At a press conference held this afternoon inside the Chadwick-Dickson Field House, Delta State University announced the hiring of its next director of athletics. Jeremy McClain will assume the position, effective July 1.
Following a national search process, McClain was selected as the “recommended finalist” by the Delta State athletic director search committee, chaired by Dr. Rose Strahan. McClain then participated in two open meetings – one on campus with faculty, staff and students; and one at the Cleveland-Bolivar County Chamber of Commerce with interested community members – in which, he introduced himself, presenting his resume and vision for the Delta State athletic department, before answering questions from those in attendance.
“Jeremy has shined consistently throughout this process. He has shown tremendous character, readiness and capability; and ultimately, he proved he was the right person for the job,” Delta State University President, Dr. John M. Hilpert offered. “I am confident he will lead the Delta State athletic department with diligence and drive. We look forward to enjoying continued successes under Jeremy’s leadership.”
Currently the director of development with the Delta State Foundation, McClain has been associated with athletics nearly his entire life. A standout two-sport athlete at Houlka High School, McClain turned heads with his prowess on the baseball diamond and earned a full scholarship to attend Delta State University.
An ace for the Statesmen pitching staff from 1996-1999, McClain still holds many of Delta State’s career pitching marks, including most appearances (69), most victories (45), most strikeouts (324) and most innings pitched (363.1). His perfect 15-0 season in 1999 earned the prolific hurler All-American, All-Region and All-Conference accolades, as well as team MVP honors.
The hard-throwing right-hander was drafted by the Boston Red Sox organization in May 1999 after he earned his bachelor’s of business administration. McClain pursued his dreams of playing professional baseball for the next five years, completing stints with the Red Sox (1999 – 2000), Jackson Diamondkats (2000 – 2001), Nashua Pride (2001), San Angelo Colts (2001) and Jackson Senators (2002 – 2003).
Although focused on making it to the next level, McClain remained realistic of his chances and completed work on his master’s degree in business administration at Delta State in 2002. Also during that time, he worked as an account executive with the Jackson Senators.
He contends, “If you can sell minor league baseball, you can sell anything. That experience was invaluable in so many ways, and I’m thankful for the opportunity.”
From there, McClain hung up the spikes and became a marketing representative for Federated Insurance Company in Calhoun City, a firm he would stay with from Nov. 2003 – Nov. 2006. During his tenure, he operated the most profitable territory in a six-state region for two consecutive years, while also improving a two-year loss ratio from 20.4 percent to 3.3 percent.
This past fall, the opportunity to return to Delta State presented itself and McClain did not hesitate, accepting the offer to become the director of development for Delta State’s Foundation. In just under six months, he has raised a total of $165,000 in cash gifts and over $250,000 in pledges.
Of his newest position as director of athletics, McClain said, “I would like to thank Dr. Hilpert, Dr. Strahan and the search committee for their time and efforts during this process. Giving of their time to serve on this committee is a prime example of the important role athletics plays on the Delta State campus.
“This is a tremendous opportunity for me and my family,” he continued. “A great foundation has been laid here at Delta State University, and it is my desire to continue to build upon that foundation. We will graduate student-athletes and prepare them for their futures. We will continue to be one of the most successful athletic programs in the nation, and we will continue to strive for growth. We will not slow down.”
McClain is married to the former Christie Cannon of Calhoun City. The couple has one son, Cannon (2) and are expecting a baby girl this summer.