Leetch Returns To Lead Illinois State Athletics External Units
June 14, 2013
NORMAL, Ill. - A familiar face will return to the Illinois State Athletics Department to oversee its external units, as Aaron Leetch has been hired as the Deputy Director of Athletics by Illinois State Executive Associate Athletics Director Larry Lyons.
From 2005 to 2011, Leetch was a member of the Executive Team that shared department-wide leadership responsibilities and had direct supervision of athletic department staff in the areas of development, marketing, corporate sponsorships and ticket operations. He will add supervision of the athletics communications and video production units in his new role with the Redbirds.
"We are very excited to have Aaron return to the Redbird family and lead our external units," Lyons said. "His familiarity with our campus, donor base and season ticket holders will allow him to hit the ground running. He gained valuable experience sitting in the athletics director chair at Whitworth for the last two years, and that experience will be a tremendous asset to our department. His hire is a key piece of the puzzle as we transition leadership roles."
Leetch spent the past two years as the Director of Athletics at Whitworth University in Spokane, Wash. While at Whitworth, He coordinated and oversaw all aspects of the 20 sport intercollegiate athletics program competing in the Northwest Conference. During his tenure, the Pirates won 12 conference championships and two-consecutive McIlroy-Lewis Northwest Conference All-Sports Trophies.
Leetch also led the athletic department through the design of a five year strategic plan, which included the design and implementation of all revenue-producing strategies for the department. He also coordinated the completion of several facility enhancement projects, including the acquatic center locker room, the installation of FieldTurf, new dugouts and grandstands at the baseball stadium, and a full resurfacing of the 20-year-old Whitworth Track.
"First and foremost, I am humbled to have the opportunity to return to Illinois State as Deputy Director of Athletics," Leetch said. "My six years as a Redbird were truly some of the best years of my life. I want to thank Larry Lyons for his confidence in me. Larry is a steady, authentic leader, who is dedicated to the success of Redbird Athletics, and he is the right person, at the right time, to lead the department, and I am excited to have the chance to be part of his team.
"I would like to thank President Taylor and Whitworth University for allowing me to serve as Director of Athletics these past two years. My hope is that my experience sitting in that chair will serve me well in my new role at Illinois State."
Leetch was hired in August of 2005 as ISU's Associate AD for Development, before taking on a broader role with the external units. He was later named the Associate AD for External Affairs in June of 2007, before ultimately earning the title of Senior Associate in June of 2008.
During Leetch's tenure at Illinois State, total athletic fundraising revenue increased by 143%, and total athletic department revenue increased by 56%. He spearheaded a 60% increase in membership for the Redbird Club (now Weisbecker Scholarship Fund) and oversaw significant increases in ticket sales and average attendance for football, men's basketball and women's basketball. In addition, Leetch served on the search committees that hired the head coaches for men's basketball, women's basketball, baseball and football. Outside of his role on the administrative staff at ISU, Leetch served as an Executive Committee Member of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) and has given several presentations at NAADD and NACDA Conventions over the last five years.
Prior to his stint at Illinois State, Leetch was the Assistant AD for Development at Arkansas State from 2003-05. During that time he oversaw the operations of the ASU Indian Club, increasing its membership by 83% and overall revenue by 47%. Leetch got his start in athletics fundraising at Baylor, where he served in the BU Athletics Development Office for two years, following completion of his MSE in Sport Management at Baylor in 2001.
A 1999 graduate of Tennessee Temple, he and his wife, Lindsay, have two daughters, Avery and Emmersen.
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