Vanderbilt hires Tommy McClelland and Kristene Kelly as deputy athletic directors

McClelland, former Louisiana Tech athletic director, and Kelly, a former Dartmouth administrator, were hired on Monday.


Tommy McClelland addressing an audience as athletic director of Louisiana Tech. (Crescent City Sports/Jude Young)

Simon Gibbs, Sports Editor

Vanderbilt athletics announced on Monday that it has hired Louisiana Tech Athletics Director Tommy McClelland and Dartmouth Administrator Kristene Kelly as deputy athletic directors.

Under Athletic Director Candice Storey Lee, McClelland will serve as the deputy athletic director for external affairs and revenue generation. In this role, he will direct marketing and promotional efforts, ticket operations and sales, fan engagement and hospitality, broadcasting and Vanderbilt’s partnership with Learfield IMG College. Kelly will serve as the deputy athletic director of internal affairs, representing Vanderbilt in the Southeastern Conference (SEC) and within the NCAA structure, overseeing student-athlete resource areas and serving as a liaison to campus offices, such as the Title IX Office and Dean of Students.

“Both Tommy and Kristene are very competitive, and I’m excited for the energy that they will bring each and every day,” Lee said in a press release. “As deputy athletic directors, their roles are significant as we continue to position Vanderbilt Athletics for the future. This is a critically important time, and I know that their impact on our student-athletes, coaches, staff, campus partners, community and Commodore Nation will be tremendous. We are excited to welcome them and their families to Vanderbilt, Nashville and the SEC.”

McClelland makes the move to West End after a seven-year term as athletic director at Louisiana Tech, during which the Bulldogs blossomed. On the field, Louisiana Tech’s football, men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball, softball, golf and track and field programs all clinched postseason berths since McClelland’s arrival; off the field, his tenure saw the Bulldogs break ground on a $23-plus million athletics complex and $18-plus million press box and luxury suites

McClelland is regarded as one of the top young athletic directors in the country. His career as an athletic director began in 2008, when he was hired at just age 26 as the athletic director for McNeese State University. 

“I am inspired to be a part of Vanderbilt’s commitment to innovation and leadership through academic and personal development, athletic excellence, stakeholder engagement, fan experience and financial performance,” McClelland said. “I look forward to building relationships with Vanderbilt’s student-athletes, staff, donors, alums and former letter winners, and anyone with a passion for advancing our student-athletes both in and out of competition.”

Kelly has experience working in each of the NCAA’s three divisions, and her career has seen her work up the ranks from sports information director, to associate athletic director, senior associate athletic director, executive associate athletic director, faculty athletics representative, senior woman administrator and athletic director. 

Most recently, Kelly came off a two-year stint at Dartmouth during which she oversaw the then-35 sport program.

“I’m beyond excited to have the opportunity to join the Commodore family in this role under Dr. Lee’s leadership,” Kelly said. “I not only grasp how significant Dr. Lee’s hire is to the school, the community, the SEC and the nation, but more importantly, the responsibility that comes along with it. I share in that responsibility and her vision for the future of Vanderbilt Athletics.”