A New Season: Letter from Ryan Ivey, Athletic Director

Dear Lions,

As the new Athletic Director for the A&M-Commerce Lions, I’d first like to say thank you to all the readers of PRIDE for your support and your unflagging enthusiasm for our athletic programs. It was important to me that we get out into local communities and gather feedback to begin formulating ideas about how to improve Lion Athletics as a whole. With this goal in mind, we scheduled nine town hall meetings at the university and in surrounding communities. We received some really good feedback from our town hall meetings. One of the most important aspects was the consistency of the feedback.
Throughout the meetings, there were two themes that revealed themselves:
1. We must do a better job of external relations and promoting our athletic department successes both on the playing surface and in the classroom.
2. We must become consistently competitive for conference championship and national playoff appearances.
Just to recap, here are some of the questions we asked at each meeting and a summary of the feedback we received:

What is the Athletic Department’s most glaring area for improvement?

• Marketing
• Athletic training program needs improvements in equipment and facilities
• Selling tickets and getting support for the program
• Attendance at sporting events (football games)
• Need more outreach into the surrounding
media as well

Is there anything about A&M-Commerce Athletics that is so fundamental we should protect it against all change?

• Football, it is fundamental and while some universities think of dropping the program, we need to protect it
• Oftentimes in collegiate sports, it seems like the students are expendable—we need to remember that they are students first and athletes second
• Do not do away with the UIL events—very important that we keep them here on campus as it’s a great way to recruit.
• The conference realignment—do not leave the LSC if it remains a viable conference, but if the top teams leave we might have to consider leaving.

What do you feel is our biggest strength?

• People
• Location—our area is prime for activity; people are looking for things to do and we could be a source
• Faculty support—the professors and staff speak positively about our programs all the time
• New leadership that sets a new tone

What ideas do you have about improving A&M- Commerce Athletics that have not already been mentioned?

• Make us more like other schools with some sport additions (baseball/softball/tennis)
• Curb appeal is old from the highways, stadium, field house and Whitley. The campus has been updated and enhanced, but nothing has been done to enhance athletic facilities
Since we can’t include every question and all of the feedback from the town hall meetings here, the entire list will be posted to the Athletic Department website at www.lionathletics.com. It is vital that our stakeholders see that their suggestions were taken into consideration while creating a plan to better Lion Athletics. It is imperative that we all are on the same page
moving forward so we can make Lion Athletics the power it once was.
Great things are ahead. GO LIONS!
Best Wishes,
Ryan Ivey, Athletic Director

With this feedback in mind, our first goal is to address the welfare of our student athletes as a whole. We plan to improve our academic performance with the academic enhancement center, renovate our strength training facilities, and put more resources into our sports medicine facility. Well-rounded and healthy student athletes are successful athletes.