By BRAD KELLAR
The Texas A&M University-Commerce Athletic Department has a new boss.
Ryan Ivey was named the new athletic director for Texas A&M University-Commerce on Monday. He will be taking over a department that has struggled to perform on the field in a strong Lone Star Conference but has seen recent success with their volleyball and men’s basketball programs.
Ivey comes from McNeese State University in Lake Charles, La., where he has been assistant athletic director since August of 2010. Dr. Dan Jones, president of Texas A&M University-Commerce, said although Ivey is young, his experience at McNeese qualifies him for the job.
“We wanted to find someone who had some experience and would bring us back to a nationally-recognized status,” he said. “Ryan Ivey is a young guy. Although at my age, anyone is young compared to me. His teams and his programs have grown in this economic climate.”
With National Signing Day a month away, Ivey said hiring a new head coach for the football team is first on his agenda.
“Finding a new head coach is my first priority,” he said. “We have no set day, but we want to get it before National Signing Day.”
According to Ivey, he plans to find ways to get the athletic department more involved in the community, which will include hosting a series of town hall meetings with stakeholders and alumni to see what can be improved.
“We have great kids in our athletic department with stories to tell,” he said. “And our job is to get out in the community and show them we’ve got great kids. There will be a series of questions I will be asking, and I will sit and listen to what you have to say.”
A&M-Commerce has been growing by 1,000 students every year for the past three years. Ivey said he will use the school’s growth to bolster the athletic department.
“We have the resources and there is potential for growth,” he said. “This is a chance to put my fingerprint on it and help make it great. It is a responsibility that I do not take lightly.”
Ivey said hard work, discipline and experience are what he will bring to Commerce.
“I can’t promise championships and I can’t promise undefeated seasons,” he said. “But I can promise that I will come to work every day and work my hardest.”