Former Athletic Director Dave O’Brien died on Saturday after a six-year battle with cancer. He was 57.
O’Brien, a graduate of Moravian College and Seton Hall Law School, was appointed to the position of athletic director in 1996 after leaving the same position at Long Beach State . During his tenure, the Owls opened the Apollo of Temple – the largest indoor, public venue to ever be constructed north of City Hall. The building was later renamed the Liacouras Center in dedication of former President Peter Liacouras.
Under O’Brien’s administrative leadership, the men’s basketball team made five NCAA tournaments, including two Elite Eight appearances. The football team finished its 2000 season with four wins, more than it had tallied in any other year during the prior decade. The team was voted out of the Big East Conference in 2001 – although the program’s actual exit from the conference didn’t occur until 2004.
O’Brien resigned from his position at Temple in 2002, saying that it was time “to look for a new professional challenge.” He also cited personal family-related responsibilities as a factor in his decision to leave.
“Temple University is a great institution, and I am proud to have served it as Director of Athletics,” O’Brien said in a statement at the time of his departure.
O’Brien was succeeded by Bill Bradshaw, who retired last May. After leaving Temple, O’Brien accepted a position at Northeastern as its athletic director, where he worked until his departure in 2007.
At the time of his death, O’Brien was serving as an associate teaching professor and program director for sport management at Drexel. Prior to his days spent working in athletic administrations, O’Brien worked in higher education for a number of years at Montclair State and Long Beach State. He also practiced law in New Jersey, where he served on the legislative staff of the state senate.
Temple held a moment of silence in honor of O’Brien during the men’s basketball team’s game against Houston.
Avery Maehrer can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or on Twitter @AveryMaehrer.