University of Pikeville President James Hurley announced his resignation Monday, citing "personal reasons."
Former Kentucky governor and longtime UPike president Paul Patton will return to the school as interim president, according to a news release. The school's board of trustees will begin a national search.
Hurley, a UPike alumnus, was vice president under Patton and was selected for the top job in 2013.
He oversaw an unsuccessful push to make the private, 1,300-student school a public institution, but with Patton, he helped usher in a scholarship program for coal-producing counties aimed at raising college graduation rates in Eastern Kentucky. He also added a business school, an education school and a college of optometry.
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In a letter Monday to faculty, students and staff, Hurley said he had to prioritize what matters most.
"For me, that is to put my family first and make a professional decision that is best for my family," he wrote. "God has provided several options for me to consider, and I will be making a decision in the coming weeks."
In the letter, Hurley said he had agreed to remain as a "transitional consultant" until June 30 as a national search begins.
In a phone interview Monday, Patton said he could not comment on Hurley's reasons for leaving the school, but said, "There are no problems with the institution."
Patton estimated that the job search could take as long as six months. "We do want to get permanent leadership, but there's no rush," he said.