|Title:||Director of Athletics|
Aaron Leetch, an expert in the area of collegiate fundraising and revenue generation with a heart for the welfare of student-athletes, was named Director of Athletics at Whitworth University in June of 2011.
Leetch had been at Illinois State University since August of 2005.
He had been the Associate AD for External Affairs at Illinois State since June of 2007, earning a promotion to the title of Senior Associate in June of 2008. He served as a member of the department’s Executive Team that shared department-wide leadership responsibilities and was on the search committees that hired the head coaches for men’s basketball, women’s basketball, baseball and football. He had direct supervision of athletic department staff in the areas of development, marketing, sponsorships and ticket operations. He was hired in August of 2005 as ISU’s Associate AD for Development before taking on the broader role of external affairs.
During Leetch’s tenure at Illinois State, total athletic fundraising revenue increased by 143% and total athletic department revenue increased by 56%. He spearheaded a 60% increase in membership for the Redbird Club and oversaw significant increases in ticket sales and average attendance for football, men’s basketball and women’s basketball.
He worked from August of 2003 until August of 2005 as the Assistant AD for Development at Arkansas State. During that time he oversaw the operations of the ASU Indian Club and that organization increased its membership by 83% and overall revenue by 47%.
Leetch got his start in athletics fundraising at Baylor University, where he served in the BU Athletics Development Office for two years following completion of his MSE in Sport Management at Baylor in 2001.
Outside of his role on the administrative staff at ISU, Leetch has served as an Executive Committee Member of the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) and has given several presentations at NAADD and NACDA Conventions over the last five years.
Despite spending his entire professional career at the Division I level, Leetch has a desire to promote the role of athletics at the Division III level.
Leetch has witnessed the academic success of student-athletes up close at Illinois State. During the most recent academic year, the department’s grade point average was 3.13. The Redbird student-athletes and coaches also donated over 3,000 hours of cumulative community service in the same academic period.
Leetch has a personal understanding of the sacrifices needed to complete an undergraduate education at a small, church-affiliated liberal arts institution. He graduated from Tennessee Temple University with a BS in history and political science in 1999.
Leetch takes over an athletics department that has experienced much success in the last decade, but is hungry to reach a higher level. Whitworth has won the Northwest Conference McIlroy-Lewis All Sports trophy each of the last four years and five times since 2005. Over the last two years the athletics department has finished among the top-25 in the NCAA Division III Learfield Director’s Cup standings, among the top four percent of all member institutions at this level. Since 2000 the Pirates have captured 49 conference team championships, been represented in the NCAA Division III post-season more than 100 times, and hosted 15 NCAA championship events.
The department has operated under the strong leadership of Scott McQuilkin and Warren Friedrichs since 1996. McQuilkin served as Whitworth’s director of athletics from January of 1996 until the fall of 2009. Friedrichs, a highly successful and long-serving basketball and golf coach for the Pirates, filled the role from November of 2009 through June of 2011. McQuilkin expanded Whitworth's athletics program to 20 intercollegiate sports, adding golf, indoor track and field, and softball. McQuilkin and Friedrichs also strengthened fundraising efforts and outreach to supporters, significantly improved facilities, and hired most of Whitworth's current roster of respected and award-winning coaches.