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March 19, 2004

Athletics Director to Relinquish His Role at ULM

University of Louisiana at Monroe Director of Athletics Bruce Hanks will resign his position at the university at the end of the academic year. Hanks' decision to step down is a result of his continued commitment to the Board of Directors at CenturyTel, Inc. Hanks will continue to work with ULM and the athletics department in a volunteer role.

James Cofer, President of ULM, said, "We are grateful to Bruce to have given so much of his talent, time and love for ULM to us. In working with him over the last few years, I have been moved by his sincerity and dedication to do what is best and what is right for athletics. Bruce has been with me since my first day on campus, and has been one of the architects of the university's renaissance."

Hanks serves on the Board of Directors at CenturyTel, Inc. (a position he held before coming to ULM). Hanks said, "While my role with the university is probably not technically an issue with my independence as a board member of CenturyTel, the appearance of independence has become increasingly important as a result of well publicized issued at various corporations over the last few years. I feel it will serve the university and CenturyTel best if I no longer serve in a paid position at ULM. Centurytel is one of the stronger corporate partners of ULM and both CenturyTel and ULM want to keep that relationship strong without any appearance of conflicting interests."

"The accomplishments and progress that have been made while I've been director of athletics have not been the result of my actions, but rather the result of hard work by our employees, volunteers, and student athletes," Hanks said. "I truly believe that our university and athletic department are well positioned for success in the coming years. I tell all of our recruits that it is a great time to be part of the University of Louisiana at Monroe. If you like what you see now, you are going to love it over the next few years. There are some great people making great things happen at this university."

Hanks has served as the director of athletics for the last three years at ULM. During Hanks' tenure, substantial progress has been made in the athletic department and in the Athletic Scholarship Foundation.

Some of the accomplishments during his time as AD include:

*Set the record for Football Season tickets sold

*Repaid the half million-dollar loan taken out by the Athletic Scholarship Foundation

*Funded and began construction on the upgrades to the softball complex

*Increased athletic department annual revenues by over one million dollars

*Balanced the athletic budget for the last two years and produced surpluses

*Signed a contract to play the University of Arkansas five times over the next nine years in Little Rock with the games designated as home games for ULM

*Student athletes received 174 academic awards over the last two years

*Increased cash held by the Athletic Scholarship Foundation from $397,000 to $803,000 and the equity of the Foundation by 229%.

*Signed a logo licensing agreement with Collegiate Licensing

*Brought Tulane to Monroe for a football game for the first time in history

*Began selling athletic merchandise over the Internet for the first time in school history

*Started a student booster group for ULM athletics

*Expanded football radio coverage into Alexandria and Shreveport markets

*Received clean audits for the last three years

*Began competing in the Sun Belt Conference for football

Cofer added, "ULM athletics accomplished a great deal under his able leadership, and we will continue that progress for many years to come. Bruce will remain integral to our program as a key volunteer. We have established a foundation that will allow us to continue that progress for years to come."

Charlie Weatherbie, head coach of ULM football said of Hanks, "The main reason I came to ULM was because of the commitment of the president and the athletics director. I am disappointed that Bruce will no longer be athletics director, but know he has to do what is best for he and his family in this situation. I have faith that his replacement will be a person of the same quality and commitment to this university and this athletic department."

Dr. Don Skelton, vice president of university advancement and external affairs, will serve as chairman of the search committee appointed by Cofer and the nationwide search will begin immediately.

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