ORONO, Maine (NEWS CENTER) -- Steve Abbott, the University of Maine's Athletic Director, will step down and return to the Senator Susan Collins' staff. University officials made the announcememnt Tuesday.
Abbott was Collins' Chief of Staff for 12 years before he ran for governor in 2010. He was named interim Athletic Director at UMaine in September of that year. The following March, Abbott was permanently named Athletic Director.
In a statement, Abbott said, "The University of Maine is a special place to me and my family. Given our family history and my lifelong affinity for Black Bear athletics, I am especially pleased to have been a part of the Athletics Department these past three years."
Abbot has overseen a number of big changes while at UMaine. In 2011, he removed women's basketball coach Cindy Blodgett. She was a standout in high school and a former All-America player for the University, but was lackluster as a coach, with a 24-94 record in four seasons. In April, Abbott fired Tim Whitehead, the Black Bears men's hockey coach.
The University says President Paul Ferguson has begun a national search to replace Abbott.