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Joining Louisianan Tech University in the spring of 2008, Bruce Van De Velde became director of athletics on March 1, 2010 after serving as deputy director of athletics. During his initial months as director of athletics, Van De Velde led a national search and hired 2011 WAC Coach of Year Sonny Dykes. Van De Velde also initiated the largest fund raising campaign in athletic department history in the Quest for Excellence, a $20 million initiative to raise private donations to enhance athletic facilities.
A veteran administrator Van De Velde has a track record of operating programs with integrity and with the student athlete as the top priority. As director of athletics at three NCAA Division I institutions, those programs have achieved no major rule infractions. This past season Louisiana Tech student athletes achieved their highest graduation success rate in University history while the Academic Progress Rate (APR) for all 16 sports was penalty free with nine of the programs recording their highest APR in their history.
With Louisiana Tech's invitation to join Conference USA in 2013 Van De Velde and his administrative team have Louisiana Tech poised to reach its highest level of achievement.
"This is the dawn of a new era for Louisiana Tech University and a goal we have worked very hard over the past several years to achieve," said Tech President Dan Reneau. "I want to publically acknowledge the efforts of Bruce Van De Velde and his team, who were instrumental in telling our story and promoting our vision for the future of Louisiana Tech Athletics."
Van De Velde has more than two decades of experience at the Division I level as a senior administrator including the University of Oklahoma, University of Missouri, Kansas State University and Utah State University. Van De Velde also has a thorough understanding of coaches and the needs of student athletes having served as an educator and coach early in his career.
On the forefront of national service to intercollegiate athletics Van De Velde has served on numerous NCAA cabinets and committees including NCAA Football Issues Committee, NCAA Championship and Competition Cabinet and the Division IA Athletic Directors Executive Committee. During his tenure in the Big XII Conference he served on the Television Committee and the Conference Bowl Committee.
"It is an honor to be the director of athletics at Louisiana Tech University," Van De Velde said. "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. Serving our student athletes and assuring their personal development is our top priority along with enhancing the image of the University."
During his tenure Van De Velde has been instrumental in a number of accomplishments that have helped further the advancement of the University's athletic department, including:
* Leadership and strategic direction for Louisiana Tech's invitation and transition to Conference USA from the Western Athletic Conference.
* Developed and implemented the largest fund raising campaign in athletic department history. Quest for Excellence: The Campaign for Tech Athletics is a $20 million campaign to upgrade athletic facilities.
* Reorganized annual giving program doubling the number of donors and increasing annual contributions to the program 140 percent; increased total contributions to intercollegiate athletics from $1.6 million in 2008 to $6 million in 2012.
* Hired head football coach Sonny Dykes and head men's basketball coach Michael White.
* Upgraded ticket operations improving customer service, marketing by ecommerce and out bound sales capabilities by partnering with Ticketmaster and the Aspire Group and established a new record for football season ticket sales four consecutive years.
* Student-athlete graduate success rate of 71 percent in 2011 was the highest in the history of the university and one of the top graduation rates in the nation. All 16 sports programs were APR penalty free and eight programs achieved their highest APR in school history.
In 2010, the Louisiana Tech athletic department was recognized nationally with the PRISM Award for excellence in athletics management under the leadership of Van De Velde and the administrative staff. The athletic department was also honored with the Excellence in Management Cup by Texas A&M University for three consecutive years and won the NCAA Pack the House for the Western Athletic Conference five consecutive years for its marketing and promotions efforts for women's basketball.
Tech has also seen plenty of competitive success since Van De Velde's arrival at Tech as the Bulldog football team captured the 2011 WAC championship and participated in the Poinsettia Bowl against 15th ranked TCU. The Bulldogs also captured its first bowl victory in more than 30 years with the 2008 Independence Bowl win over Northern Illinois.
Under the direction of head coach Teresa Weatherspoon, the Lady Techster basketball team won the 2009 and 2011 regular season Western Athletic Conference titles, and the 2010 WAC Tournament title while the women's indoor and outdoor track and field teams led by head coach Gary Stanley won the 2009, 2010 and 2011 league titles.
The Bulldog basketball team under the direction of first-year coach Mike White advanced to the program's first ever WAC Tournament title game in 2011, defeating defending WAC Tournament champion Utah State and regular season WAC champion Nevada along the way.
Numerous individual success stories have also occurred under his leadership including sprinter Antoinette Cobb earning the 2010 Honda Inspiration Award and catcher Clint Ewing becoming a finalist for the Lowe's Senior CLASS Award for their work both on the field of completion and in the classroom. In 2011, track star Chelsea Hayes earned the WAC's Joe Kearney Award while shattering numerous school records and qualified for the United States Olympic team in the long jump.
Prior to Louisiana Tech Van De Velde who has an extensive background in higher education fund raising served as a development consultant in the College of Education at the University of Missouri during their $100 million campaign and as Director of Athletics at Iowa State University.
Van De Velde's 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. Iowa State's 2001 average football attendance of 45,172 reached its highest watermark in 18 years.
In 2002 and 2003, total football attendance exceeded 300,000; the most at ISU in two decades. The emergence of the Cyclone football program on a national stage with Van De Velde at the department helm was affirmed in 2002 when Iowa State was chosen to play No. 1 Florida State University in the Eddie Robinson Classic.
During Van De Velde's tenure at Iowa State, 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.
In 2005, total fundraising increased from $4.85 million to $8.6 million and the annual giving achieved the highest membership total in its history with more than 6,000 donors participating and a record $4 million dollars in annual contributions. Under Van De Velde's leadership, over 1,500 new donors joined the National Cyclone Club.
Including capital project gifts, scholarship endowments and annual contributions, over $35 million dollars was raised 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.
In 2004-05, Iowa State was one of eight universities nationally to have its football team win a bowl game and have its men and women's basketball teams participate in the NCAA tournament. 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 most successful coach in the history of the Utah State program.
While serving as the associate athletic director for football operations under legendary 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 a senior administrator 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.
As associate athletic director for development at the University of Missouri, Van De Velde supervised a $50 million dollar capital campaign for facility improvements for the Sports Park at MU.
Van De Velde received the General Robert Neyland Award from the National Football Foundation in 2005 for his service and contributions as an athletic director. Van De Velde currently serves on the 1A Athletic Directors Association Executive Committee and on the NCAA Football Issues Committee.
He and his wife Debbie, who is an Kansas State alum and who serves as the development officer in the LA Tech College of Business, are the proud parents of 12-year-old daughter, Ashley who is entering the sixth grade.