Tommy McClelland II
Louisiana Tech boasts one of the rising young stars in the industry in Athletics Director Tommy McClelland, who enters his third year in Ruston after an impressive debut.
McClelland joined the LA Tech Family when University President Les Guice introduced him as the new athletics director during a press conference at the Charles Wyly Athletic Center on July 16, 2013.
McClelland, the youngest AD among all Football Bowl Subdivision athletic programs, came to Ruston after serving six years in the same position at McNeese State in Lake Charles.
His first two years in north Louisiana have been successful ones. McClelland's philosophy of developing student-athletes into champions on the playing fields, in the class room and in life is the cornerstone of his leadership style.
While leading Louisiana Tech into the Conference USA era, McClelland impacted the athletics department through fundraising, facility improvements, coaching hires and overall student-athlete development.
Shortly after his hiring, McClelland re-energized the LA Tech fan-base when he joined President Guice in an October press conference revealing the updated plans for the $22 million Davison Athletics Complex located in the south endzone of Joe Aillet Stadium - the centerpiece of the University's Quest for Excellence capital campaign. McClelland completed the fundraising needed for the project, and the new facility opened in August of 2015.
The three-story facility, 70,000-plus square foot building benefits all of Louisiana Tech's student-athletes; it includes a new state-of-the-art strength and conditioning complex utilized by all 16 of the University's athletic programs. The building also houses football coaches' offices, football locker room, team and position meeting rooms, club seating and a multi-functional dining space that can be utilized for athletic and campus events. It will generate an additional $500,000 annually in revenue.
Another marquee addition to the Louisiana Tech athletic facilities during McClelland's tenure is the $1.2 million Paul Millsap Vision presented by Community Trust Bank, a high definition video display board in the Thomas Assembly Center. The project also included a customized sound system for the Thomas Assembly Center and a video board control room, which will be utilized for both football and basketball.
These two major facility improvements and additional smaller scale projects were made possible through a pair of record-setting years in fundraising. During the 2013-14 fiscal year, McClelland spearheaded the efforts in raising more than $10.8 million through both LTAC and Quest for Excellence; more than double any previous year in Tech Athletics history. Included in the record total were five, seven-figure gifts.
The 2014-15 fiscal year saw record totals in Louisiana Tech Athletic Club (LTAC) unrestricted donations -- both in dollar figures and in total number of donors. It also included increases in ticket sales in football, men's and women's basketball.
Tech had plenty of success stories on the playing fields during the past two years, led by the Bulldog basketball team winning back-to-back Conference USA regular season titles and advancing into the NIT with impressive road wins over SEC foe Georgia (2014) and Texas A&M (2015). The Dunkin' Dawgs tied the program single season wins record (29) in 2014 and totaled 56 wins during the two year span.
On the gridiron, the Bulldog football team captured the Conference USA West Division title in 2014, recording a 9-5 overall record and barely falling to Marshall in the C-USA title game. Tech earned an invitation to the Heart of Dallas Bowl and promptly defeated Big 10 foe Illinois 35-18.
In addition to the men's basketball and football successes, the Lady Techster tennis team recorded one of its best seasons in program history, posting a 15-7 record and earning the No. 5 seed in the C-USA championships. First-year head coach Chad Camper earned the Louisiana Sports Writers Association Coach of the Year Award, and the Lady Techsters earned their first ever regional ranking, finishing seventh in the southern region of the final Intercollegiate Tennis Association rankings.
Tech sophomore Victor Lange became the first Bulldog golfer ever to earn an NCAA Regional appearance and competed in the San Antonio Region and Lubbock region the past two years.
McClelland also made some tough personnel decisions, making coaching changes in both women's basketball and baseball. McClelland made a national splash with the hiring of Tyler Summitt to lead the tradition-rich Lady Techster basketball program. Summitt, son of legendary Tennessee Lady Vols coach Pat Summitt, is the youngest head coach of any Division I women's basketball program. He brought instant national notoriety back to the program and led a senior-laden to a winning record in year No. 1 while beginning the process of changing the culture. Summitt and the Techsters were featured by national outlets such as CBS 60-Minute Sports, NBC Nightly News, USA Today, ESPN.com, ESPN SportsCenter, New York Times, Sports Illustrated and more.
He also hired one of the rising stars in college baseball in Greg Goff, a 21-year coaching veteran who recently led Campbell to its third straight 40-win season. The Camels joined LSU, Florida State, Oregon, Oregon State, Louisville, South Carolina and Rice as the only NCAA Division I baseball programs with at least 40 victories in each of the past three years. Goff led the program to this year's NCAA Regionals. In year No. 1 at Tech, Goff guided the Bulldogs to within one game of a .500 record, which was a 10-game improvement in the win column over the previous season.
Prior to coming to Ruston, McClelland made a national name for himself after quickly elevating to the athletics director position at age 26. He earned high praise from a number of high-profile, experienced athletic administrators.
"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 among 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."
Prior to being named athletic director at McNeese State on March 19, 2008, McClelland served as interim athletic director and assistant athletic director of internal affairs at the university.
In his time at McNeese, McClelland and his staff had numerous success stories when it came to increased revenue streams and the overall game-day experience in Lake Charles. He raised more than $3 million in private donations, and he was instrumental in increasing corporate sponsorships to nearly $1 million, while securing new clients and multi-year sponsorships.
McClelland was also responsible for increasing football season ticket sales: the program eclipsed the 8,000 mark in 2008 with a high of 8,035 in 2009. In addition, he was instrumental in setting single-game attendance records in baseball, volleyball, softball, soccer, women's basketball and women's tennis.
"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," said Ian McCaw, athletics director at Baylor University. "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."
One of McClelland's main goals was to improve the life of the student-athletes and increase the game-day experience for the McNeese State fan base. One of the most effective ways to accomplish these goals was by improving the facilities. During his time at McNeese State, he oversaw a combined total of over $11 million dollars in facility renovation and new construction.
The combination of increased revenue streams, renovations and new construction, and a highly-involved fan base led to plenty of success stories on the playing fields. During his tenure as athletic director, McNeese won Southland Conference championships in football (2007, 2009), soccer (2006, tournament; 2007, regular season), softball (2010, tournament; 2013, regular season), men's basketball (2011, regular season), women's basketball (2011, regular season; 2011 and 2012 tournament) and men's cross country (2012). The women's basketball program made its first appearances ever in the NCAA Tournament, and the men's basketball program hosted the first round of the NIT postseason tournament (Boston College live on ESPNU).
Even more impressive is the fact that while the Cowboy and Cowgirl programs were capturing titles on the fields, the University's student-athletes were making tremendous strides in the classroom. In five of McClelland's six years as athletics director, McNeese State led the Southland Conference in the number of student-athletes named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll.
In addition, McClelland guided the resurgence in APR success in Lake Charles. The number of athletic programs boasting the required APR score of 925 went from four in his first year to all 16 in his final year. The community service hours performed by the MSU student-athletes also tripled to more than 3,000 during his tenure.
"Tommy has a great knowledge of college athletics and excels at helping his student-athletes balance and succeed in their commitments to academics and athletics," said Warde Manuel, athletics director at the University of Connecticut. "Tommy has also proven his ability to work effectively with coaches and administrators to help his programs be successful."
McClelland earned his bachelor's degree from Northwestern State in 2004 and completed his master's degree in sports administration in 2005. He walked on with the Demons football team and eventually earned a scholarship; he also competed in the javelin for the NSU track and field team.
The native of Basile, Louisiana served as a graduate assistant at Northwestern State in athletics and also worked at the Southland Conference office as an administrative intern, assisting with championship events.
McClelland is also a 2012 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.
McClelland is married to the former Jessica Stokes of Garrison, Texas. They have two sons, Lawson (5) and Grayson (4).