EL PASO, Texas - The athletic director for the University of Texas at El Paso is throwing in the towel on a more than 30 year career at the university.
Bob Stull confirmed to ABC-7 that he is retiring, effective Thursday.
"Our priority has always been to take care of the students and the coaches first," said Stull during an afternoon news conference.
He said one of his major accomplishments was strengthening the academics side of UTEP athletics. He said when he started , the university had one academic adviser for football and they had a 3,000 sq. ft. facility. Now, the Miner Athletic Academic Center has grown to 8,000 sq. ft. with study halls and computers for students.
Stull told ABC-7 that he and Kim, his wife of 36 years, want to spend more time with their children and grandchildren.
Wearing orange, a tearful Kim Stull briefly took the podium to express her love for El Paso and the community, and echo what her husband said about them wanting to be closer to their family.
"If they weren't there, We wouldn't be going, we'd be staying because we love El Paso. Absolutely love El Paso," she said. "We wanted to make UTEP the best and something to be very, very proud of and we are."
"She could've gone a lot longer, trust me," joked Stull afterward.
UTEP President Dr. Diana Natalicio told ABC-7 the qualities she will be looking for in the university's next athletic director.
"This person is going to have to build on Bob's foundation," Natalicio said, "We're going to be looking for people especially who have credibility and integrity first and foremost because your program rests on that. Everything else crumbles when you don't have that."
ABC-7's Stephanie Valle sat down with Stull in 2015 when he turned 70. At that time, he said he was not thinking of retirement.
Stull came to El Paso after being offered the UTEP football head coaching job in 1985. He is credited with turning the program around.
"The most games they had won from 1970 was 2," Stull told ABC-7.
He took the Miners to their first bowl game in more than 20 years in 1988. After taking head coaching jobs at other colleges, he returned to UTEP in 1998 as athletic director.
Stull focused on creating and updating the university's athletic facilities. He spearheaded the creation of the Larry K. Durham Center, the Helen of Troy Softball Field and the Foster Stevens Basketball Complex.
Stull said his contract expires August 31st, but he will stay on until UTEP President Diana Natalicio picks his successor.
"We'll do a regular, thorough search but I wont' make the decision," he said.