Two-sport alum establishes Tommy and Jessica McClelland Family Scholarship

NATCHITOCHES – Northwestern State University gave Tommy McClelland much more than two degrees.

A two-sport athlete who lettered in football and as a javelin thrower on the Demon track and field team, McClelland also met his wife, Jessica, at the school’s Baptist Collegiate Ministry. As the McClellands searched for a way to say thank you for what NSU meant to them, the answer was simple – an athletic scholarship.

Earlier this month, the McClellands established the Tommy and Jessica McClelland Family Scholarship, investing the initial $10,000 toward the endowment that will benefit Northwestern State student-athletes.

“I was a walk-on student-athlete who earned a scholarship in my final year and it was a privilege to represent the university each and every day.” Tommy McClelland said. “Northwestern State gave me the opportunity to play two of the sports I love, track and field (javelin) and Football. I was honored to have been part of a conference championship in both sports during my time, but it was the tremendous education that I received from NSU for which I am most grateful.”

In addition to playing two sports at NSU, McClelland began his athletic administration career with the Demons. He is currently the Deputy Athletics Director for External Affairs and Revenue Generation at Vanderbilt University. After completing his undergraduate degree in 2004, McClelland served as an intern for NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke while pursuing a master’s degree in Sports Administration, a degree he completed in 2005.

From there, McClelland became the first Southland Conference championships intern before becoming director of athletics at McNeese State University and Louisiana Tech University ahead of joining the Vanderbilt staff in September 2020.

“It is awesome to see Tommy taking initiative, as a student-athlete alumnus, and reinvesting in the athletic program which has impacted his life on multiple levels. His leadership sets a standard to which all former athletes should aspire to better our athletic program today and tomorrow,” said NSU Director of Athletics Greg Burke.

“This gift is especially meaningful to me because Tommy is one of my most genuine friends as a peer in the intercollegiate athletics industry and on an overall basis. It is wonderful for Tommy and Jessica to acknowledge the effect that NSU had on their lives by paying forward their time on campus so that future student-athletes will have the same opportunity.”

The Tommy and Jessica McClelland Family Scholarship is the 71st endowed athletic scholarship at Northwestern State, which has established the “Perpetually Purple” program with a focus on such gifts and grants.

For the McClellands, it all started at NSU.

“For us, this is the place we met,” McClelland said about NSU. “Jessica and I will be married 19 years this December, and it all started on the campus of Northwestern State. We are so honored to give back to a place that means so much to us.”

NSU Athletics now has surpassed $2.5 million in endowed funds to help offset the cost of athletics scholarships. A $5 million endowment total will fully underwrite all NSU athletics scholarships, which is currently being funded by annual gifts to the Demons Unlimited Foundation.

Annual gift revenues will then be redirected to more significantly enhance facilities, bolster recruiting budgets, retain or hire outstanding coaches, and offset ever-increasing scholarship costs.

To inquire about the Perpetually Purple program, contact Burke at 318-357-5251.

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