Troy Athletic Director shares vision with young professionals

Published 11:00 pm Thursday, January 31, 2013

Troy Athletic Direct John Hartwell was the guest speaker Thursday at the Pike County Young Professional’s luncheon at the Troy Country Club.

Troy University Athletic Director John Hartwell said it doesn’t matter what school he came from, he’s a Trojan, now.

Hartwell was the guest speaker at Thursday’s Pike County Young Professionals luncheon at the Troy Country Club.

Hartwell is responsible for the day-to-day administrative oversight of the football, men’s basketball and baseball programs, along with other duties and he told PCYP members he has a clear vision to gain Troy Athletics consistent attention at the national level.

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“I think we can be and will be the next Boise [State] and beyond,” Hartwell said.

But to make it to that level, Troy’s Athletic Director noted there is a need to produce well-rounded student athletes, with a high focus on “student.”

“If school were not the most important part of it, they would call them athlete students,” Hartwell said. “But they don’t. They are student athletes.”

Right now, Hartwell said, Troy is the only institute in the Sun Belt Conference that doesn’t have two academic professors devoted to the football team. He plans to change that, emphasizing a focus and a need for athletes to receive a good education.

“You are one concussion, one chop block to the knee away from your [athletic] career ending,” Hartwell said. “If you’ve got that education, no one can take that from you.”

Besides devoting more resources to academic support, Hartwell said it is important for the athletic department to teach athletes life skills, such as how to build a resume and proper social etiquette.

“We want success in the classroom, success on field of play and success in life,” Hartwell said.

Also on Hartwell’s agenda is to reconnect former Troy athletes with each other, and the university. That includes the 14 former Trojans on active NFL rosters. But that isn’t just to secure donations for the athletic department. Hartwell said he feels it is important to forge relationships with no stipulations and that connection will automatically lead to donors wanting to help strengthen the program.

There were several big project goals Hartwell shared with PCYP members Thursday: to cover six tennis courts for indoor matches; to sink dugouts and build new home team locker rooms at the softball facility; to install lights at the soccer and track facility; and to complete the north end zone project at Veterans Memorial Stadium.

The north end zone project will provide a space for all student athletes to use, including a weight room, sports medicine, academic center, locker rooms, coaches offices, team meeting rooms, additional suites and seating, a recruiting area and a T-Club area for former Trojan athletes.

And Hartwell said, with all the changes and improvements to the department, there won’t be a focus on winning lost.

“We are all about winning,” Hartwell shared. “We would not spend $3 million on video screens and scoreboards if we weren’t interested in winning.”