SIU names Tim Leonard as its 16th director of intercollegiate athletics

Southern Illinois University Carbondale announced its 16th full-time director of intercollegiate athletics last week.

Tim Leonard is a 30-year veteran of athletic administration, and most recently, served for eight years (2013-21) as the director of athletics at Towson University of the Colonial Athletic Association. While with Towson, he led a department of 19 intercollegiate sports and oversaw a $25 million budget.

leonard“I am excited to welcome Tim Leonard to the Saluki family,” said SIU Carbondale Chancellor Austin A. Lane. “With a commitment to student success on the playing fields and in the classroom, Mr. Leonard embodies the Saluki spirit and will play an important role as we continue to take athletics to new heights. People who meet Mr. Leonard will be impressed with his extensive experience, his record of accomplishments in sports, and his remarkable expertise and success in fundraising.”

The university will introduce Leonard to the public at a Meet & Greet event on Tuesday, July 26, at 5 p.m. in the Charles Helleny Pavilion of the Banterra Center. Leonard officially begins his role as AD at SIU on Aug. 1. (Members of the media are invited to a virtual press conference at 1 p.m. Central today, July 22. For the Zoom link, email Tom Weber, associate athletic director of communications, at [email protected].)

During his tenure at Towson, Leonard produced a strategic plan for athletics, entitled “Building Greatness,” which resulted in record fundraising success and led to a balanced departmental budget. Under his direction, the Tiger Athletic Fund secured the three largest gifts in department history, and Towson built new facilities for its basketball, football, softball and tennis programs.

“I’m honored that Chancellor Lane has asked me to join his team at SIU,” Leonard said. “I knew 10 minutes into my interview with Chancellor Lane that I wanted to come to Carbondale. Leadership matters, and he is a leader I want to follow.”

The Tigers were successful on and off the field under Leonard, setting a school record for most wins in a season in football and men’s basketball, plus NCAA tournament appearances in volleyball, lacrosse, gymnastics, and track and field. Academically, Towson had the highest academic progress rate (APR) within the University System of Maryland and the highest federal graduation rate among all Division I departments within Maryland.

Leonard follows director of athletics Matt Kupec, who has served as the interim AD at SIU Carbondale since September 2021. Lane thanked Kupec for his service with the athletics department.

“Mr. Kupec was instrumental in stabilizing the department’s finances, making key hires – including head coaches for soccer, women’s basketball and softball, securing generous private gifts and creating a vision for Saluki athletics,” Lane said. “His quick work definitely helped us attract top candidates like Tim Leonard.”

Lane noted Kupec will continue to support Saluki athletics as a fundraiser in his ongoing role as CEO of the SIU Foundation.