Bellairs named director of athletics at Southeastern
Contact: Rene Abadie
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HAMMOND – W. Bart Bellairs, current director of intercollegiate athletics at Savannah State University in Savannah, Ga., and former senior athletics administrator at Virginia Military Institute has been selected to serve as director of athletics at Southeastern Louisiana University, it was announced today (Nov.24).
His appointment is contingent upon final approval by the University of Louisiana System Board of Supervisors. He is expected to join the Southeastern staff by in early January.
Bellairs succeeds Joel Erdmann, who accepted a similar position at the University of South Alabama in August. Southeastern golf coach Tim Balwin has served as interim director since Erdmann’s departure.
“We are excited to welcome Bart Bellairs to our staff,” said President John L. Crain, who introduced the new AD at a press conference Tuesday afternoon at the university’s Alumni Center. “He has a broad range of accomplishments in athletic administration and shares Southeastern’s focus on the ‘student’ part of the student-athlete equation. He has a proven track record in inspiring his athletes and staff to achieve their full potential, whether in the classroom or in athletic competition. And he has experience in handling marketing, promotion, fundraising and budgetary issues, important skills in these days of tightened finances.”
“I liked what I saw at Southeastern from the start but when my wife Jacki and I met the people, we knew we had found a home,” Bellairs said. “My whole life I have spent time in college towns; growing up, as a coach, and as an administrator, and I have been blessed by living in some great places. When I started preparing for the interview I was very impressed with the campus and the attention Southeastern paid to supporting the students; but when I met the people -- the faculty, coaches, and members of the community – I wanted to be a part of it.”
At Southeastern, Bellairs will oversee 15 NCAA Division I affiliated programs that compete in the Southland Conference. Since joining the Southland in 1997, the Lions have captured 21 conference championships, including four regular-season titles in women’s soccer, three in women’s tennis, two in men’s basketball and two in men’s golf. Southeastern also claimed the Southland Men’s All-Sports Trophy in 2008-09, highlighted by the 2009 Men’s Outdoor Track and Field championship.
Bellairs has been at Savannah State, an NCAA Division I program, with 15 teams, since July 2008. There he implemented an academics success plan that included an academic “road map” for each student-athlete from registration to graduation. He developed a Title IX/Gender Equity program that involved reworking the athletic budget to resolve long-time problems with staffing, facilities and scholarships. During his tenure at Savannah State, football, men’s basketball, softball and women’s volleyball teams all saw significant improvement in seasonal wins.
Prior to joining Savannah State, Bellairs served as senior associate director of intercollegiate athletics from 2005 to 2008 and head basketball coach from 1993 to 2005 at Virginia Military Institute in Lexington, Va. Responsibilities included marketing and promotions, ticket operations, management of the licensing program and serving as director for all key athletic facilities. There he created new pricing strategies, athletic department promotions and new revenue streams. As head basketball coach, he was named the Southern Conference Coach of the Year, the Virginia Coach of the Year and the “Sports Illustrated” Unknown Coach of the Year.
Bellairs also served as assistant basketball coach at James Madison University in Harrisonburg, Va., from 1988 to 1993, where his teams saw one NCAA tournament appearance and five NIT appearances; as assistant basketball coach at the University of Massachusetts in Amherst (1986-1988); assistant basketball coach at the University of Maryland in College Park (1984-1986); and head basketball coach, head cross country coach and assistant baseball coach at Wilkes College in Wilkes Barre, Pa. (1983-1985).
He holds a master of science degree in physical education and athletics administration from Western Illinois University and a bachelor of arts degree in sociology/social work from Warren Wilson College in Asheville, N.C. Bellairs and his wife Jacki have five children.