SMU announced the firing of athletic director Steve Orsini on Thursday, amid a growing clash between Orsini and president R. Gerald Turner, according to sources with knowledge of the situation.
"After several discussions over the last few weeks," Turner said in a university statement, "it became apparent to me that it was necessary to make this change. While we both are committed to the support of our student-athletes and coaches, a unified effort is required for future progress."
SMU will begin an immediate search for a new AD, while Tim Leonard, the senior associate director of athletics for external affairs, serves as interim AD. SMU, which will join the Big East in 2013, will need to be represented at league meetings in Florida next week. SMU staffers were informed of Orsini's firing at a late-morning meeting Thursday.
Orsini signed a contact extension in Jan. 2011 that ran through May 2015.
Orsini recently led a wide-ranging search for a new men's basketball coach, which ended with the hiring of Hall of Famer Larry Brown . Brown was not Orsini's first choice, according to sources, but Turner pushed for Brown.