Towson announced Thursday afternoon that the university has hired Tim Leonard as athletic director.
Leonard, who will be introduced Friday at 11 a.m. in the Minnegan Room at Johnny Unitas Stadium, comes from Southern Methodist University, where he is a senior associate athletic director for external affairs. With the Mustangs, Leonard was in charge of fundraising and sales and was the institution’s interim athletic director between May and August 2012.
“We are very excited to have someone of Tim Leonard’s caliber joining our team here at Towson University,” school president Maravene Loeschke said in a written statement. “He is a professional administrator with 21 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics. He is a proven leader with a demonstrated ability to create strong and cohesive teams, and work cooperatively across academic and administrative departments.
“Tim is poised to take our athletic program to the next level of excellence. He shares our philosophy that we must put academics first and that we must create and support opportunities for our student-athletes to develop their full academic, athletic, and leadership potential. He shares our values and I look forward to working closely with him to take our athletic program to new levels of excellence and vitality.”
“My family and I are ecstatic to be joining the Towson University family and the Baltimore community,” Leonard said in the same statement. “After visiting with the search committee, I learned that Towson is committed to having a nationally competitive athletics program. My conversations with President Loeschke also convinced me that Towson University is where I want to be."
Leonard, who will begin his tenure with the Tigers on Aug. 19, replaces Mike Waddell, who left in May to become a senior associate athletic director at the University of Arkansas. Waddell was widely regarded for reviving a struggling men’s basketball program, but was also the target of intense scrutiny for the way the school tried to cut the baseball program.
“We met with a strong pool of candidates during our search, and Tim Leonard clearly stood out above the rest,” said Donald C. Fry, president and CEO of the Greater Baltimore Committee who led Towson’s search. “He has the ideal background and experience to drive the momentum that Towson athletics has enjoyed over the past couple of years and carry forward the excitement that has been created on campus for our athletics program.”
Leonard, a Twin Falls, Idaho native, has also held athletics administration posts at Central Florida, Illinois State and Boise State -- his alma mater.