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Hartwell’s shining star reflects well on university

If no one is trying to recruit your employees, then you don’t have the right employees.

That’s a quick paraphrase of an important point that Troy University Chancellor Dr. Jack Hawkins Jr. made Tuesday night. He was talking about John Hartwell, who announced this week that he’s leaving Troy’s athletic director role to become the vice president and athletic director at Utah State University.

It’s a big move for Hartwell – nearly double the salary, a new conference and new opportunities.

But it’s also a big boost for Troy University, simply because of the work Hartwell has done in his nearly three years with the program. He’s faced some real challenges – including replacing long-time coaches in all three major sports, football, baseball and basketball. He’s made some terrific hires, including three coaches who earned Sun Belt Coach of the Year honors. And he has reinvigorated and redefined the model for community engagement, fund-raising and sponsorship, thanks to his strong business acumen and experience in development and athletics fund-raising.

He quickly saw the value in Troy and worked to make sure everyone else did, as well. Hartwell scheduled marquee games for the football program – Duke, North Caroline State, UMass – and secured significantly higher payouts for previous opponents like Nebraska and Wisconsin.

He brought a passion for success, a willingness to think outside-the-box and a desire to do the work necessary to build key relationships in the community and within business and alumni donor bases. He understood what would be necessary to move Troy University athletics to the next level of sustainability and growth, and he rolled up his sleeves and set to work making that happen.

Hartwell’s become a bit of a shining star in the Sun Belt conference, earning spots on key committees and, obviously, attracting attention of other schools throughout the nation.

More important, his success shined a light back on Troy Athletics, the university and the community. And that spotlight reveals a dynamic, exciting program filled with talent in the coaching and playing ranks; a strong financial and donor support base; and an energized and engaged community and university. And, as the chancellor so aptly noted, that’s just the type of leader needed to make a difference at Troy athletics.