Tommy McClelland II
Louisiana Tech hired one of the rising young stars in the industry when University President Les Guice introduced Tommy McCelland as the new athletics director during a press conference held at the Charles Wyly Athletic Center on July 16.
McClelland, who is the youngest AD among all Football Bowl Subdivision athletic programs, joins the LA Tech Family after serving a six-year stint in the same position at McNeese State in Lake Charles.
"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."
Guice introduced McClelland to an overflowing room of Louisiana Tech supporters, coaches and administrators during the lunch-time press conference held in the Guthrie Jarrell Room.
"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."
McClelland has made a national name for himself during his career after quickly elevating to the athletics director position at age 26. He has 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 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."
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 started the "Partner with the Pokes" program that provides a smaller, more attractive sponsorship package for local small businesses. On top of the "Partner with the Pokes" program, McClelland raised over $3 million in private donations since April of 2007, 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 as 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.
In addition to increasing private and corporate donations as well as season ticket sales, McClelland was also successful with engaging the McNeese State fan base. He created and implemented the multi-city summer "Cowboy Round-Up Tour," which allowed McNeese State coaches, administrators and athletics staff to carry the department's message and vision to fans and donors across the south.
"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."
McClelland devised a plan to resurrect the "M" Club for former student-athletes. He also negotiated a new syndicated radio network for football, men's and women's basketball, and baseball. Included in that deal was the first ever radio station solely dedicated to broadcasting women's basketball. McClelland also re-negotiated the football program's TV replay contract, increasing the coverage area from one station to three different stations as well as the internet.
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, something in which he succeeded. 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 the six years, McNeese State led the Southland Conference with student-athletes being named to the Commissioner's Honor Roll.
In addition, McClelland guided the resurgence in APR success in Lake Charles. During his six years McNeese State, the number of athletic programs boasting the required APR score of 925 went from four to all 16 this past year. The community service hours performed by the MSU student-athletes also tripled to over 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 before completing his master's degree in sports administration in 2005. He walked on with the Demons football team and eventually earned a scholarship while he also competed in the javelin for the NSU track and field team.
The native of Basile, Louisiana, native 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 (3) and Grayson(2).