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Rice Hires Tommy McClelland Away From Vanderbilt


Tommy McClelland and son Lawson returning from Camp Barnabas. Photo credentials-Jessica McClelland
Tommy McClelland and son Lawson returning from Camp Barnabas. Photo credentials-Jessica McClelland

After days of speculation, Rice University today made rumors of the past 48 hours officially no longer rumors. With the Houston based school submitted a press release announcing the hiring of Mr Tommy McClelland away from Vanderbilt, where he had served as one of the two Associate Athletic Directors under Candace Storey Lee.



In his role at Vanderbilt, McClelland oversaw direct marketing and promotional efforts, ticket operations and sales, fan engagement and hospitality, as well as broadcasting and the Vanderbilt relationship with Learfield IMG College. Two of his biggest accomplishments at Vanderbilt include the creation of a fan council and leading the fundraising drive in support of the Vandy United project focused on facilities improvements.


Prior to arriving on West End, McClelland served as the athletics director for 7 years at Louisiana Tech University. While in that role, the La Tech football team, men's and women's basketball teams, baseball and softball, golf, as well as track and field teams all enjoyed post season berths. On the field their teams excelled while at the same time off the field facilities saw such improvements as the groundbreaking of a $23 million plus athletic complex as well as a $18 million press box ad luxury suite addition to Joe Aillet Stadium.


McClelland has long been considered one of the top young athletic directors in America after first being hired in 2008 at McNeese State at the age of 26 years old, the youngest person to ever hold such a position in America.


In his personal life, Mr McClelland will be accompanied to Houston by his wife, Jessica, ad their two sons, Lawson ad Greyson. Lawson actually played a huge role in McClelland accepting the Associate AD role at Vanderbilt. Without speaking until he was 5 years old, he was diagnosed with autism. During the summer of 2019, his care had become very difficult and the family was searching for a better plan of care. Kix Brooks, of Brooks & Dunn fame, invited the family to bring Lawson to Vanderbilt, where he holds an advisory board chair. It was because of his care at Vanderbilt that made it a no question move when the position was offered.


In his time at Vanderbilt, his biggest project was spearheading the fundraising effort in support of Vandy United. A $300 million project to improve facilities for student athletes, his leadership garnered over $100 million in donations in just one year. It was a massive undertaking for a young father at a university that has largely been known for it's lack of investment into athletics. He leaves behind massive shoes to fill.



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