Dr. Burckel worked with the McNeese Foundation to reinstate the McNeese Athletic Foundation (MAF) in early 2020, with the goal of making athletics self-supported and moving athletics funding completely out of the university operating budget.

He said, “Our vision is to make McNeese First Choice in every effort, endeavor, and experience. Building and sustaining a high-quality athletic program that inspires our student-athletes to compete at their optimal performance in the classroom and on playing fields will require sufficient funding for scholarships, academic support, health and wellness programs, and excellent facilities and equipment.”

Dr. Burckel worked to change the structure of athletics to coordinate fundraising efforts more closely with the Office of University Advancement and eliminate the need for a third-party company to seek and secure sponsorships. This decision has paid tremendous dividends and McNeese Athletics is now on the path to become self-sustaining.

During the Burckel presidency:

  • McNeese hired the first Black head football coach in program history and just the second in Southland Conference.
  • McNeese hired the first Black head volleyball coach in program history.
  • Plans and programs were implemented to rectify a declining Football Academic Progress Rate.
  • A new Director of Athletics was hired.
  • New head coaches were hired for men’s and women’s basketball, women’s volleyball, women’s beach volleyball, and women’s tennis.
  • Cowboy Stadium turf was replaced. 
  • A state-of-the-art football locker room was constructed.
  • Enhancements and upgrades were made to the Joe Miller Baseball Facility.
  • Additions and improvements were made to the Cowgirl Softball Stadium.
  • Additions and improvements were made to the Cowgirl Soccer Facility.
  • Additions were made to the Cowgirl Tennis Facility and courts were resurfaced.
  • The track and field surfaces were resurfaced, grandstand was replaced, and entrance plaza added at the Bill and Lena Henning Track and Field Complex.
  • Fencing was added or replaced throughout the athletic complex.
  • The Legacy Center/Doland Field House Parking Lot was resurfaced and repaired.
  • 2023-2024 was the inaugural season for women’s beach volleyball.

During Dr. Burckel’s presidency, McNeese athletic teams excelled and earned conference championships in baseball, softball, women’s tennis, men’s cross country, women’s indoor and outdoor track and field, men’s basketball, and numerous conference and national individual awards.