McKinley Boston’s finish line at New Mexico State University has been drawn.
Boston, who has been NMSU’s athletic director since 2004, will be replaced at year’s end. The school issued a release late Wednesday stating that Boston’s contract has been extended through Dec. 31, after which he will “step down.”
Boston said the decision was not his, but added it did not catch him entirely by surprise.
“Ideally I would have liked a few more years,” he said in a phone interview, “but that’s not in the cards. (NMSU president Garrey Carruthers) made the decision to go in a different direction and I serve at his pleasure.
“But the average tenure for Division I athletic directors is five years, so I guess I’ve been working on borrowed time for a while now.”
Carruthers was not available for comment Wednesday but praised Boston’s accomplishments in the release.
“Dr. Boston has done a fine job in leading our athletics department over the past 10 years,” Carruthers said in the release. “I am most pleased with his attention to academics and the development of support groups for our student athletes during his time at NMSU.”
Boston’s role has been particularly challenging in recent years amid dramatic changes in the college sports landscape. Numerous conference lineup changes left New Mexico State’s football program without a conference last season after the heavily raided Western Athletic Conference opted to no longer sponsor the sport.
The Aggies played a rugged independent schedule in 2013 but will compete as football-only members of the Sun Belt Conference this season.
Boston mentioned the difficult search for a football conference among his accomplishments, but said he takes more pride in the way NMSU student-athletes have performed on and off the field.
“I feel like we’ve changed the culture of the athletic department to respect the culture of the university as a whole,” Boston said. “The graduation rate of our student-athletes has improved, which I’m extremely proud of, misconduct has been greatly reduced and a lot of our teams have been very successful.”
Carruthers also credited Boston for capital improvement projects in the school’s athletic department, including renovations to the Pan American Center, Presley Askew Stadium (baseball) and Aggie Memorial Stadium, which is having new artificial turf installed for the upcoming season.
According to the release, Carruthers will soon name a search committee charged with hiring the school’s next athletic director. The committee will include representatives from NMSU’s faculty and staff as well as community members. He said the next athletics director will be heavily engaged in the promotion and fundraising for NMSU athletics.
Boston, 68, said he has not decided what his future beyond Dec. 31 will hold.
“I guess I have a lot to think about over the next few months,” Boston said.