Tom McMillen, a former congressman and University of Maryland basketball star who initiated athletic reforms at his alma mater, said he has been told by Gov. Larry Hogan‘s staff that he won’t be reappointed to the University System of Maryland‘s Board of Regents.
McMillen, a Democrat, is to be replaced when his term ends June 30 by Republican Robert R. Neall, a former state legislator and Anne Arundel County executive who lost to McMillen in a congressional election in 1986. Reached Monday night, Neall said his five-year term begins July 1.
Hogan’s office had no immediate comment, said press secretary Erin Montgomery.
“I’m not going to criticize the governor, but I hate to see Tom go,” said a fellow regent, former state Sen. Francis X. Kelly. “Tom is an outstanding regent. He’s a thinker and he understands athletes better than anyone I know.”
The term of Kelly, a former Democrat who switched parties years ago, also expires June 30, and he is staying. “They’ve indicated to me they’re not going to replace me,” Kelly said Monday. “They’d have to drag me off that board.”
McMillen, of Ellicott City, became a regent in 2007, filling the balance of the term of Richard E. “Dick” Hug, who died in 2013. McMillen was reappointed to a five-year term by former Democratic Gov. Martin O’Malley.
“It’s been an honor and privilege to serve on the board,” said McMillen, who starred in basketball at the school and was a member of the 1972 U.S. Olympic team. “In 1970, when I was recruited, I would never have imagined I’d be a regent.”
While Hogan named Neall to the board last month, it only became clear this past weekend that Neall would replace McMillen, according to an email to the board members from Chancellor William E. Kirwan. Hogan also appointed transition chief James T. Brady to replace former O’Malley aide Cassie Motz and Robert Pevenstein, a mergers and acquisition specialist, to replace former Washington schools superintendent Paul Vance, who has been ill and unable to attend meetings for months.
“The appointment came as a complete surprise. I’m very honored,” said Neall, who was confirmed by the state Senate earlier this month. “I was on budget committee all 20 years in the House and Senate and for all but three years was on the subcommittee that handles higher education.”
McMillen, 62, chairs the board’s Intercollegiate Athletics WorkGroup, which he created to oversee the university system’s athletic programs. The panel meets quarterly with athletic directors to review athletes’ academic progress, athletic department finances and other data.
Last year, McMillen promoted a policy denying bonuses to coaches and athletic directors whose players do not measure up academically. The policy, approved by the board, applies to Maryland and all other schools in the system, including Towson, Coppin State and UMBC, that field Division I athletic teams.
On Thursday night, McMillen is scheduled to receive an award for his work as a regent from the Washington Business Journal and the area chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors. The black-tie awards dinner was scheduled before McMillen learned he was not being renamed.
“I certainly think he has been a model trustee,” said Anne Neal, president of the American Council of Trustees and Alumni. The nonprofit group, which nominated McMillen for the award, serves as a resource for trustees around the country.
McMillen played in the NBA and served four terms in the U.S. House. He was inducted in 2013 into the National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame in Kansas City, Mo.
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