RUSTON — Louisiana Tech has hired Thomas H. McClelland II as its new athletic director.
Pending approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors, McClelland will take over for former Louisiana Tech AD Bruce Van De Velde, who stepped down July 1.
McClelland comes to Tech from McNeese State, where he served as athletic director for six years.
“I am extremely grateful for the opportunity to join the Louisiana Tech family,” McClelland said. “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.”
During his tenure at McNeese, McClelland led an improvement in team academic progress rates (APR) that now exceed NCAA targets, set single game and season attendance records in several men’s and women’s programs, directed $11 million in facility construction and improvements, and led the development of a strategic plan that increased self-generated revenues by 80 percent.
Under McClelland’s leadership, McNeese State programs won 11 Southland Conference regular season or tournament championships.
“Tommy McClelland has demonstrated strong leadership skills and success in his early years as an athletics director,” Louisiana Tech president Dr. Les Guice said. “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.”
The Louisiana Tech Athletics Council, chaired by College of Applied and Natural Sciences Dean Dr. James Liberatos, served as the search committee that vetted and interviewed candidates, and ultimately recommended McClelland as its finalist for the athletics director position. The search committee was assisted throughout the process by Eastman & Beaudine, Inc. of Plano, Texas.
“I am excited to work with a passionate athletics director who is committed to the well-being of our student-athletes,” said Liberatos.
Along with the athletic success McClelland has produced, he prides himself on building integrity and strength of character in student-athletes. In four of the past five years, McNeese State has led the Southland Conference in student-athletes being named to the Commissioner’s Honor Roll. McClelland also emphasizes community service with volunteer hours by student-athletes having tripled during his tenure.
McClelland has also developed and led a number of highly successful fundraising, sponsorship and outreach programs. His “Partner with the Pokes” program raised over $3 million in private donations and increased corporate sponsorships to nearly $1 million. In an effort to increase his program’s media presence, McClelland negotiated a syndicated radio network for football, men’s basketball, baseball and an arrangement that produced the first ever radio station that was solely dedicated to broadcasting women’s basketball.
“Tommy makes a very favorable impression and appears to possess the skills, knowledge and experience necessary to be an outstanding athletics director for Louisiana Tech,” said Steve Davison, Louisiana Tech alumnus and member of the Athletics Council.
McClelland’s exemplary leadership and innovative strategies in intercollegiate athletics has caught the eye of some of the most respected and successful athletics directors in the nation.
“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. I congratulate both Louisiana Tech and Tommy, and feel both will benefit greatly from this hire.”
“Louisiana Tech and its search committee are to be commended for making an exceptional hire in Tommy McClelland,” said Baylor University Athletics Director Ian McCaw. “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. 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 serves on several national, regional and state leadership boards and committees including the NCAA Championship and Management Cabinet, the United Way Sports Hall of Fame Selection Committee, the Council for a Better Louisiana (CABL) Regional Board, and as chair of the Southland Conference Athletics Director’s Committee.
As a former student-athlete, McClelland was a walk-on for Northwestern State University’s football team and played four years as the long snapper. He also competed in track & field in the javelin.