by Chris Vannoy
ASSISTANT SPORTS EDITOR
SALEM -- Danny Young's two-year run as the Salem International men's basketball coach and athletic director has ended, according to Young.
In his two seasons, Young had compiled a record of 51-11, led the Tigers to two straight NCAA Tournament appearances and coached SIU to the 2002-03 West Virginia Conference regular season title.
The change atop the Tigers' program is part of a widening reorganization of the university's academic and athletic departments put in motion by school president Richard Ferrin. Ferrin, a former president of Division III Maryville College in Tennessee, was inaugurated as the school's president on Saturday.
The school is also planning on trimming the number of assistant coaches involved with the basketball program and eliminating one of three athletic training positions.
The moves are part of an effort to reduce the school's staffing from the current 150 staff and faculty members to 120. The university, with a budget of $10 million, lost close to $4 million last year.
"Conference championships are nice," Ferrin said. "But we weren't founded in 1888 to produce student athletes.
"We were founded to produce graduates who can go on to do service to the world."
Dean of students Dan Appiarus said that while Salem International refocuses, athletics are still important to the university.
"I would say that Salem International prides itself on having the best athletic program we can," Appiarus said. "We're trying to strengthen the academic program and that doesn't mean we're weakening or de-emphasizing athletics."
Ferrin also put to rest rumors that the school will be moving from its current NCAA Division II affiliation to Division III. Division III schools do not give financial scholarships and generally have much smaller and less expensive athletic programs than SIU and the majority of the West Virginia Conference currently field.
"The philosophy of Division III is a great philosophy," Ferrin said. "But we'd be crazy to go Division III right now by ourselves."
The only Division III school currently in West Virginia is Bethany College located in the state's northern panhandle.
Ferrin also said that all current athletic scholarships will be honored.
"We're going to have a forum in the next day or so to go over all this with the students," Ferrin said.
Assistant Sports Editor Chris Vannoy can be reached at 626-1444 or by e-mail at email@example.com