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“We need to hire a new football coach. That’s priority No. 1. And I think the next area is to listen. I’m going to meet with all the senior administration, meet with the coaches, meet with the staff, and listen.”

University President Lee Bollinger announced that Peter Pilling will be the new athletic director. Pilling will be taking over for M. Dianne Murphy, who announced her resignation in September.

Pilling is the former vice president for IMG College, which managed the corporate sponsorships for both the West Coast Conference and the Mountain West Conference. During his time with IMG College, Pilling often dealt with high-profile universities such as Brigham Young University, Baylor University, and Gonzaga University.

"Peter has spent his career working at several of the most respected college sports programs in the country. His wealth of knowledge, experience, and enthusiasm will help Columbia Athletics build on a recent record of historic achievement and reach the new levels of excellence that we expect in everything we do as a great university," the email said.

Before joining IMG, Pilling served as the associate athletic director at Villanova University and, more recently, as the senior associate athletic director at BYU, where he was a member of the two-person search committee that hired current BYU football coach Bronco Mendenhall, who has led BYU to two conference championships.

In an interview with Spectator on Tuesday, Pilling said that Columbia's football program—which has struggled over the past few years—is a top priority.

The football team is currently riding a 21-game losing streak. Former head coach Peter Mangurian resigned following the 2014 season amid allegations of abuse and misconduct from the players.

Pilling said Columbia needs to hire a new coach who has proven their ability to build a football program. Although he said there is no specific timeline for the hiring of a coach, urgency is a key element of the search.

"We need to hire a new football coach. That's priority No. 1," he said. "And I think the next area is to listen. I'm going to meet with all the senior administration, meet with the coaches, meet with the staff, and listen."

Pilling also said that, along with making the football program competitive and listening to those around him, the other main priority will be to ensure that student athletes are given the opportunity and the encouragement to succeed in all facets of their lives at Columbia.

"The entire athletic department is a priority," he said. "To make sure our student athletes can be successful in the field of competition and can have success in the classroom and have success in life."

According to the email, Pilling will start working on campus starting Feb. 23, and will formally replace Murphy on April 13. | @CUSpecSports

Peter Pilling athletic director Lee Bollinger