A big part of the reason Jeff Hathaway and UConn parted ways was serious fundraising issues, and one of the biggest criticisms of Hathaway is that when fundraiser Paul Pendergast left the athletic department in 2006 he wasn't replaced. Pendergast left to work at St. Francis Hospital, but he's not there anymore, because as of today he's UConn's interim athletic director.
The lack of a big-time fundraiser clearly bothered new president Susan Herbst, who hired a new fundraising director in her first two weeks in office, and had him report to her instead of Hathaway. Viewed in that light, the hiring of Pendergast makes a lot sense, and you can bet that when a full-time AD is hired fundraising ability will be a very big requirement.
Here's Herbst in a statement from the school:
"Paul Pendergast has a great reputation throughout the university and the state. I'm very confident that he will do an exemplary job leading the division as its interim director. It's clear to me that he and I share the same high standards when it comes to athletics, including the academic performance of our scholar-athletes and adherence to the rules of compliance."
I'm sure they also share the same high standards when it comes to raising very large piles of money.
And here's Pendergast:
"I'm thrilled to be able to return to the University of Connecticut and its Athletic Division. UConn athletics is something very special and I'm happy to do anything I can to help ensure its success. It's no secret that the Huskies have seen incredible achievements on the field of play for many years. Winning teams are of course the most visible part of collegiate athletics, but what counts just as much is what happens behind the scenes, particularly when it comes to the academic success of student athletes, strict compliance with NCAA rules and fundraising. I look forward to working with President Herbst and the entire division as we address these challenges."