Dr. Charles McClelland Named New SWAC Commissioner

McClelland Leaves Post as VP of Intercollegiate Athletics at Texas Southern

The Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) has gained a leader that has called Texas Southern University home for over 10 years, as the SWAC Council of Presidents selected Dr. Charles McClelland to become the sixth SWAC Commissioner in league history since the conference began in 1920.

McClelland will succeed the role from Edgar Gantt, who has served the role of Interim Commissioner since December 31, 2017.

McClelland has served as Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics at Texas Southern University since April of 2008 and prior to that he served for seven years at another SWAC member institution as Athletics Director at Prairie View A&M University.

“It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve TSU for the past 10 years and I’ve met a lot of friends,” said McClelland. “As a young person growing up in the Southwestern Athletic Conference, it’s a good feeling to be named commissioner. To have an opportunity to lead this conference in this era is overwhelming. I am excited to be the new commissioner, and I want to take the same energy and effort we have put forth here at TSU and spread it across all nine SWAC institutions. TSU is like family. I’ve been surrounded by wonderful people, and this has been one of the best family work environments I’ve ever experienced. I’m sad to close that chapter, but I’m excited to open a new one.”

Chairman of the Council of Presidents and Chancellors, Dr. Andrew Hugine, thanked Mr. Gantt for his dutiful and steady leadership during the transition period. He further stated that the Council is looking forward to working with Dr. McClelland as SWAC charts a new course in athletic and scholarly excellence for the conference.

Among the job duties entailed, the Commissioner shall be the Chief Executive Officer of the Conference and report to the Conference Council of Presidents & Chancellors of the member institutions. The Commissioner will work with the Council, Athletic Directors, and other key athletics administration staff of each member institution to create initiatives and strategies designed to achieve the mission and vision of the Conference.

As vice president of intercollegiate athletics at TSU, McClelland supervised a total of 16 sports – nine women’s and seven men’s. During his tenure, McClelland elevated the athletics program to a higher level as it relates to athletics, academics, facilities and overall brand visibility. Additionally, McClelland led the athletic department to significant, year over year improvements in the Academic Progress Rate and Graduation Success Rate among its student athletes.

Perhaps his biggest facility achievement, McClelland played a large role in finalizing a deal with the Houston Dynamo soccer team to share the newly constructed 22,000 seat BBVA Compass Stadium for Tigers football. The Texas Southern Tigers football team began playing in their new home in 2012. Located in Downtown Houston, BBVA Compass stadium is a state of the art facility with all of the amenities and features of a premier sports venue.

Losing McClelland is a bittersweet feeling for many of the leaders and students at a University that has benefited so much from his leadership.

“I want to publicly thank Dr. McClelland for his hard work and many accomplishments at TSU,” said TSU President Dr. Austin A. Lane. “I served on the SWAC commissioner hiring committee, so this was naturally a tough decision. We hate to lose him, but he is really committed to taking the SWAC to the next level. We wish him nothing but success in his new role.”

Kevin Granger, currently serving as TSU’s assistant athletic director, will take over as interim athletic director immediately, as the university conducts a national search for McClelland’s replacement. Granger joined TSU as the athletics operations manager in 2008, which was the same year that McClelland joined the university. His primary responsibilities include processing athletic contracts, team travel, ticketing and managing TSU athletic facilities. Before coming to TSU, Granger was the head boys Basketball coach at Worthing High School from 2001 to 2007. In his last year, he led his team to the 19-4A Regional boys Basketball finals. He was also named 2007 19-4A Coach of the Year. Granger was a star player for TSU’s basketball team from 1992-96, and was the Division I leading scorer in 1996.

“I’m extremely excited to lead TSU athletics into its next chapter,” said Granger. “Having been a former player and coach at TSU, and having worked directly under Dr. McClelland, it means the world to me to have this opportunity, and I thank Dr. Lane for having the confidence in me to fill this role.”

Granger received the President’s Award (1996) as the top student-athlete at TSU and he still ranks among the all-time greats in the university’s basketball history is several categories. Granger’s number 10 was retired in 2002. He also spent three years playing professional basketball overseas in Italy, Cyprus and Argentina.

McClelland is ready and adequately prepared and uniquely qualified to take over the reins as SWAC Commissioner and hit the ground running from day one.

A native of Jackson, Miss., Dr. McClelland earned his doctoral degree in higher education administration at Texas A&M University in 2011.  A 1993 graduate of Prairie View A&M, McClelland earned his bachelor’s degree in accounting and in 1997 received an MBA from Prairie View.  McClelland’s extra-curricular affiliations include membership in the Prairie View A&M University National Alumni Association, Kappa Alpha Psi Fraternity, Inc., Phi Beta Lambda and the National Association of Black Accountants. McClelland is a former member of the NCAA Leadership/Management Council.  One of the highest-ranking councils in the NCAA, the Leadership/Management Council is responsible for establishing direct general policy, the strategic plan for the NCAA and advises the board of directors on administrative bylaws and regulations. He is also a past president of the Houston Touchdown Club and has served on the board of directors. Previously, McClelland served as chairman of the SWAC Council of Athletics Directors, a position he had held for 10 years. McClelland is also currently a member of the Houston Final Four Organizing Committee. McClelland is married to Ashlee McClelland and is the father of two sons, Cainan and Ashton and one daughter, Cooper.

The Forward Times would like to congratulate Dr. Charles McClelland on his new role and wish him the best.