By Duane Cochran
For the Times West Virginian
In a somewhat surprise move that had been rumored for weeks, Fairmont State University officials Thursday announced the hiring of the former tournament director of the PGA’s Greenbrier Classic, Tim McNeely, as the school’s new director of athletics effective April 1.
Current FSU athletic director Rusty Elliott’s future at the school is unknown at this point. In the school’s official press release announcing McNeely’s hiring no mention of Elliott was made in any capacity.
There have been unofficial reports that Elliott would be moved to a new or different position within the university. That, however, at this point has not been confirmed.
Elliott has served as Fairmont State’s AD since August of 2007 when he resigned as the school’s head football coach to take over the director of athletics’ duties for Scott Gines, who left to take a job at Texas A&M-Kingsville.
Numerous attempts to contact both school officials and FSU Board of Governors members for comments and further clarification on the matter were unsuccessful Thursday evening.
A call placed to McNeely on Thursday evening was also not returned. Elliott was also unavailable for comment.
West Virginia University play-by-play announcer Tony Caridi broke the story at 5:05 p.m. Thursday on the social media outlet Twitter before Fairmont State University had even written or issued a press release on the hiring.
“We are very excited to announce Tim McNeely as our director of athletics,” said Fairmont State University President Dr. Maria Rose in the school’s official release. “Tim’s leadership in running the world-renown Greenbrier Classic will certainly be of great value at Fairmont State in terms of organizing a staff and coaches, as well as business and marketing opportunities. Tim’s expertise as a lawyer will help guide the university through the complex NCAA rules and regulations, including Title IX compliance.”
McNeely, who will be the ninth athletic director in FSU history, has been in charge of the PGA Tour’s Greenbrier Classic since the tournament’s inception in 2010. The tournament is annually broadcast nationally on CBS and considered one of the top stops on the PGA Tour. It has attracted hundreds of thousands of spectators and brought in millions of dollars of economic impact into the state of West Virginia.
Prior to taking over the Greenbrier Classic, McNeely served as the tournament director for the PGA/Nationwide Tour’s Pete Dye West Virginia Classic. He helped grow the tournament into the first “major” on the Nationwide Tour – the Nationwide Tour Players Cup – that featured the first-ever $1 million purse on that tour.
A native of Logan County, McNeely was a four-year letterman as a walk-on under coach Gale Catlett on West Virginia University’s basketball team and graduated magna cum laude with a degree in sport management in 1992. He earned a law degree from WVU in 1995.
That same year he joined the law firm of Pullin Fowler Flanagan Brown and Poe in Charleston. In 2000, McNeely became general counsel of the West Virginia Development Office, and later became deputy director of the agency under the leadership of Executive Director David Satterfield during Gov. Bob Wise’s administration.
It was at this time that McNeely was intricately involved in securing a new PGA Tour/Nationwide Tour event in Bridgeport — The Pete Dye West Virginia Classic, an internationally televised event on The Golf Channel.
McNeely’s career followed the PGA Tour lead as he started McNeely Sports and managed this new PGA Tour initiative.
McNeely currently resides in Lewisburg with his wife Sarah. They have three children — Griffin, Kendell and Gray.