Tag Archives: Shane Hurley

Hurley named Red River Athletic Conference Athletic Director of Year

As the leader of the most active and the most successful athletic department in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC), Shane Hurley has plenty on his plate. That was never more true than this year when OLLU athletics grew to 17 intercollegiate sports, seven Saints teams made national tournament appearances, and the school won its eighth RRAC All-Sports Award. 

Hurley’s efforts were recognized by his peers, who selected him as the 2021-2022 RRAC Athletic Director of the Year. 

The RRAC Athletic Director of the Year award recognizes the leader who had the best year in overall program performance, facility development, game administration, NAIA Champions of Character commitment, ability to hire and keep quality coaches, program growth in sports and revenue opportunities, contributions at the conference and national levels and student-athlete development. The award is decided through a vote by all RRAC athletic directors. 

In addition to the normal day-to-day challenges of managing the athletic program, Hurley and his staff hosted RRAC championships in men’s and women’s cross country, volleyball, men’s and women’s track and field and softball during the last year. They also were faced with the loss of a close friend and longtime Saints broadcaster, Michael Thompson, near the end of the basketball season.  

Through it all, Hurley was the capable leader of all things OLLU.

“Shane has done a great job keeping OLLU at the top of the conference,” says LSU Shreveport Athletic Director Lucas Morgan. “They are competitive in every sport while also doing things the right way. He is a committed leader and very deserving of this recognition.” 

Hurley is a true blue Saint. He has been at OLLU since the school joined the NAIA in 2007, first serving as the men’s soccer coach and then doubling up as the women’s soccer coach from 2008-to 2012. In 2018, he was called on to serve as the interim athletic director, stepping into the official role in 2019 and shedding his soccer duties to focus solely on the athletic director role in 2020. 

“I’m proud to extend congratulations to Shane Hurley,” says RRAC Commissioner Tony Stigliano. “This award recognizes his hard work and commitment to OLLU, the RRAC, and our other athletic directors. We’re fortunate to have leaders like Shane in our conference.”

Taking over a program that was already a perennial conference power, Hurley has added to that excellence. In addition to the All-Sports Awards, OLLU also was recognized as last year’s RRAC GPA Award winner with the best academic results in the conference. He also spearheaded four new sports, thoroughly researching the feasibility of adding women’s golf, women’s tennis, competitive cheer and competitive dance by consulting with local, state and national universities with similar programs. He put together a comprehensive report to include demographics, geographical competition, interest from recruiting areas, plus a practicable budget that would allow the university to approve the plan.

After much deliberation, the university’s Board of Trustees approved Hurley’s plan to increase the intercollegiate program from 13 to 17 teams, adding competitive cheer, competitive dance, women’s golf and women’s tennis.

With the establishment of the four teams, Hurley aggressively pursued hiring head and assistant coaches for all four teams. The new coaches were able to search for viable student-athletes – academically and athletically qualified – to recruit for their programs. All coaches have been able to put together teams that would be competitive immediately.

His projections rang true. After just one season, the women’s golf team excelled beyond expectations, winning two tournaments and successfully competing throughout the year. The dance team also excelled and made history with a second-place finish at nationals, and the women’s tennis team qualified for the postseason for the first time since 2014. OLLU now boasts more than 400 student-athletes. 

Inaugural OLLU Halo Club launches

Hear from Athletic Director Shane Hurley: https://youtu.be/deb37UJEuUM

The Athletic Department is excited to announce the OLLU Halo Club, a booster club for capital projects benefiting the 17 sports teams.

Since 2007, more than 2,300 student-athletes worldwide have shared a singular experience – uniting as one to represent OLLU as learners and leaders. In the first years, 50-100 student-athletes competed at OLLU – a number that has grown to nearly 400 today – and all are driven by excellence and fostering a community of faith and service. OLLU Athletics proudly provides meaningful experiences to all of its student-athletes resulting in developing champions on the field and throughout the community.

OLLU continues to seek strategic improvements to the Athletic Department, including scholarship endowment and facility upgrades, to ensure the program’s continual growth and prosperity. All are welcome to join the OLLU Halo Club as inaugural members as the university pushes forward to its goals for thousands of student-athletes who will join the community in the years to come.

There are four different partnership opportunities featuring benefits according to athletics’ annual gifts that correspond with the giving levels as follows:

Commitment Level ($200), Devotion Level ($500), Virtue Level ($1,500) and Sanctity Level ($5,000-above). Before the end of November, those who join will receive the next-level Saints gear package as annotated on the OLLU Halo Club page.

Donors’ generous gifts will foster growth at OLU and its athletics program. The funds will go toward capital projects and sport-specific restricted and unrestricted projects.

OLLU athletics entering 15th season

OLLU begins its 15th intercollegiate athletic season this week with alumni games on Saturday (noon for women and 2 p.m. for men; the regular season begins Aug. 21), and Athletic Director Shane Hurley said, “It is amazing to see what the original vision has become today as athletics has impacted all areas of OLLU, not just athletics.”

In June 2006, the university announced it would start the athletics program the following year, beginning with a men’s soccer team and a women’s volleyball team. OLLU, after being accepted into the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), then began searching for its first head coaches. The first one hired was Hurley himself for men’s soccer and Mark Lee for volleyball. Hurley, now the athletic director, said, “I think we owe a thank you to Jack Hank [then Athletic Director] and Dr. Tessa Martinez Pollock [then OLLU President] for supporting the start of the athletics program.”

In August 2007, with Hurley at the helm for men’s soccer – Arthur Salazar guarding the net as the team’s first goalkeeper – and Lee leading the way for the women on the court, NAIA athletics officially began for OLLU. In 2008, Salazar transitioned to the coaching staff as Hurley’s assistant, and the university added tennis, women’s soccer and golf. A year later, women’s basketball, cross-country, and softball completed the lineup for the time being.

Five years later, in 2014, OLLU began teams in baseball and track and field, and in 2019, the university started a cheer and dance program. Women’s golf, which competed from 2008-2010, was reinstated in 2019, as well as women’s tennis, which competed from 2008-2014.  

Hurley said, “For us, facilities have gone through adaptations and will continue to change with the growth of the programs to serve our students better. These same facilities are enjoyed by the entire OLLU community; we are proud of our connection within this community, as the bonds between students, faculty, staff, and coaches have only grown stronger as we support the needs of our dynamic group and diverse community at OLLU. With the support of Dr. Diane Melby [OLLU President] and Dr. Lourdes Alvarez [OLLU Provost], we’ve been able to expand our programs beyond what many may have thought was possible in the past; the present future was so far away for all of us at that time.”

Salazar, who assisted Hurley with both men’s and women’s soccer, became head coach for the women in 2013. This year, he takes on both head-coaching duties.

“It’s been really fun to see the evolution of athletics, in particular, the soccer programs,” Salazar said. He said it’s been great seeing the support from the community, the fans and the administration, as well as the changes in facilities.

“To have been here from the beginning and to see where we are now present-day is something I genuinely cherish. I am excited to see where we can continue to take our athletics program. We are getting the right support from the administration; all the coaches and the department are supporting each other and it’s been a really good community and environment. It just continues to get stronger as the years go on.”

Patty Constantin, who has been the Sports Information Director for the Saints since the beginning, cherishes the relationships that she has been able to nurture throughout her 15 years at OLLU. “We are so blessed as a university to be able to continue relationships with all the student-athletes who have passed through our programs and are now mothers, fathers, professionals in their fields and all-together successful. We enjoy seeing them at alumni events, attending their weddings, seeing their new babies and celebrating their accomplishments.”

Constantin cites the many changes that have transpired throughout the years. “We began with table and chairs taking stats, to being one of the first universities to live-stream games on a regular basis to winning seven conference ‘All Sports Awards.’ I am proud of all of our coaches and what they have accomplished through the years.”

Other head coaches who now make up the department include Sal Castillo (14th year/inaugural tennis coach), Bryan Aughney (5th year/inaugural baseball coach), Scott Mattera (3rd year, volleyball coach), Chris Dial (3rd year/men’s basketball coach), Patrick Torres (2nd year/cross-country and track and field coach), Arnie Martinez (3rd year/golf coach), Bruce Lenington (3rd year/softball coach) and Crystal Brock (2nd year/cheer and dance coach). [A women’s basketball head coach will be hired soon.]

Hurley concluded by saying, “Our community has faced many challenges but it has continued to learn, adapt and overcome them year after year. It is with continued confidence and excitement that I say, ‘we know that with our team, this university and department will continue to improve in all aspects!'”

Changes to various roles within Athletics

The following is from President Diane E. Melby on changes within the OLLU Saints Athletics program.

There are currently 12 schools in the Red River Athletic Conference (RRAC) plus one with special status for a total of 13 colleges. According to RRAC Commissioner Tony Stigliano, nine or 60% have full-time Athletic Directors. Most programs with full-time Athletic Directors field seven to eight teams. OLLU has one of the largest programs in the conference with 17 teams. In fall 2020, 311 student-athletes participated in one or more competitive programs which is approximately 24 percent of OLLU’s undergraduate enrollment. 

Athletics has grown in importance to the university’s enrollment and retention objectives. Therefore, effective May 1, 2021, the following changes will be made within Athletics. First, the position of Athletic Director will be converted to a full-time position. Shane Hurley, who was the first coach hired at OLLU when athletics began in 2007, currently holds a joint position of Men’s Soccer Head Coach and Athletic Director. Hurley will now serve as Athletic Director in a full-time capacity.

Second, the administration of the soccer program will be adjusted to accommodate a vacancy in the head coach position. Currently, the women’s and men’s soccer teams each have a full-time head coach and share a full-time assistant. Beginning May 1, Arthur Salazar will serve as head coach for both teams and each team will be supported by full-time assistants. Salazar started his career in 2008 assisting the men’s and women’s teams, and in 2013, he became head coach for the women’s team. That experience coupled with his record of building a winning record in both competition and academic persistence uniquely qualifies Salazar for this expansion of responsibility.

Finally, replacing the need for a full-time head coach with the hire of assistant coaches frees up funding to appoint a Senior Woman Administrator. This position is vital to the support of female athletes and has long been a priority initiative in the strategic plan for athletics. The position will be filled via internal search open to women connected to athletics and compensated by stipend.