UC Riverside announced Tuesday that Wesley Mallette has been named interim athletic director.
Mallette has been the department’s chief of staff and senior associate athletic director since joining the staff in 2018. He oversaw external relations, communications and media relations, marketing, ticketing, events and fan experience and has administrative responsibilities for the baseball program.
Mallette takes over for Tamica Smith Jones, who is stepping down to become the chief operating officer for the Kennesaw State athletics department. Jones, who was UCR’s athletic director for 5 1/2 years, will begin her new role on Feb. 1.
“I appreciate his willingness to step up in an important leadership role during this challenging time,” UCR chancellor Kim Wilcox said in a news release. “In addition to leading UCR Athletics, Wes will work closely with me, the Athletics Working Group and its chair Brian Haynes in the next phase of its work determining the future of athletics at UCR.”
Mallette steps in during an uncertain time for the program. In September, the university’s budget advisory committee included the elimination of intercollegiate athletics among possible solutions to help with budget concerns and decline in funding because of the coronavirus pandemic. A working group was established to study the proposals and has to present its findings to Wilcox by Feb. 1.
“It is an honor to be asked to serve as the interim athletics director at this pivotal time,” Mallette said in the release. “I want to thank Chancellor Wilcox and AC Jones for this opportunity.
“…There are challenges in front of us, but I believe we have a lot of great pieces in place here. Our coaches, staff, student-athletes, alumni, donors and students love our program and they are quite passionate about it. I am proud to be part of this team.”