McNeese athletic director announced as top athletics official at - KPLC 7 News, Lake Charles, Louisiana

McNeese athletic director announced as AD at LA Tech

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McClelland with Guice on Tuesday. (Source: LA Tech) McClelland with Guice on Tuesday. (Source: LA Tech)
Bridget Martin (Source: McNeese State University) Bridget Martin (Source: McNeese State University)
RUSTON, LA (KPLC) -

Louisiana Tech President Les Guice introduced McNeese State Athletic Director Tommy McClelland as the Ruston university's new athletic director at a press conference on Tuesday.

McClelland has been at McNeese since March 2008, after serving as interim athletic director and assistant athletic director of internal affairs.

McClelland has overseen school records in football season ticket sales and the Cowboys have won Southland Conference titles in several sports, including football, during his tenure.

Pending approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, McClelland will take over for former Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Bruce Van De Velde, who stepped down July 1.

McNeese officials said Bridget Martin, associate athletics director, senior women's administrator and compliance coordinator, would serve as interim athletics director. Martin has been a senior administrator in the athletics department for more than 10 years and previously served as the women's head basketball coach.

Officials also said that McNeese will immediately begin the process of forming a search committee to hire the school's next AD.

 

Copyright 2013 KPLC. All rights reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.

Here is a full news release from Louisiana Tech regarding the hiring of McClelland:

McClelland Introduced as Louisiana Tech's New Athletics Director

RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech University President Dr. Les Guice introduced Thomas H. McClelland II as Louisiana Tech's new athletics director during a press conference Tuesday in the Jarrell Room of the Charles Wyly Athletic Center.

Pending approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, McClelland will take over for former Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Bruce Van De Velde, who stepped down July 1.

"I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to join the Louisiana Tech Family," said McClelland.  "This is an institution that has a great academic and athletic reputation throughout the country as well as a storied past and a bright future.  There is positive momentum that comes from a new conference affiliation, a new president and great coaches. There has never been a more exciting time to be a part of the Tech Family.

"To the fans and supporters of Louisiana Tech, I want you to know that my family and I look forward to getting to know you all in the near future. This truly is an exciting time, and I am proud and honored to be your athletics director."

McClelland served as the athletics director for McNeese State University since March 2007.  During his tenure, he led an improvement in team academic progress rates (APR) that now exceed NCAA targets, set single game and season attendance records in several men's and women's programs, directed $11 million in facility construction and improvements, and led the development of a strategic plan that increased self-generated revenues by 80 percent.

Under McClelland's leadership, McNeese State programs won 11 Southland Conference regular season or tournament championships including three in women's basketball, two in football, two in soccer, two in softball, one in men's cross country, and one in men's basketball.

"Tommy McClelland has demonstrated strong leadership skills and success in his early years as an athletics director," said Guice.  "He has an extraordinary blend of intellect, character, talent, and drive that makes him one of the top young athletics directors in the nation.  He articulated a vision for Tech Athletics that is consistent with mine and compatible with my vision for our entire university.

"I am thrilled that we have him leading our athletics program as we make our move into Conference USA, and I know that our Tech Family will see the benefits of Tommy's leadership skills in elevating our athletics program."

The Louisiana Tech Athletics Council, chaired by College of Applied and Natural Sciences Dean Dr. James Liberatos, served as the search committee that vetted and interviewed candidates, and ultimately recommended McClelland as its finalist for the athletics director position.  The search committee was assisted throughout the process by Eastman & Beaudine, Inc. of Plano, Texas.

"I am excited to work with a passionate athletics director who is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes," said Liberatos.

Along with the athletic success McClelland has produced, he prides himself on building integrity and strength of character in student-athletes.  In four of the past five years, McNeese State has led the Southland Conference in student-athletes being named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll. McClelland also emphasizes community service with volunteer hours by student-athletes having tripled during his tenure.

McClelland has also developed and led a number of highly successful fundraising, sponsorship and outreach programs.  His "Partner with the Pokes" program raised over $3 million in private donations and increased corporate sponsorships to nearly $1 million.  In an effort to increase his program's media presence, McClelland negotiated a syndicated radio network for football, men's basketball, baseball and an arrangement that produced the first ever radio station that was solely dedicated to broadcasting women's basketball.

"Tommy makes a very favorable impression and appears to possess the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to be an outstanding athletics director for Louisiana Tech," said Steve Davison, Louisiana Tech alumnus and member of the Athletics Council.

McClelland's exemplary leadership and innovative strategies in intercollegiate athletics has caught the eye of some of the most respected and successful athletics directors in the nation.

"Tommy McClelland is an outstanding leader and one of the nation's rising stars in intercollegiate athletics," said Bubba Cunningham, athletics director at the University of North Carolina.  "He has a demonstrated commitment to supporting and developing his coaches and student-athletes, and has already become well-known amongst ADs for his leadership, vision, and character.  Tommy has also shown a dedication to lifelong learning and the application of his skills and talents to making his athletic programs better.  I congratulate both Louisiana Tech and Tommy, and feel both will benefit greatly from this hire."

"Louisiana Tech and its search committee are to be commended for making an exceptional hire in Tommy McClelland," said Baylor University Athletics Director Ian McCaw.  "Tommy is a rising star in the college athletics administration field and, in my view, the ideal leader to advance Louisiana Tech's athletics program as it transitions into Conference USA.  He possesses impeccable integrity and has an extraordinary work ethic.  Moreover, his interpersonal and relational skills are outstanding and will enable him to quickly connect with Bulldog fans as well as campus and community leaders."

McClelland serves on several national, regional and state leadership boards and committees including the NCAA Championship and Management Cabinet, the United Way Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee, the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) Regional Board, and as chair of the Southland Conference Athletics Director's Committee.

As a former student-athlete, McClelland was a walk-on for Northwestern State University's football team and played four years as the long snapper.  He also competed in track & field in the javelin.

McClelland earned a bachelor's degree in general studies and a master's degree in sports administration from Northwestern State.  He is also a graduate of the Executive Program of the Sports Management Institute and attended instruction at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill's Kenan-Flagler Business School and the University of Southern California's Marshall School of Business.

"It is important for me to begin meeting as soon as possible with as many people within the Tech family," McClelland said.  "This is a critical and important time in the history of Louisiana Tech, and we need everyone on board.  Our vision will center around each and every student-athlete and the responsibility we have of developing them academically, competitively, and individually. We will also maintain alignment with the University's mission and vision and do our part to bring even greater recognition to Louisiana Tech."

McClelland is married to the former Jessica Stokes of Garrison, Texas. They have two sons – Lawson (3) and Grayson (21 months.)

What They're Saying about Tommy McClelland…

"Tommy is definitely recognized as one of the nation's up-and-coming athletics directors, and it's amazing what he's been able to accomplish during his time as an athletics director.  He has always been eager to collaborate with his colleagues, and I enjoyed working with him while in the Southland Conference.  I look forward to doing the same in Conference USA."
– Lynn Hickey, Athletics Director for the University of Texas at San Antonio

"Louisiana Tech has made a great hire in Tommy McClelland.  He has a great knowledge of college athletics and excels at helping his student-athletes balance and succeed in their commitments to academics and athletics.  Tommy has also proven his ability to work effectively with coaches and administrators to help his programs be successful."
– Warde Manuel, Athletics Director at the University of Connecticut

"Tommy is an extraordinary young athletics administrator and has proven himself to be a great leader.  I have known him for many years, and he has always shown the highest degree of integrity, professionalism, and vision when it comes to working with coaches, student-athletes, and colleagues.  I commend Louisiana Tech on an outstanding choice to have Tommy lead its athletics department."
– Tom Bowen, Athletics Director for the University of Memphis

"The Louisiana Tech Athletics Council has always done a great job of finding outstanding coaches and leaders, and they have certainly done that with the hire of Tommy McClelland as athletics director.  Tommy is an up and comer, and clearly shares the same vision for Louisiana Tech that President Guice does.  I know the coaches, players, administrators, and alumni will enjoy working with this dynamic leader.  Tommy will take Tech Athletics to new heights."
– Leo Sanford, Former NFL All-Pro Linebacker and Louisiana Tech Hall of Famer

"I've known Tommy for a long time, and the character and integrity that he will bring to the university will not only surpass all our expectations but will make Louisiana Tech a model for athletic programs around the country to follow.  I know him as a humble, hardworking, Christian man that will be a great influence and leader for our coaches and student-athletes alike."
– Luke McCown, NFL Quarterback and Former Bulldog Record-Setting QB

"I've known Tommy for a number of years and have admired the job he has done as athletics director at McNeese State.  Tommy is a very bright and talented young administrator who knows what it takes to be successful in college athletics.  I think the folks at Louisiana Tech have really made an excellent choice in selecting him as their next AD."
– R.C. Slocum, legendary Texas A&M head coach and College Football Hall of Famer

"We are excited about the opportunity to work with Tommy McClelland. He has a solid track record and will certainly bring a high level of energy and innovation to the job of leading a great university."
– Britton Banowsky, Conference USA Commissioner

"Tommy has been a great asset to the McNeese State family and alumni base.  His commitment and hard work are obvious.  Louisiana Tech is a university with a great reputation, and Tommy is the right individual to lead them into a new era.  We wish him well in his new position."
– Chuck Kleckley, Speaker of the Louisiana State House of Representatives

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