|Title:||Director Of Athletics|
Neese begins his 14th year as Director of Athletics at Hardin-Simmons, which is the longest anyone has held that post in the history of the school. Since his arrival in May of 1997, Hardin-Simmons has won 58 team American Southwest Conference championships, more than any other conference school. HSU has also had 44 NCAA team appearances in that time frame. Neese is responsible for overseeing the sixteen men’s and women’s teams, which involves over 400 student-athletes on the HSU campus.
Neese succeeded Jimmie Keeling, who has remained head coach of the HSU football team. For the two previous years, Neese had served as HSU’s Assistant Director of Athletics and Sports Information Director.
Academic excellence has been a priority for Neese, as the student-athletes have had a combined grade point average of a 3.0 or higher for the last 14 semesters. HSU has also had three student-athletes win Postgraduate Scholarships from the NCAA in Neese’s era. The school has had 774 Academic All-ASC selections, 97 Academic All-District selections and 39 National Academic Awards. Ashley Huston won the Honda Award as the top female student-athlete in Division III for the 2008-09 school year.
Several new facilities have been added to the HSU landscape under Neese’s direction. The Lou Morton Ellis Softball Field and John Crowe Fieldhouse, a new soccer game field and a soccer practice field, with a soccer /track Fieldhouse have all been added since 2001. He saw the return of track and field to the HSU campus after a four decade absence in 2008-09. The track and cross country teams will practice at the new track, which is north of the soccer game field.
Other facilities to receive upgrades include: field renovation at Hunter Field and Shelton Stadium, new playing courts at the Streich Tennis Center, a new practice area for football, renovations of the Mabee Complex and the Athletic Office and Hall of Fame areas, and the upgrade of the Sandefer Fieldhouse.
Neese is proud of the consistency of the coaching staff he has assembled over the years. Shanna Briggs (Women’s Basketball) came back to her alma mater and led the Cowgirls to the Final Four. Dan Heger (Class of 1988, Men’s Soccer), Steve Coleman (Baseball) and Marcus Wood (Women’s Soccer) are the leaders in coaching wins for their respective sports. Shane Williford (M&W Tennis) helped lead the tennis teams to several conference championships. With the exception of Jimmie Keeling, Neese has hired every head coach that is currently on staff.
On the national scene, Neese is currently the national chair of the NCAA Division III Women’s Soccer Committee, where he is responsible overseeing the ranking and evaluating teams as well as championship selection. He has also served as the chairman of the Division III National Football Committee, after three years on the South region committee and three more on the national committee. Neese is also a member of the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and has completed all levels of the NACDA Management Institute.
In 1987, Neese graduated from Hardin-Simmons with a degree in Public Communication and spent eight years in the broadcast industry. He received his Master of Education in Counseling and Human Development from HSU in May 2002.
He married the former Melissa Lohnes in February of 2010.