Neill McGeachyExecutive Director of Intercollegiate Athletics
Alma Mater: Lenoir-Rhyne, 1965
Office Phone: (828) 328-7128
Under the dynamic leadership of Neill McGeachy over the past decade and a half, the intercollegiate athletics program at Lenoir-Rhyne has enjoyed tremendous growth and new energy.
He is foremost known for his creative promotions and marketing expertise; however, the skills he brings to L-R and intercollegiate athletics are much broader.
He adroitly serves in a unique blending of two roles, as Executive Director of both Intercollegiate Athletics and the Piedmont Educational Foundation/Bears Club, the official fundraising arm of the L-R Department of Athletics.
According to McGeachy, “We honor the past, we compete in today and we look to the future.”
His involvement of all constituents – students, alumni, corporate, Hickory metro community, public school systems, emergency services, civic organizations, YMCA, Catawba Valley Medical Center and Frye Regional Medical Center – in a collaborative effort with athletics has enhanced Lenoir-Rhyne’s overall growth and retention efforts.
In the process, new streams of revenue have been identified and introduced. They include: expanded radio broadcast sponsorships, Affinity and Corporate partnerships, the PEF/Bears Club Gala, and the Lenoir-Rhyne/Moretz Sports Championship Series.
In his first year in 2002, he was instrumental in helping increase football season attendance two-fold (13,958 to 28,625) which led the NCAA Division II nationally in percentage of improvement that year. In addition, Lenoir-Rhyne has led the South Atlantic Conference nine of the past 10 years in attendance.
In 2007, his negotiating skills initiated athletic experiences with two prominent No. 1 nationally-ranked powerhouses.
In September of 2007, the Bears played Appalachian State University, a 76-year rival, for the first time since 1982. Sixty-one days later, L-R played the University of North Carolina in basketball for the first time since 1949.
Both schools were ranked No. 1 in the country at the time of their meeting. A combined 47,159 fans witnessed these two special contests.
Lenoir-Rhyne University also visited the University of Texas in Austin for three straight years from 2004 to 2006 and played Duke in storied Cameron Indoor Stadium in November of 2008.
Examples of literal metaphors that his vision has inspired include additions of The Front Porch and The Charge (12-foot, 2,100 pound bronze bear icon).
In his first nine years, eight sports have been added to Lenoir-Rhyne University athletics – men’s and women’s tennis, men’s and women’s track and field, men’s and women’s swimming and men’s and women’s lacrosse – bringing the total current number to 20 sports.
This strategy is a concerted effort to continue to offer attractive opportunities – both academic and athletic – that will grow the university’s enrollment base. The plan is working.
He has utilized his sports and coaching background to finesse the operations of these team sports by hiring gifted and quality coaches, developing team marketing opportunities, and providing academic tutoring for student athletes.
With rapid expansion in the number of student-athletes (a 46% increase over a seven-year period), he has been instrumental in the establishment of a master land plan for athletics.
New features accomplished this recently include the addition of the Moretz Sports – Athletic Complex including soccer field, the Irwin Belk track, softball and baseball lighting along with new scoreboards.
During the summer of 2011, the South Atlantic Conference’s and Lenoir-Rhyne’s first-ever video scoreboard (a.k.a. jumbotron) was built in the open end of the football stadium.
Assisted by his dedicated and talented staff, all this activity has made a dramatic impact.
Recent successes include the men’s soccer team finishing with a record 19-1-1 and a final ranking of No. 5 in the nation while winning the conference tournament, the third title in school history.
One of the shining moments on the field during McGeachy’s tenure at Lenoir-Rhyne came last fall when the Bears’ football squad captured its first South Atlantic Conference Championship in 17 years.
Women’s softball, 326-81-1 the past seven years, has succeeded in winning the South Atlantic Conference Regular Season Championship for six times in seven years and participated in the NCAA regionals eight times since 2002. The softball team also hosted the regionals for three straight years (2009-11) and advanced to the Super Regional Tournament in 2010 and 2011.
The L-R Baseball Team won a school-record 35 games in 2007.
Women’s soccer put together its best season in 2010, finishing with a 19-2-2 mark and winning both the conference regular season and tournament championships for the first time in school history. The women’s soccer team also became the first team at L-R to advance to the NCAA Division II National Quarterfinals two years ago and followed that performance up with a repeat league title, a berth in the regional finals and a 17-3-1 mark last fall.
In addition, men’s basketball won league titles in 2002-03, 2003-04, 2005-06, 2007-08 and 2008-09 and made four trips to the NCAA Division II Playoffs as well (2003, 2004, 2008 and 2009). The L-R Women’s Basketball Team produced one of its greatest seasons in school history in 2008-09, tallying a 27-5 record and winning both the SAC Regular Season and Tournament Titles. In 2009-10, the Bears repeated as league champions.
The Bears hosted the 2009 NCAA Division II Southeast Regional Tournament and were the No. 1 seed while returning to the playoffs in 2009-10.
The women’s basketball team also won the 2003-04 regular season title and was conference tournament champions in 2003.
The volleyball team captured its second league title in three years in 2006 and advanced to the SAC tournament finals.
Men’s cross country finished second in the conference four straight years (2003-06) and again in 2009 and 2010 while the women’s cross country won back-to-back South Atlantic Conference Championships in 2008 and 2009. Women’s golf captured league titles in 2003 and 2004 and men’s golf tied for third at the SAC Championship in 2009 after winning it in 2006.
Lenoir-Rhyne produced six All-Americas in 2011-12: two in football and one each in women’s soccer, women’s cross country, women’s indoor track and women’s outdoor track.
From 1997 to 2002, McGeachy served as director of marketing with the United States Tennis Association (USTA) Southern Section in Atlanta, Ga.
Prior to the USTA, McGeachy was founder and president for 20 years of Sugar Creek Enterprises, Inc. a sports promotions company with offices in Winston-Salem and Charlotte.
Several early men’s basketball coaching stints included assistant to Terry Holland at Davidson College for two years, helping lead the Wildcats to two conference championships. After Davidson College in 1971, McGeachy became Duke’s freshmen basketball coach then was elevated to top assistant before becoming head coach in 1973-74. Following his time at Duke, he coached two years at Wake Forest University as an assistant. The Deacons won back-to-back Big Four Tournament titles while McGeachy was there.
A 1965 graduate of Lenoir-Rhyne, McGeachy was a three-sport standout for the Bears in football, basketball and track. In 1987, he was inducted into the Lenoir-Rhyne Sports Hall of Fame. McGeachy was also inducted into the North Carolina Tennis Hall of Fame in 1999.
“For the excellence of his activities in and connected with North Carolina Tennis which have brought substantial recognition and esteem to himself and to the state.”
Born in Charlotte, N.C., McGeachy grew up in Statesville N.C. He is also the proud father of Roderick (Morehead Scholar at UNC Chapel Hill and MBA graduate of Harvard’s Business School) and Ashley (a 19-year sports writer/columnist for publications such as Sports Illustrated, Louisville’s Courier-Journal and the Philadelphia Inquirer - in July of 2011, she signed on with espn.com to be their NFL columnist).
A popular public speaker, McGeachy is a member and past Board of Director of the Hickory Rotary Club and served as Chair of the South Atlantic Conference AD Council through June of 2010.