Eastern University Athletics

07/12/2018 | Press release | Distributed by Public on 07/12/2018 16:08

McNelley To Lead Athletics

ST. DAVIDS, Pa. - Eastern University Provost Dr. Kent Sparks announced that will take over leadership of Eastern Athletics as Interim Athletic Director for 2018-19. McNelley has served the University as Head Men's Basketball Coach for the past three years.

In addition to his coaching experience, McNelley has worked as an Athletic Director at the High School level and has been in evolved in development projects at Eastern as the Director of Athletic Development for the past two years.

He will take over for , who has served as Interim Athletic Director for the past two years. Birtwistle will continue as Associate AD and SWA in the Department.

Sparks pointed specifically to McNelley's experience at Westminster Christian School in South Florida. There, McNelley rebuilt a struggling Football program and Track and Field team. Both programs were on the verge of not being able to field teams due to low participation and failing budgets. Over the span of 18 months, both programs grew in size, with the development of a robust JV, middle school and elementary school teams. Both programs became state contenders. Football advanced to the Florida State Semifinals in 2013, and the Track and Field program broke numerous school records.

Additionally, McNelley oversaw construction projects and upgrades of the athletic facilities including the football field, track and field facilities, baseball field, gymnasium and weight room. He also developed 'The Chiefs' into an organized and productive athletic booster group.

His experience in program development, fundraising, and facilities enhancement should prove important as Eastern seeks to continue increase the number and quality of athletic opportunities.

'I would like to thank Dr. Matthews and Dr. Sparks for their trust in giving me this opportunity,' McNelley said. 'Eastern has tremendous potential for growth. I look forward to assisting the University expand its athletic offerings and develop a robust programming model that will benefit our Student Athletes on the fields, in the classroom, and in our Christian community.'

While leading Eastern Men's Basketball, McNelley has developed the Hoop MIA D3Holiday Shootout in Miami as a successful and growing tournament and continued to develop the Eagle Classic as a fundraiser in the fall. He had three assistant coaches from his staff hired as Head Coaches in the past few months.

Eastern Men's basketball has reached the MAC Freedom Tournament in each of the past two seasons and has won more league games (25) than any other team in that stretch.

McNelley will continue to lead the basketball program, but acknowledges that he will need the continued support of his staff and the rest of several important leaders in the department to make both his program and department thrive.

'Heidi is going to be a huge resource for me,' McNelley said. 'I am looking forward to seeing our team of administrators working together to find ways to develop our programs and facilities for the benefit of our student-athletes.'

McNelley has a Masters in Administration from Barry University and lives in Newtown Square with his wife Jessica and their three kids.