College athletics: Louisiana Tech AD McClelland accepts position at Vanderbilt

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Malcolm Butler, Louisiana Tech Associate AD/Communications 

RUSTON, La. – Louisiana Tech Director of Athletics Tommy McClelland has accepted the position of Deputy AD for External Affairs and Revenue Generation at Vanderbilt University and will be departing Ruston after seven years of service to the Bulldog and Lady Techster Family.

            McClelland, who came to Tech in July 2013, will serve as the AD through the end of September when he will depart for his new job in Nashville, Tennessee.

“For the past seven years Jessica, Lawson, Grayson, and I have come to discover that Louisiana Tech and the Ruston community is truly a family,” said McClelland. “This is a special place with great people. I want to personally thank Dr. Les Guice for trusting me to serve as athletics director.

“It has been a joy to work alongside our coaches and staff as we developed our remarkable student-athletes in the classroom, on the field, and in life. As we leave Louisiana Tech, we know it will forever hold a special place in our hearts and we look forward to remaining engaged as friends, fans, and donors. Once a Bulldog, always a Bulldog.”

Guice said he has activated a search committee that will begin a national search for the University’s next director of athletics.

“Tommy was the first person I hired when I became President, and I have been most grateful for his leadership of our athletics program since that very first day,” said Guice. “He is a highly talented individual who ran our program with integrity, class, and success.  He has been so effective in developing our athletics staff, hiring head coaches, and establishing a positive culture among our student athletes.”

            During his time in Ruston, McClelland has spearheaded the most expansive facility growth in LA Tech Athletics with more than $80 million worth of new construction and improvements, including the construction of the Davison Athletics Complex, the new press box and suites as well as the baseball, softball, and soccer facilities.

“Tommy conceived, planned, and developed superb facilities for our athletics program that will serve to elevate the national profile of our institution for years to come,” said Guice. “He has skillfully navigated our athletics programs through a tornado, hurricane, and a pandemic and has enabled our programs to continue to move forward despite these obstacles.”

McClelland, who became the youngest AD in the country at McNeese State prior to his arrival in Ruston, said although leaving Louisiana Tech is bittersweet, he feels the timing is right for his family.

“As this opportunity materialized, our family felt called both personally and professionally to this exciting new chapter,” said McClelland. “We are thrilled to be joining the Vanderbilt community. I am thankful for this opportunity extended by Dr. Lee, who shares every value that Vanderbilt has as an institution — and that it should expect for its athletics program.”

In addition to the incredible growth in facilities during McClelland’s tenure, LA Tech student-athletes have seen plenty of success on the field and in the classroom. Tech has won championships and/or made postseason appearances in football, men’s and women’s basketball, baseball, softball, and golf since 2013 while the Bulldog football program owns the nation’s longest bowl win streak at six.

During McClelland’s time in Ruston, 1,137 LA Tech student-athletes have been recognized on the Conference USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll, including a record 212 in 2018-19, while another 277 have earned the C-USA Academic Medal, including a record 60 in 2018-19.

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.

Guice named Deputy Athletics Director Mary Kay Hungate as the interim AD while the committee conducts its search for McClelland’s replacement. 

— Featured photo of Tommy McClelland courtesy of Louisiana Tech Sports Information