EUGENE, Ore. — University of Oregon President Dave Frohnmayer today announced Pat Kilkenny as his choice to lead the university’s athletic department.

“I selected Pat because he is clearly best able to provide an immediate impact to the University of Oregon athletic department,” Frohnmayer said. “Pat Kilkenny has had a very successful career leading a major private insurance agency, knows the University of Oregon intimately, has strong leadership skills, solid relationships with donors and supporters, and will hit the ground running to help make the Oregon athletics program one of the most successful in the country.”

Kilkenny, former chairman and chief executive officer of the San Diego-based Arrowhead General Insurance Agency, grew his business into a nationwide organization with written premiums of nearly $1 billion when he sold the company in 2006.

In addition to his extensive business background, Kilkenny has a long history of involvement with the University of Oregon. A native of Heppner, Ore., Kilkenny attended the University of Oregon and served on the University of Oregon Athletic Department Advisory Board. He also served on the Board of Trustees for the University of Oregon Foundation.

In addition, Kilkenny has served on the University of California San Diego Athletic Advisory Board and the San Diego State University Athletic Director’s Cabinet. He was a member of the board of directors of the San Diego International Sports Council and was recently honored as 2006 Man of the Year by the organization for his contributions to sports in the San Diego area.

University of Oregon head football coach Mike Bellotti expressed his strong support for the selection of Kilkenny. “What a great choice for our department and for the university,” Bellotti said. “Pat possesses the leadership skills, decision-making ability and communications skills, as well as proven business acumen, to ensure the continued success of Oregon athletics. He is a great Duck and understands what it takes to compete successfully in Division I athletics.”

In January, Frohnmayer formed a search team to assist him in selecting the next athletic director. The team was charged with providing Frohnmayer with information about potential candidates for him to use in making his decision. Kilkenny’s name was identified as part of that process.

Frohnmayer said Kilkenny’s mix of skills, experience, and knowledge of the university made him uniquely qualified to address the specific challenges the athletic department faces over the next several years. “I have the utmost confidence in Pat’s ability to execute the aggressive agenda I have laid out for him,” Frohmayer said. “He is charged with solidifying the leadership within the athletic department, moving the operation from being financially self-sufficient to self-sustaining, strengthening the connection with the academic mission of the university, expanding the donor base, and reviving the new basketball arena project.”

Kilkenny is unquestionably the right choice to lead Oregon athletics given the environment in which top-flight college athletics programs currently operate, Frohnmayer said. “I am delighted Pat is willing to step out of his role as a corporate leader and private philanthropist and give his time and effort to this university he dearly loves. I look forward to working closely with him as we address the opportunities ahead.”