Perhaps striking while the iron was hot, Chun leaves after the most successful football season in FAU history.
FAU went 11-3 in 2017 under Lane Kiffin, a coach Chun was instrumental in hiring.
During the season, however, the relationship between Kiffin and Chun soured to the point where several members of the athletic department said the two rarely spoke.
When Kiffin needed a problem solved, those sources said, he often went over Chun’s head directly to university President Dr. John Kelly. In December Kelly and Kiffin agreed on a yet-to-be signed contract extension without involving Chun at all.
Chun came to FAU from Ohio St. with a reputation as a proven fundraiser, but the FAU athletic department struggled under Chun in that respect. In 2015 FAU announced a $16 million gift from the Schmidt Foundation to build a new football and academic complex, which will eventually cost upwards of $60 million.
The University held a ceremonial groundbreaking in January of 2017 but as of yet hasn’t broken any new ground. The reason, according to sources, is that the Owls are struggling to raise enough money to ensure completion of the project.
During Chun’s tenure the Owls did open new tennis courts, allowing the Owls tennis teams to practice and play on campus. FAU also added sand volleyball courts and renovated its soccer field. But the baseball and basketball teams still make do with facilities badly in need of upgrade.
And while the hiring of Kiffin became a smashing success, few of Chun’s other hires have worked out nearly as well.
In 2013 Chun hired Charlie Partridge as the Owls’ fourth football coach. FAU dismissed Partridge three years and three 3-9 seasons into a five-year contract.
Chun and inherited basketball coach Mike Jarvis weren’t on speaking terms by the end of Jarvis’ tenure. Chun replaced Jarvis with Michael Curry. Currently in his fourth season, FAU went 27-65 in Curry’s first three seasons, though at 8-9 this year the Owls are showing improvement in 2018.
When it comes to hiring, Chun had better success with women’s soccer coach Patrick Baker and volleyball coach Fernanda Nelson.
Throughout his tenure Chun preached his desire for academic success from Owls’ student athletes, and that may be the area where he made his biggest impact on FAU. Chun hired additional academic support staff under Chun and FAU’s teams are now consistently among the top performing Conference USA athletes in the classroom.
Washington St. had called a press conference for Wednesday, but the school postponed the announcement after learning of the death of quarterback Tyler Hilinsky. No rescheduled date was announced.