“In his tour of duty at TROY, John has provided great service to our athletic program and this move is a positive reflection on what he has accomplished here,” Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins, Jr., said. “John has set the stage for our program to reach the next level and we wish him and his family well. We will also miss Dr. Heather Hartwell, who was outstanding as first lady of Trojan athletics as she brought a new dimension to that role by working tirelessly to promote TROY. Utah State is definitely getting two for one!”
During his near three-year tenure, Hartwell laid the groundwork for the future of Troy Athletics. With major facility enhancements, several prominent head coaching hires and an upward trend in academics, Hartwell’s time at Troy was one of progress.
“Troy will always hold a special place in my family’s heart,” Hartwell said. “I can’t say thank you enough to Dr. and Mrs. Hawkins, the Troy University staff, the Troy community, the fans and most importantly the Troy student-athletes for their hard work and support during my tenure at Troy. The Trojan Nation is strong and is continuing to grow, and I look forward to tracking the unrelenting success of all the Trojan teams. The friendships we made will last a lifetime and I will forever be a Trojan.”
During the 2014-15 athletic season, five Troy programs competed in postseason play highlighted by a pair of Sun Belt Conference championships by the women’s golf and men’s tennis teams. The women’s golf program has made back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances, while the men’s golf team received an at-large berth to the NCAA Regional and Tolver Dozier competed at the NCAA Men’s Golf Championship. The Trojan baseball team defeated Alabama twice en route to an appearance in the 2013 NCAA Tallahassee Regional Final, while the women’s basketball team won 20 games this past year for the first time since 1996-97 and made just its second postseason appearance in school history.
Hartwell oversaw a rejuvenation of the Troy coaching ranks with the addition of Neal Brown (football), Phil Cunningham (men’s basketball), Mark Smartt (baseball), Beth Mullins (softball), Jason Hamilton (soccer), Scott Kidd (men’s tennis), Bart Barnes (women’s golf), Marc Davis (track & field) and Rawia Elsisi (women’s tennis) as head coaches. Within the past year, three of Hartwell’s new hires – Mullins, Kidd and Barnes – have been named Sun Belt Coach of the Year, including back-to-back awards by Barnes.
Troy saw a significant enhancement in fundraising and external relations during Hartwell’s time as Athletic Director. He completely overhauled the Troy Athletics External Affairs division to increase revenues and enhance the fan and game day experience. Included in this makeover was the creation of a new external model, which involved the addition of a Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs, bringing corporate sponsorships in house with a partnership with Rockbridge Sports Group and the development of the Troy Affinity Program to further engage Troy students involvement in athletics.
Hartwell’s strong business background proved valuable as he negotiated a new footwear and apparel deal with Adidas that further benefited all of Troy’s athletic teams.
Marquee games are littered across Troy’s past and future football schedules as Hartwell secured home-and-home contracts with Duke, North Carolina State, Boise State, Southern Miss and UMass. Additionally, Hartwell negotiated the highest payouts for a road game in Troy history with contests at Wisconsin and Nebraska. The scheduling of big name schools to come to Troy didn’t stop at just at football, as Hartwell helped bring Ole Miss to Trojan Arena to open the 2014-15 men’s basketball season.
Hartwell’s tenure at Troy saw a record number of student-athletes earn a 3.0 grade-point-average, an upward trend in APR scores and additional staff positions in Troy’s academic support department. During the 2014-15 academic year, Troy student-athletes finished with a 3.01 cumulative grade-point average and over 57 percent of Troy’s student-athletes had a 3.0 GPA or higher.
An internal committee headed by Dr. Doug Patterson, Special Assistant to the Chancellor and former Vice Chancellor of Troy University, will handle the search for a new director of athletics.
Troy Head Coaches
Football Head Coach Neal Brown
“John is a rising star in this business. I will be forever grateful for the opportunity he gave me to be Troy’s head football coach. There are great things ahead for John and everyone with Troy football wishes him the very best.”
Men’s Basketball Head Coach Phil Cunningham
“I hate to see John leave Troy, but one part of college athletics that a coach must be able to handle well is the constant change in personnel. The thing that really stands out to me about John’s tenure at Troy was his working relationship with Dr. Hawkins. Those two men were an impressive duo who knew how to get things done. As a coach, it’s important to be led by administrators who want to win, and those two had to be as competitive as any CEO/AD combination in the country. Utah State is getting one heck of an athletic director in John Hartwell. Moving forward, I think the list of candidates for this opening will be a long one full of talented and experienced individuals. The athletic department at Troy is full of hungry coaches who understand the true definition of winning academically as well as athletically. Dr. Hawkins has proven repeatedly throughout his career that he knows what is best for Troy University, and we all feel great about his leadership in hiring our next athletic director.”
Women Basketball Head Coach Chanda Rigby
“It is hard to sum up all that John Hartwell has done to advance our athletic department and specifically the women’s basketball program. The combination of his progressive thinking, his tireless work ethic and his likeable demeanor enabled him to push an impressive agenda of accomplishments at Troy. He and his wife, Heather, have been some of Troy women’s basketball’s biggest fans, and we wish them much success and happiness in their future.”
Baseball Head Coach Mark Smartt
“John did exceptional work for Troy University and the athletic department during his tenure. He offers a great combination of athletic experience and business acumen that has helped our athletic department grow and expand. His positive energy is contagious and his leadership ability is second to none. I will miss his guidance as I transition into the head coach role but he has earned this type of opportunity with his outstanding performance at Troy and we wish him, his wife Heather, and his two girls nothing but success as they begin their new journey at Utah State.”