Jim Fiore

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Jim Fiore
Born James D. Fiore Jr.
1968[citation needed]
Long Beach, NY
Nationality American
Education BA and M.Ed
Alma mater Hofstra University
Occupation Administrator
Employer Wheels Up
Website jimfiore.net

James D. Fiore Jr. (born 1968[citation needed]) was the Director of Athletics at Stony Brook University from 2003 to 2013.[1] Fiore was fired from Stony Brook amid allegations of sexual harassment, misappropriation of university resources, and various forms of employment discrimination on November 19, 2013.[2][3][4][5][6][7][8][9][10] He had been named the Director of Athletics on July 23, 2003.

Early life[edit]

Jim Fiore was born in Long Beach, NY. Fiore graduated from Long Beach High School and went on to earn his Bachelor of Arts degree from Hofstra University, where he played free safety for the football team (1988–90).[11] He continued his education at Springfield College earning a M.Ed in Athletic Administration in 1994. While at Springfield, Fiore participated in an athletic administration fellowship (1992–94) and interned with the Directors of Athletics.

Administrative career[edit]

Early Administrative work (1993-2003)[edit]

Fiore was an execute assistant for the National Invitation Tournament in 1993, and then became a compliance intern at Fordham University.[12] He was assistant athletic director at Dartmouth College from 1995 until 1999. From 1999 to 2003 he held the position Senior Associate Director of Athletics at Princeton University. In July 2003 he was named athletic director at Stony Brook University.

Stony Brook (2003-2013)[edit]

Alleged Misconduct and Termination[edit]

On November 19, 2013 Fiore was handed a letter that formalized the termination in the form of a buyout of the remaining 31 months of his contract for nearly $800,000.[13] No specific reason for the decision was given to Fiore, and there was no communication from University President Stanley. No negotiations were involved in the buyout, which is reportedly being paid as a lump sum, because the university was acting under SUNY Board of Trustees Policy Article XI, Title D, Section 6 (g) (1), which states, in part: "Except in cases of discipline or retrenchment, in the event the University elects to terminate a term appointment before the expiration of the term, the University shall compensate the individual up to the maximum of the time remaining on the term appointment. "The policy speaks for itself," SBU media relations officer Lauren M. Sheprow said in an email to Newsday. Sheprow declined requests to interview Stanley and interim athletic director Donna Woodruff.[14] Stony Brook University has been the beneficiary of over $200 million since 2005 donated by James Simons (a hedge fund billionaire and former Stony Brook professor), and so in absence of official word it has been reasoned that Fiore was paid off the remainder of his contract to avoid legal wrangling potentially resulting in delay of his termination and lingering embarrassment to the university with accusations piling up, including molestation, retaliation, and harassment of subordinates, as according to the ESPN article[15] with Fiore at the helm "The environment within the athletic department was hostile, toxic even."

The University received a single complaint within the athletic department. Yet despite an independent investigation conducted by the New York State of Office of Labor Relations, no contract violation or violation of SUNY policy, regulation or statute was sustained. Fiore was paid nearly $800,000. His contract permitted termination for cause if such grounds existed.[16] "We got a single complaint within the athletic department from one university employee. We took the complaint seriously and acted promptly to understand and respond to the issues raised," Stony Brook spokeswoman Lauren Sheprow said. "The university takes all claims of discrimination and sexual harassment seriously and reviews them in a timely manner."[17]

However, excerpts from an investigative article by espnW (November 26, 2013) state the following - Fiore routinely sent inappropriate text messages from his university phone to female staff members and student-athletes, sources said. Multiple sources confirmed that Fiore would make casual threats, reminding female student-athletes that he could take away their scholarships if he wanted. He also allegedly touched female student-athletes in inappropriate ways, such as massaging their shoulders and, in one instance, rubbing the inner thigh of an athlete who was rehabilitating a leg injury, according to sources. "The way he carried himself around female athletes made us very uncomfortable," said one former student-athlete at Stony Brook. "If we saw him in the hallway, we would turn the other way or hide in the bathroom. What made it difficult was that he was the athletic director, so you couldn't say, 'Back off.'" Another source said that Fiore seemed to target younger staff members: "He thrived on these types of power plays." Numerous women who have worked within the Stony Brook athletic department said they often walked a circuitous route to their offices to avoid passing the suite where Fiore's office was located. Sources close to the athletic department said that senior staff members, including Woodruff and Larsen, were afraid of Fiore. "In this field, you're not going to get another job if you say something isn't right," one source said. "That drove a lot of people to silence." According to one document, which was not ruled upon, Stony Brook failed to interview key female coaches, staff and administrators when conducting its internal investigation into Fiore's alleged misconduct. (Source: ESPN) [15]

Contradicting Fiore's posture that he was let go for convenience, not cause, at the opening of the renovated Stony Brook Arena in 2014, the chief project of Fiore's tenure, his name was not mentioned by any speaker, including Stanley (the university president who had fired him). Nonetheless, on his self promotional page at "Dynamic Sports Management", a Long Island, NY Lacrosse organization, Fiore boasted of not only having raised $25 million for the Stony Brook Arena but also to have designed it.[18]

Denial of Allegations[edit]

Fiore, through a spokesperson, has denied allegations against him. In his statement he said of an ESPN article by Kate Fagan that the story was “absolutely outrageous and rife with falsehoods.” Fiore went on to say “I cannot help but think that the motives of the unnamed ‘sources’ serve no purpose other than someone’s obvious financial gain and to hurt me personally and professionally. I will vigorously fight these bogus claims and defend my reputation.” [8]

Fundraising and Facilities Development[edit]

Facility upgrades during Fiore's tenure included $21.1 million renovation of the Island Federal Credit Union Arena. [19] A $10 million renovation of University Swimming Pool was set for completion in 2013, but was not completed. The pool was closed, and the renovation defunded, leaving both the men's and women's teams on indefinite hiatus. [20]

University of Massachusetts[edit]

In 2015, Fiore was considered for the AD position at UMass,[3][21] but was passed over for Ryan Bamford.[22][23] The University of Massachusetts chapter of GO! Athletes, a national LGBTQ collegiate student-athlete organization, penned an open letter against Fiore's candidacy stating "The search committee's consideration of Fiore as a candidate for Athletic Director directly contradicts the University of Massachusetts' efforts to cultivate an LGBTQ-friendly environment for all students, including an increasing number of student athletes."[23]

Personal[edit]

Fiore was married to Lisa Fiore. They have a child named Michael. Fiore's father (Jim Fiore Sr) was a police officer and football coach in Long Beach, NY; he lost his battle with cancer in 2012. Fiore's mother, Roberta Fiore, is the founder and trustee of the Long Beach Historical Society.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Mike Daniello (November 24, 2013). "Jim Fiore: the man behind Seawolves nation". The Statesman. Retrieved December 8, 2015. 
  2. ^ Greg Logan. "Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore leaving the school". Newsday. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  3. ^ a b Nick Canelas (March 18, 2015). "Report: Ex-Stony Brook AD Jim Fiore Among UMass AD Candidates". 247Sports. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  4. ^ Jennifer Sloat. "Second Report: Harassment, Discrimination Among Claims in Fiore Firing". Sachem Patch. 
  5. ^ Joseph Kellard (November 27, 2013). "Harassment, Discrimination Among Claims in Fiore Firing". Long Beach Patch. 
  6. ^ Roger Rubin (November 28, 2013). "Controversial firing of Stony Brook AD Jim Fiore shrouded in mystery". New York Daily News. 
  7. ^ Keith Sargeant (March 21, 2016). "A look at what Steve Pikiell built at Stony Brook and how it can be done at Rutgers". NJ.com True Jersey. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  8. ^ a b John DeMarzo (November 26, 2013). "Axed Stony Brook AD denies harassment". New York Post. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  9. ^ University Herald (November 29, 2013). "SBU Fires Long-Time AD Over ‘Inappropriate Behaviour’ Allegations". Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  10. ^ Hanna’ Tameez (November 21, 2013). "Storify: Twitter reacts to Jim Fiore’s firing". Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  11. ^ Sports Information Department. "GoSeawolves: Jim Fiore Director of Athletics, Stony Brook University". Stony Brook Athletics. Archived from the original on September 11, 2013. 
  12. ^ Media Relations (August 13, 2012). "Stony Brook Names Jim Fiore Director of Athletics". Stony Brook University. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  13. ^ espnW.com (November 27, 2013). "Fiore Statement Denies Claims". ESPN. Retrieved December 18, 2015. 
  14. ^ Greg Logan (November 13, 2013). "Stony Brook athletic director Jim Fiore is let go by university". Newsday. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  15. ^ a b Kate Fagan (November 26, 2013). "Fired AD had complaints against him". ESPN. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  16. ^ Candice Ferrette and Greg Logan (November 27, 2013). "Harassment complaint led to Stony Brook athletic director's firing, source says". Newsday. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  17. ^ Greg Logan (November 20, 2013). "Fiore rep: Firing was not because of a disciplinary matter". Newsday. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  18. ^ Dynamic Sports (December 14, 2014). "Dynamic Sports Names Jim Fiore CEO". Dynamic Sports. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  19. ^ Greg Logan (May 19, 2012). "Stony Brook to begin $21.1M arena renovation". Newsday. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  20. ^ Sports Information Department (May 8, 2012). "Swimming & diving placed on competitive hiatus for 2012-13 (University pool is undergoing a $10 million renovation, leaving teams without a facility for 2012-13.)". Stony Brook Athletics. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  21. ^ Matt Vautour (April 16, 2015). "Sources: UMass athletic director candidates include Jim Fiore, controversial ex-Stony Brook AD". Daily Hampshire Gazette. Retrieved June 23, 2016. 
  22. ^ Sports Information Department. "Ryan Bamford Named UMass Director of Athletics". UMass Athletics. 
  23. ^ a b Seawolves Nation (March 22, 2015). "Former Stony Brook AD "He Who Must Not Be Named" Is Back". #WeAreSeawolves. Retrieved June 23, 2016.