Tommy McClelland II
Since stepping on campus in July of 2013, the cornerstone of Louisiana Tech Director of Athletics Tommy McClelland’s leadership has been the philosophy of building champions on the playing fields, in the classrooms and in life.
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.
If the past few years are an indication, McClelland’s philosophy is paying dividends in Ruston. During McClelland’s fourth year sitting in the AD chair in Ruston, the University’s student-athletes combined to record one of the most successful years in recent history.
In fact one could argue that since his arrival in Ruston, Louisiana Tech has seen its most impressive 4-year run since the 1970s. Over the past four years, the University has seen postseason appearances by football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, softball, golf and track and field.
“So much of the credit goes to our coaches, student-athletes, support staff and administration,” said McClelland. “We have a great team mentality within athletics and a family atmosphere. We preach building champions on the field, in the classroom and in life, and I truly believe we had more than our share of all of those during the past few years.
“I think we can build upon these successes. We never want to be satisfied, and we are always striving for even greater things. That’s our philosophy.”
During his time in Ruston, the Louisiana Tech programs have all taken strides forward on the playing fields, highlighted by:
Football – the Bulldogs are one of just four teams nationally that have won 9 or more games and a bowl game in each of the past three years, joining Clemson, Wisconsin and Utah. Since 2013, Tech has had more players selected in the NFL Draft than any other Conference USA program.
Men’s Basketball – the Bulldogs are one of just 13 teams in the nation to record 23-plus win in each of the last five years. Tech has appeared in the postseason every year but one during that time frame while winning a pair of regular season conference titles.
Women’s Basketball – After being hired last April, head coach Brooke Stoehr (a former Lady Techster great) led the program to its first postseason appearance since 2011 while finishing fourth in the C-USA after being picked to finish 12th in the preseason coaches’ poll.
Baseball – Louisiana Tech made its first NCAA Regional appearance in 30 years when the Bulldogs won 40-plus games and reached the Starkville Regional finals in 2016. This past year saw first year head coach Lane Burroughs guide Tech to 35 wins, including victories over SEC foes Arkansas and Mississippi State, and a Top 25 ranking.
Softball – the Lady Techsters have recorded back-to-back-to-back 30-plus win seasons for the first time in two decades. Tech won its first Conference USA Tournament title in 2017, earning a spot in the 2017 NCAA Tournament in the Tuscaloosa Regional where it took No. 1 ranked Minnesota to extra innings before falling.
Men’s Golf – the 2016 Bulldog golf team shocked everyone in route to capturing the Conference USA team title (its first since 1980) and clinching the program’s first ever appearance in the NCAA Regionals. Victor Lange became the first Bulldog to ever earn three straight strips to the NCAA Regionals.
As a whole the 2016-17 athletic year saw Louisiana Tech make some impressive statements.
Louisiana Tech was one of only seven FBS schools in the country to have 9-plus football wins, 20-plus MBB wins, 35-plus baseball wins and 35-plus softball wins (one of only two non-Power 5 teams to accomplish it: BYU).
Tech also became only the second C-USA program to finish in the top 5 in football, women’s basketball, men’s basketball, baseball, softball and soccer in the same season in league’s history (East Carolina, 2012-13).
This came on the heels of 2015-16, a season that was just as strong.
Louisiana Tech joined Florida, Florida State, Ohio State and Ole Miss as the only five Football Bowl Subdivision schools to recorded 9-plus wins in football, 20-plus wins in men’s basketball and 40-plus wins in baseball.
It was also one of only 12 FBS programs to play in the postseason in each of those three sports, joining Florida, Connecticut, Florida State, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Ohio State, Washington, Duke, Arizona, Utah and Miami (Fla.).
Pretty elite company.
Off the field, Louisiana Tech athletics has blossomed in the classroom as well.
During McClelland’s time in Ruston, a total of 582 LA Tech student-athletes have been recognized on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll while another 126 have earned the C-USA Academic Medal.
Louisiana Tech senior soccer star Katie Sloan was named the 2016 CoSIDA Academic All-America of the Year for Division I Women’s Soccer, becoming the first student-athlete in LA Tech history to receive this prestigious honor.
The University has also seen its athletic programs continue to earn high marks in both the NCAA’s annual Academic Progress Report (APR) and Graduation Success Rate, ranking among the state and conference leaders in many of these marks.
Perhaps the most tangible sign of McClelland’s impact at Louisiana Tech are in facilities with the addition of the $23-plus million Davison Athletics Complex and the $18-plus million press box and luxury suites at Joe Aillet Stadium. These two new facilities not only changed the landscape of football game-day in Ruston but also produce more than $1.2 million in additional revenue per year for LA Tech Athletics.
In addition to the new construction, the department has seen upgrades and renovations to many of its other athletic facilities, such as the addition of 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.
Louisiana Tech Athletics has also seen record numbers in private giving in each of the last three years, including surpassing $1.5 million in giving to the Louisiana Tech Athletics Club (LTAC) for the first time ever this past year. Tech has also seen record numbers in most LTAC donors in the past two years.
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.
Louisiana Tech also made the announcement in the fall of 2015 that it partnered with adidas America, Inc. to establish a transformational 5-year exclusive agreement that outfits all 16 NCAA men's and women's programs in adidas uniforms, apparel, footwear and equipment through the 2020-2021 athletics 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 Liberty Athletics Director Ian McCaw. "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 Michigan Athletics Director Warde Manuel. "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 (7) and Grayson (6).
- Men's Sports
- Women's Sports
- Staff Directory
- Academic Center
- Archived News
- Athletic Training
- Business Partners
- Hotel Partners
- LA Tech Hall of Fame
- Official Logo Guide
- Recruiting Questionnaires
- SA Handbook
- Sponsorship & Advertising
- Wheels for Dogs