years before stepping down in 2008. The ‘Canes won a national title in football (2001) and two national titles in baseball (2001, 1999) during his tenure.
Though the exact cause of Paul Dee’s death still remains unknown, the Palm Beach Post writes that he passed away after surgery following a recurrence of tongue cancer.
He is survived by his wife, Cathy Zuckerman Dee, and son Terrance.