Hemphill officially begins his new duties on Aug. 22. He is the 9th athletics director in McNeese history.
"It is rare to have one candidate pull head and shoulders away from all applicants so early in the search process," McNeese President Dr. Philip Williams said. "Bruce is a unique find and meets every criteria that we were seeking in an athletics director.
"Bruce brings a depth of knowledge and experience unmatched by other applicants. He understands the significance we place on academic progress, on graduating our student-athletes and on mentoring them to become successful citizens. He understands the role athletics plays in the larger university environment and he understands the difficulty we face with the athletic budget and the importance of increasing revenue through private sources and auxiliary means," Williams said.
"I am deeply honored and excited to be given the responsibility to lead the athletics department at this great university," Hemphill said. "During my interviews I heard many ideas and suggestions and I want to hear more. I will hit the ground listening."
Hemphill said he wants to be innovative in developing a long-range plan and build on the success and traditions of McNeese athletics. "I plan to immerse myself in the history of McNeese State University and McNeese athletics and to meet with as many people as possible to determine what is good for McNeese."
The Sulphur, La., native has 24 years administrative experience at the collegiate and high school levels. He supervised 10 of 17 programs offered at a major Division 1 university and was responsible for budget oversight, game operations, facilities, personnel, compliance, team travel and recruiting.
He earned his bachelor's and master's degrees from Louisiana State University where he was a three-year letterman in football and won All-Academic Southeast Conference honors at wide receiver. His professional experience began at LSU where he was a graduate assistant and assistant football coach. In 1984, after serving as the supervisor for health and physical education for the Louisiana Department of Education, he returned to collegiate athletics and served for two years as an assistant football coach at Louisiana Tech University.
In 1987 he became the recruiting coordinator at North Carolina State University. From 1989-1990 he served as the assistant recruiting coordinator at the University of South Carolina. He joined the athletics department staff at the University of North Carolina in 1990 and served eight years as assistant to the athletics director and director of recruiting. From 1999-2003 he was associate athletics director at the University of Wyoming. In 2003 he returned to North Carolina and accepted a position as athletics director at a 4A high school, the largest classification in the state.
Williams gave the nine-member search committee 10, equally weighted, factors to consider in evaluating applicants.
1. Understanding NCAA and Southland Conference regulations to ensure that McNeese never faces major compliance issues.
2. Embracing the importance of Academic Progress Reporting (APR) guidelines and understanding that we want our student-athletes to graduate and have successful careers in life.
3. Having as a major goal the winning of the Commissioner's Cup--which recognizes the top overall athletics program in the Southland Conference.
4. Fostering a great relationship with our Student Government Association and working with them to gain support of an increase in student fees to support athletics.
5. Having the ability to interact with major donors in a way that increases private donations.
6. Increasing revenues generated by merchandise licensing and corporate sponsorships.
7. Understanding the complexity of scheduling home and away games for 16 sports and knowing how to manage game day activities for those sports.
8. Understanding the complexity of state budgeting and state ethics laws relating to proper financial management.
9. Maintaining excellent relations with the President and the President's senior staff.
10. Employing the highest quality coaching staff for each sport and serving as a mentor and leader for coaches and student-athletes.
McNeese Associate Athletics Director and Compliance Coordinator Bridget Martin served as interim athletics director and chaired the search process. "Bruce's years of experience in collegiate athletics administration positioned him as the frontrunner in the search process," she said.
"We were fortunate to complete this process so quickly. The search committee was very thorough and diligent. The committee members felt that Bruce is a seasoned professional and that his administrative experience at the Division I college athletics level placed him head and shoulders above the other applicants," Williams said.
McNeese is one of nine universities in the University of Louisiana System. The search process for an athletics director is governed by rules established by the ULS.
The search committee included Martin, McNeese coaches Matt Viator, Brooks Donald Williams and Dave Simmons, student-athlete Kim Kennedy, Dr. Michael Snowden, McNeese chief diversity officer, Dr. Michael Soileau, McNeese faculty member and chair of the McNeese Athletics Advisory Committee and community representatives Willie Landry Mount and Harry Hank.
Martin said more than 35 candidates applied for the position and that the committee conducted Skype or telephone interviews with six applicants, including Hemphill. He was the only finalist invited to interview on campus.
Hemphill succeeds Tommy McClelland who resigned in July to accept the athletics director position at Louisiana Tech University.
***Quotes from colleagues about the McNeese Athletics Director Announcement***
McNeese has hired the perfect fit in Bruce Hemphill. He is from Southwest Louisiana and he will bring the community together around McNeese athletics.
Bruce understands what it takes to build a successful Division I athletics program. He has exceptional people skills and he is a great leader and motivator. He is a fundraiser and he will build support for the program.
Bruce is a professional and kind of person McNeese needs. He is a terrific choice!
Director of Athletics - University of North Florida
Former Athletics Director - University of Wyoming
McNeese hit a home run with Bruce Hemphill! A great plus for Bruce is that he is from Louisiana, played football at LSU and worked at LSU and Louisiana Tech. He knows what it takes to build a successful program and he will lead the McNeese athletics department in the right direction.
I have known Bruce since 1982 and our paths have crossed several times. He has held a wide range of positions in collegiate athletics from recruiting to administrative and he knows how to get things done.
Bruce understands the role that athletics plays in the overall success of the university. He is a people person and he will do a great job with fundraising and moving the McNeese athletics department forward.
He is without a doubt the best choice for the McNeese athletics director!
Head Football Coach - East Tennessee State University
Former Head Football Coach - University of North Carolina
What a tremendous opportunity for Bruce. Bruce has a wealth of experience at a lot of different levels in athletics. He has great integrity and loyalty. I know he's very excited about being the athletics director at McNeese, with his ties to South Louisiana this is a perfect fit.
Head Football Coach - University of Texas
Former Head Football Coach - University of North Carolina
Bruce is an excellent choice to lead McNeese athletics. He is a "can do" guy and during his time at Wyoming I was impressed with his professionalism, people skills and positive outlook.
He has an effective public presence and was very engaged with fundraising. Bruce will build support for McNeese State University and McNeese athletics.
Dr. Philip Dubois
Chancellor - University of North Carolina Charlotte
Former President - University of Wyoming