Tommy McClelland named athletic director at McNeese State

Tommy McClelland named athletic director at McNeese State


March 19, 2008

Thomas McClelland II will be the athletics director for McNeese State University, Dr. Robert Hebert, McNeese president, announced on Wednesday. The appointment is pending approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors.

McCelland has been serving as interim athletics director since June 30, 2007, upon the retirement of former Director of Athletics Sonny Watkins. Prior to his selection as interim athletics director, he was McNeese's coordinator of athletic events, sales and marketing.

"Tommy has demonstrated that he is a leader," Hebert said. "He is enthusiastic, diligent and possesses a tremendous work ethic. During his time at McNeese he has brought new ideas for marketing athletics, building corporate sponsorships and endowed scholarships, and increasing attendance for all sports. Tommy also understands that communication is key to building effective relationships."

McClelland, 26, is the youngest athletics director in the Southland Conference and is probably the youngest athletics director for any NCAA division university.

"I am honored to be selected as the new director of athletics. I believe that I have the right balance of inside knowledge and outside perspective to lead McNeese State University to the next level of success," said McClelland.

McClelland holds a bachelor's degree and master's degree in sports administration from Northwestern State University. He previously worked in the NSU athletics department and as an administrative intern at the Southland Conference office in Plano, Texas.

The McNeese athletics director search committee received more than 32 applications in a national search for this position. The 10-member committee, chaired by Bridget Martin, associate athletics director, senior women's administrator and coordinator of athletic compliance, reviewed the applications, interviewed the qualified candidates, made its selection and then presented that candidate to Hebert. McClelland's annual salary will be $110,000.

"Tommy McClelland represents a promising future in the field of athletics administration," said Thomas Burnett II, commissioner of the Southland Conference. "As a former Division I student-athlete in multiple sports, Tommy understands the issues related to today's student-athletes and has proven to be a passionate advocate for their best interests, both academically and athletically."

McClelland told the search committee that he places a high priority on student-athletes succeeding in the classroom as well as on the playing field.

"I received two degrees in five years, played two sports and was married for two of those years. I have a personal standard for academic success," McClelland said.

Winning championships is important, McClelland told the committee, "I recognize championships in three areas, in the classroom, on the playing surface and in the character and integrity of the individual student-athlete."

As interim athletics director, McClelland has supervised academics, compliance, competition, athletic facilities, coaching and administrative staffs.

Some of the accomplishments of the department under his leadership include:

o Single game attendance records were set for volleyball, softball, soccer and women's basketball

o Partner with the Pokes--a program that created sponsorship opportunities with smaller packages for local and regional businesses

o Cowboy Round-Up Tour--First multi-city summer tour of coaches, administrators and staff over a two-week period involving four cities in Southwest Louisiana

o Increased season ticket sales for football

ß The 3rd highest in school history--6,565

o Launched first ever football season ticket campaign before the current season ended--the goal is to sell 8,000 season tickets in 2008 or simply "8 in 08."

o Re-established the M-Club for former student athletes

o Raised over $750,000 in private money

o Increased corporate sponsorships to over $450,000

o Led Southland Conference in 2007 Academic Honor Roll Members (fall semester)--70 student-athletes named to Honor Roll

o Negotiated new radio contract with GAP Broadcasting

ß Multi-stations--syndicated

ß First ever full coverage of women's basketball on radio

o Facility improvements:

ß Completed ∑ Baseball grandstands ∑ New bleachers in Memorial Gym ∑ Chair-back center section in softball stadium

ß In process ∑ New artificial turf for the football field--spring completion ∑ Hodges field house (soccer and softball)--March completion

McClelland becomes the eighth athletics director for McNeese. Previous athletics directors include A.I. Ratcliff. Jack Doland, Ernie Duplechin, Ted Brevelle, Bob Hayes, Bobby Keasler and Sonny Watkins.