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NEW ORLEANS — Dennis Cousin, who led Xavier University of Louisiana to its most successful period in athletics, has announced his resignation as director of athletics and return to retirement.

Cousin, hired by Xavier in the summer of 2004, will work through the end of September.Dennis CousinCousin

"I want to thank our president, Dr. Norman Francis, for giving me this opportunity to serve Xavier," said Cousin, who turned 68 in July. "I enjoyed my time here immensely, and I feel that I leave the department in better shape than when I arrived." Xavier teams won 46 Gulf Coast Athletic Conference or NAIA unaffiliated group championships during Cousin's tenure and qualified 34 times for NAIA National Championships. XU facilities received a major upgrade in the past year with the October opening of the XU Tennis Center and the November opening of the Convocation Center for basketball and volleyball.

Under Xavier’s current head coaches, 125 of 130 senior student-athletes received degrees from Xavier or are still enrolled. The past three years, the department ranked in the top 10 on the NAIA's Champions of Character scorecard.

In May, Cousin made's list of the five best athletics directors at an HBCU (Historically Black College or University).

The department rebounded strongly after canceling competition in 2005-06 due to the effects of Hurricane Katrina. Five of Xavier's six teams in 2006-07 won GCAC championships.

"I hope Xavier never faces another crisis like that hurricane," Cousin said. "I have to give great credit to our coaches, staff and student-athletes for coming back so quickly and so strongly. They gave our school and our community so much to be proud of during rebuilding." Cousin said his fundraising helped reduce the majority of a deficit he inherited at Xavier.

Xavier hired Cousin six months after he retired from the St. Tammany Parish School Board, where he served as an administrator, teacher and coach. He also was a basketball referee for the GCAC, Sun Belt Conference and Louisiana High School Athletic Association. All three of Cousin's sons — Damon, Darren and Duane — are Xavier graduates, and Duane was one of the most prolific 3-point shooters in Xavier basketball history.

Xavier will conduct a national search for a new director of athletics. The university has yet to name an interim director.

"I will always hold Xavier in high regard," Cousin said. "The person Xavier hires as my replacement will have the opportunity to manage a top-notch staff."


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