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Posted on Tue, Apr 2, 2013 : 1:48 p.m.

Eastern Michigan names Melody Reifel Werner as interim athletic director

By Pete Cunningham

Eastern Michigan has found a replacement for departing athletic director Derrick Gragg, and it didn't have to look very far.

Dr. Melody Reifel Werner will serve as the interim athletic director, the university announced on Tuesday. Reifel Werner has served as the associate athletic director and senior woman administrator with the school for the past 17 years.

Reifel Werner will assume her new responsibilities on Wednesday, April 17.


Melody Reifel Werner

Courtesy of Eastern Michigan athletics

The announcement comes two weeks after Gragg announced he would be leaving Eastern for the same position at Tulsa University. Gragg's last day at Eastern is April 16.

Gragg spent seven years at Eastern totalling 24 Mid-American Conference team championships, 32 MAC Coach of the Year Awards, 38 MAC Player of the Year honors and 164 individual MAC champions.

Eastern also was sanctioned for exceeding practice time and other NCAA violations during his tenure. The football and men's basketball teams struggled mightily in Gragg's tenure going 18-66 and 91-133, respectively.

“I'm excited and honored that (Eastern Michigan) president (Susan) Martin has asked me to serve as interim athletics director,” Reifel Werner said in a news release. “EMU is a place that has meant so much to me and I strongly believe in the foundation we have created. My task, along with our coaches, staff, student-athletes and supporters is to continue the momentum we have established.”

Reifel Werner, 56, earned her bachelor's, master's and doctoral degrees from Eastern and is the author of Protecting University Integrity: Managing Risks in Intercollegiate Athletics.

A national search will soon commence to fill the position on a permanent basis, the university said in a release.

Pete Cunningham covers sports for He can be reached at Follow him on Twitter @petcunningham.