Keith McCluney Hired as Deputy Director of Athletics

By Lion Athletics

COMMERCE – Texas A&M University-Commerce Interim Director of Athletics Eric Coleman has announced the appointment of Keith McCluney as Deputy Director of Athletics on Monday morning.

“Adding Keith to our administrative team during this transition up to Division I was a no-brainer, especially with his vast experience at the Division I level,” said Coleman. “We’re excited to see him grow our external unit and soar this university to new heights.”

“I am very excited to join the team at A&M-Commerce. I appreciate the opportunity to serve these incredibly talented student-athletes at a tradition rich university that has a clearly defined commitment to excellence and success in athletics and academics,” said McCluney.

“I’m honored to be a part of Interim AD Eric Coleman‘s leadership team and I look forward to working with our partners both internally and externally to build dominance in and out of the classroom while providing our student-athletes with a first-class intercollegiate athletic experience!”

A native of Shelby, North Carolina, McCluney comes to A&M-Commerce after serving as the Deputy Director of Athletics/Chief of Staff at Florida A&M University. During this period of historic growth for FAMU Athletics, McCluney provided oversight, developed, and executed the launch of the Rattler Athletic Fund, the “ALL IN” Campaign for Athletics, the STRIKE Summer Tour.

McCluney also helped negotiate a partnership agreement with Peak Sports to execute and manage corporate partnerships. During this historic period of growth and exposure,
McCluney was an integral part of the negotiations in the groundbreaking apparel deal with Nike (direct relationship) that made FAMU the first ever Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) to have a direct relationship with Nike and branded the department as the first and only Lebron James school in the country.

An elite fundraiser, McCluney also launched the Jake Gaither Society which was comprised of donors and friends who committed support the athletic department at the $25,000 level annually. The Gaither Society currently has 10 members.

Prior to serving at Florida A&M, McCluney served as Interim Director of Athletics at the University of Arkansas-Pine Bluff where several fundraising initiatives were launched and successfully socialized in the alumni base. The Golden Lion Scholarship Fund was launched, and the rebranding and marketing of the departmental strategic plan was also initiated.

During his time at UAPB, McCluney launched the “Golden Lion Fund” which is the official fundraising arm for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics. Since its launch in July 2019, the fund has grown to over $150,000 for unrestricted use by the Department of Athletics. During his time as Interim AD, McCluney led the department through the initial stages of a compliance audit and review with the NCAA Committee on Infractions, and oversaw the implementation of several academic improvement plans.

Additionally, McCluney launched the Golden Lion Scholar Athlete program during the fall of 2019, which recognizes all student-athletes with a 3.0 GPA or higher; placing a patch on their jersey to be worn during competition in recognition of their high scholastic achievement.

Prior to his time with the Lions, McCluney served as the Associate Athletic Director for Development at Florida Atlantic University; however, his most significant contributions and impact came during his three years of leading the Blue Raider Athletic Association at Middle Tennessee State University. Under his leadership at MTSU, the Blue Raider Athletic Association experienced unprecedented growth and completely overhauled their development process while positioning the organization for sustained long-term annual fund growth and preparing the donor pool for future major capital projects.

Additionally, McCluney led two major capital projects; the renovation of the Athletics Sports Performance Center, which had an immediate and direct impact on student-athlete performance and success; producing bowl appearances, conference championships, and multiple NCAA Tournament berths for MTSU student-athletes, and the premium space renovation project at Floyd Stadium. The premium space renovation project for Floyd Stadium’s open-air box seating area was as a major upgrade to the most sought-after area of all athletic inventory and provided a substantial increase in revenue, while greatly improving the game day experience. MTSU Athletics opened a $6 million indoor tennis center (Adams Tennis Complex) during this era of unprecedented growth and has hosted local, regional, and national events since its opening.

McCluney is a seasoned development professional with a wealth of experience. Prior to his stint at MTSU, McCluney spent four years at Wake Forest University, where he served as the Director of Regional Development for the Deacon Club. As part of the Deacon Club team, McCluney’s primary focus was soliciting and securing major gifts to fund strategic initiatives and capital projects for the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics.

McCluney played a major role in the early stages of the “Wake Will” Campaign that raised and surpassed $200 million for athletics, which transformed the athletic facilities of the historic Winston-Salem campus. Prior to his time with the Deacons, McCluney served in two other Power Five Conference schools, having administrative roles as the Assistant Director of Development at the University of Tennessee and the Assistant Director of Annual Giving at the University of Miami. McCluney began his athletics administration career as the Assistant AD for Marketing and Promotions at North Carolina A&T State University in Greensboro, North Carolina.

McCluney is a former football student-athlete and graduate of Fayetteville State University, where he earned a B.S. in Business Administration and Marketing. McCluney is also a graduate of the Sports Management Institute (SMI) and the North Carolina A&T State University Leadership Academy.

McCluney also has memberships to the National Association of Athletic Directors of Development (NAADD) and Omega Psi Phi Fraternity, Inc. Lion Nation can follow Keith on Twitter at @kemccluney.