Neese is in his 20th 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 74 team American Southwest Conference championships, more than any other conference school. Neese is responsible for overseeing the 18 men’s and women’s teams, which involves over 450 student-athletes on the HSU campus.
HSU has had 57 NCAA team appearances under Neese, and the 2010 women’s soccer team became the first HSU team to win a national championship at the Division III level. Neese succeeded Jimmie Keeling as the athletic director. 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 23 of the last 24 semesters. HSU has also had three student-athletes win Postgraduate Scholarships from the NCAA in Neese’s era.
The school has had 1,213 academic all-ASC selections, 143 academic all-district selections and 87 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, a soccer/track Fieldhouse and the new Streich Tennis Center have all been added since 2001. He oversaw the return of track and field to the HSU campus after a four decade absence in 2008-09.
Neese is proud of the consistency of the coaching staff he has assembled over the years. Dan Heger (Class of 1988, men’s soccer), Steve Coleman (baseball), Sabrina Bingham (volleyball) Shane Williford (tennis) and Marcus Wood (women’s soccer) are the leaders in coaching wins for their respective sports at HSU. Neese has hired every head coach that is currently on staff.
On the national scene, Neese has served on the NCAA national committees for both women’s soccer and football. 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 is pursuing a Doctorate in Leadership at HSU.
Neese has served on the Abilene Convention and Visitors Bureau Board and as a volunteer for Meals on Wheels. He has also served on Civic Abilene, a committee that works on promoting the Abilene Civic Center, for seven years. He is also a member of the nominating committee for the Big Country Athletic Hall of Fame.
He is married to the former Melissa Lohnes, who also has two degrees from Hardin-Simmons. They have a daughter, Annabelle, who was born January, 30 of 2014.