WILMINGTON, NC (WWAY) -- Emotions are flying high as the UNCW Seahawks begin another journey to find a new athletics director. For many people, including UNCW men's tennis coach Mait Dubois, Kelly Mehrten's resignation Monday came out of left field.
"I don't know if I am mentally there yet," Dubois said shortly after the announcement. "I'm still kind of taking in the loss of Kelly, who I was really fond of."
For others, it was only a matter of time before she would step down as the Seahawk's athletics director.
"This decision, I think, people assumed was coming, but definitely not this soon," said Jim Dalke, assistant sports editor of the student newspaper The Seahawk.
Mehrtens's decision comes at a very hectic time in the athletic world with the tip off of basketball season right around the corner. It's a season with high expectations after Mehrtens hired coaches Buzz Peterson and Cynthia Cooper-Dyke.
"No one thought she would go and resign in the middle of the year like this, especially with basketball season just a couple weeks away," Dalke said.
Mehrtens's resignation has created a wave of emotions not only with students, coaches and athletes, but also with the people who help make athletics possible at the university -- the booster club.
"She, I think, took an unselfish route to make sure that we focus on the student-athletes and the program itself instead of her," said Associate AD and Seahawk Club Director Tim Duncan.
Mehrtens is no stranger to the lime light. The Seahawk's have had a somewhat bumpy flight during her time at the helm. Most recently, last week when a women's basketball player was made to roll up and down the court as a punishment. Many are anxious to see a new face come to the program.
"Finally, this is the first piece of really good news that the UNCW campus has gotten in a long time," Dalke said.
Chancellor Rosemary DePaolo will head up the search for a new athletics director. No word how long that search may take.