March 4, 2010
RUSTON, La. - Louisiana Tech President Dr. Dan Reneau announced this week that he has promoted Bruce Van De Velde to athletics director following the approval of the Board of Supervisors for the University of Louisiana System.
"Bruce is well qualified by national standards to fill the position of athletics director at Louisiana Tech," Reneau said. "I feel that we made an excellent choice in selecting him to lead Tech athletics to national prominence and to serve the needs of our students."
Van De Velde, who joined the university in June of 2008 as deputy athletics director and chief operating officer, now takes over full leadership of a department that fields 16 NCAA Division I sanctioned programs, including nine women's and seven men's, that compete in the highly-competitive Western Athletic Conference.
"It is an honor to be named as the director of athletics at Louisiana Tech University," Van De Velde said. "I look forward to serving our student athletes, faculty, staff, alumni and fans."
During his tenure as deputy athletics director, Van De Velde was instrumental in a number of projects that have helped further the advancement of the university's athletic department, including:
Assisted with the development, negotiation and implementation of $6 million multi-media and marketing rights agreement with Learfield Communications. Contract more than doubled revenue derived from corporate sponsorships and created state-wide radio network for Louisiana Tech athletics. Negotiated purchase of $1.6 million Daktronics large screen high-definition video board for Tech football stadium.
Upgraded ticket operations by negotiating new contract with Ticketmaster. Improved customer service, marketing, and communication efforts. Developed ecommerce capabilities by implementing on-line ticketing. Established new record for football season ticket sales. Sold allotment of 12,000 Independence Bowl tickets.
Reorganized annual giving program doubling the number of donors and increasing total annual contributions to the program 75%. Developed marketing efforts to strengthen outreach and established an agenda for growth. Implemented new giving plan for 1,150 new chair back seats at football stadium.
Led a national search to replace former head football coach Derek Dooley and hired Sonny Dykes from the University of Arizona. Served on the committee as a senior staff member that hired head women's basketball coach Teresa Weatherspoon.
Tech has also seen plenty of success on the fields and courts since Van De Velde's arrival at Tech as the Bulldog football team captured its first bowl victory in more than 30 years with the 2008 Independence Bowl title, the Lady Techster basketball team won the 2009 regular season Western Athletic Conference title, the women's indoor track and field team won both the 2009 and 2010 league titles and the women's outdoor team won the 2009 title.
"Our vision is to build a program to a level where we can be associated with universities that aspire to academic and athletic excellence at the highest level," Van De Velde said. "This goal is consistent with the vision President Reneau has established for the University which is to become north Louisiana's premier national research university.
"In order to accomplish this vision we must engage all of our 80,000 alumni, fans and supporters and ask them for their participation. It takes resources to achieve our goal and we need every one to support the program and come together like we never have before."
Van De Velde came to Tech with impressive credentials, having served as an administrator in intercollegiate athletics for over 20 years, including stints as athletics director at Iowa State University and Utah State University and as a senior administrator at the University of Oklahoma, University of Missouri and Kansas State University.
His tenure at Iowa State University included an unprecedented five bowl appearances in six years and the highest national AP football poll ranking (9th) in school history. The men's and women's basketball teams won Big XII conference championships and participated in the 2001, 2002 and 2005 NCAA basketball tournaments.
Van De Velde, with a track record for generating revenue, increased the total annual operating revenues for the Cyclone athletic department from $19.6 million to $30 million dollars over a five year period. Revenue generated from fundraising, ticket sales, marketing and corporate sponsorships, licensing, radio and television reached all-time highs during his tenure.
Iowa State's graduation rate of 89 percent for student-athletes who complete their eligibility was second in the Big XII Conference, and graduation rates for minority student-athletes more than tripled during Van De Velde's tenure.
The Sporting News in 2001 rated Iowa State as the seventh best athletic program among more than 115 NCAA Division I-A programs nationally. The ranking considered competitive success, graduation rates, fan support and NCAA compliance to determine national rank.
During his time as athletic director at Utah State University, Van De Velde made his mark by hiring Stew Morrill as the head men's basketball coach. Morrill has guided Utah State to nine straight postseason tournaments and is the winningest coach in the history of the Utah State program.
While serving as the associate athletic director for football operations under head coach Bill Snyder at Kansas State University, Van De Velde was part of the resurrection of Wildcat football in Manhattan as the program became a national power participating in five bowl games.
Van De Velde was recipient of the Admiral U.S. Grant Sharp Award at the 1997 Holiday Bowl for his contributions to the Kansas State football team when the nationally ranked Wildcats finished with a 10-2 record.
As the senior associate athletic for external affairs at the University of Oklahoma, Van De Velde served as the senior administrative officer for the athletic department and oversaw the areas of fundraising, marketing, corporate sponsorships, ticket sales, media relations and licensing. Van De Velde managed units that generated in excess of $35 million in annual revenues.
Van De Velde directed the Campaign for Sooner Sports, a $100 million dollar capital campaign to fund facility improvements and scholarships.
During his time at Iowa State University, Van De Velde received the General Robert Neiland Award from the National Football Foundation in 2005 for his service and contributions as an athletic director.
Throughout his career in college athletics, Van De Velde has served on numerous NCAA committees including the Championships and Competition Cabinet, the Football Issues Committee, the Financial Aid Committee and the Peer Review Committee for NCAA certification.