Paul Dee, former University of Miami athletic director, dies at age 65

Former University of Miami athletic director Paul Dee, who held the post for 15 years before stepping down in 2008, died Saturday night, the university confirmed.

Mr. Dee, 65, had recently been hospitalized for cancer treatment. He had open-heart surgery in 2008.

Mr. Dee, a native of Palm Beach County, was inducted into the Palm Beach County Sports Hall of Fame in 2005.

"We lost a teacher, leader, friend and a truly loyal man today," Miami athletic director Shawn Eichorst said. "Paul Dee devoted every ounce of energy and passion to the University of Miami over many, many years. The Hurricane family sends its condolences and grieves along with his family and friends."

When he became UM athletic director in 1993, he inherited a program wracked by NCAA violations. He succeeded in cleaning up the program, oversaw its move from the Big East Conference to the Atlantic Coast Conference and helped UM build an on-campus basketball arena.

"The entire University of Miami community is saddened by the loss of Paul Dee," Miami President Donna Shalala said. "A proud alumnus, he will be remembered for his distinguished career and service to the University."

However, it also was on his watch that Ponzi schemer and rogue booster Nevin Shapiro hurt the program. Shapiro, now imprisoned for financial misdeeds, was guilty of violations that already have led to sanctions against the program.

"I don't think any of us had any idea what he was doing," Dee said last year.

Mr. Dee graduated from the University of Florida in 1970. He later earned a master's degree from Miami in 1973 and graduated from its law school in 1977.

He was a counsel for the university before joining the athletic department.

Dee was remembered for a huge commitment for strengthening the Hurricanes' programs in women's sports.

"Paul Dee was as generous, kind and patient as anyone I've ever met in athletics," Miami women's basketball coach Katie Meier said. "His vision for intercollegiate athletics was based on integrity and equality. I will miss my mentor, adviser and friend."

Funeral arrangements were not immediately announced.

Material from The Associated Press was used to supplement this report.