Reisman receives two-year contract extension as VP for Athletics
STEPHENVILLE – The longest tenured athletic director in Tarleton State University history is set to continue leading the department through its transition to NCAA Division I.
After a successful first year of transition, Lonn Reisman, the Vice President of Intercollegiate Athletics, has earned a two-year contract extension through July 2023.
"I'm grateful to Tarleton President Dr. James Hurley for the opportunity to continue to lead this department into NCAA Division I," said Reisman. "We have made a lot of changes and passed our first year of NCAA transition. I'm looking forward to continuing the efforts in leading Tarleton State University to the highest level for our students, fans, student-athletes, alumni, and all the supporters of Texan Athletics."
This isn't the first time Reisman has led Tarleton to new heights. After taking over as athletic director in 1993, Tarleton made the move to NCAA Division II from NAIA in 1994. Reisman is currently in his 28th year as the athletic director and fourth year in the singular role after spending his first 24 years also serving as the head basketball coach. He was named the Vice President for Intercollegiate Athletics in the fall of 2019.
Reisman led Tarleton out of the NAIA ranks, through NCAA Division II from 1994-2020 and has since seen Tarleton elevate to the highest level – NCAA Division I. During their reign in Division II, Tarleton was ranked in the national top 25 polls and qualified for the NCAA national playoffs in every sport along the way, including Final Four finishes in men's basketball and women's golf.
Reisman took Tarleton through the initial year of transition to NCAA Division I and continues on the journey into year No. 2. While navigating a spring semester in which 12 sports competed, Tarleton flourished academically in its first season's spring semester as a member of the Western Athletic Conference (WAC) with an athletic department GPA of 3.11 and 55 student-athletes with a 4.0 GPA.
As part of the growth into NCAA Division I, Reisman will now oversee the number of competing sports from 14 to 16 after the additions of women's soccer and men's golf. Those sports are expected to make their Tarleton debuts in Fall 2022.
In addition to Tarleton's playing success, Reisman is responsible for the fundraising success by establishing the Texan Club. Since its inception in the early 1990's, the Texan Club has grown into one of the largest booster clubs in NCAA Division II. The Texan Club has previously been recognized as a successful organization in the National Association of College Directors of Athletics publication for its fundraising efforts and success.
"The success of the club depends on raising money every year and our boosters are some of the best in the country. We raise a lot of money. We raise enough to fulfill multiple full scholarships and the rest of the money goes for student-athlete enhancement through study hall tutors and monitors as well as supporting the programs. We definitely would not be as successful if we didn't have the support of the Texan Club corporate sponsors and individual members."
The efforts of Reisman and his staff have led the Texan Club's expansion from eight corporate members to over 200, along with more than 200 individuals and 25 small businesses. They have also reached out to former student-athletes through the T-Club, which is another fundraising effort brought to Tarleton in the Reisman era.
In his near three decades at the helm, Reisman has also been involved in facility improvements while heading the Tarleton athletics programs. Memorial Stadium underwent upgrades in 2004 when turf and visitor concessions were added and now will undergo a $26 million renovation to upgrade the turf and build a state-of-the-art press box and home side seating on the west side of the stadium. The lobby of Wisdom Gym looks much different since the building of the Hall of Fame wall and trophy cases as well as cosmetic changes throughout the building. The Tarleton tennis courts, baseball field and softball complex have been upgraded with state-of-the-art lighting systems and playing surfaces.
In 2017, a generous donation by Hall of Famer Mike A. Myers of $2.4 million was donated to the Tarleton Memorial Stadium Renovation project in order to name the new facility the 'Lonn Reisman Athletic Center' in honor of Reisman's hard work and dedication to Tarleton Athletics.
In addition to his efforts as athletic director, Reisman also enjoyed a storied career as the head men's basketball coach over the last 30 years.
Reisman retired from the sidelines after three decades of excellence in coaching. Reisman has 691 career wins — 654 of them at Tarleton — which is the most wins by anyone in Tarleton history and the most wins of any active head coach in the state of Texas at any NCAA level. He's one of 14 coaches at the Division I and II levels combined with more than 650 career wins and ranks within the top 15 in the country in winning percentage by a Division II head coach. His other 37 wins came in three seasons as the head coach of Connors Junior College and Trumann High School (Ark.).
In 2018, Reisman received one of the highest honors a coach can receive from the NABC. He was named the recipient of the Guardians of the Game Award for Leadership and will be recognized at the 2018 NCAA Division I Final Four in San Antonio. He is a 13-time coach of the year recipient too. He won back-to-back TIAA District 8 Coach of the Year awards in his first two years at Tarleton. Reisman has won five LSC Coach of the Year honors, including three awards in 2004 with the TABC Small College Coach of the Year and NABC Regional Coach of the Year to go with the LSC award. In 2014, Reisman received the NCAA Regional Coach of the Year award and was a finalist for the Clarence "Big House" Gaines National Coach of the Year. He's a three-time National Coach of the Week winner.
For his coaching contributions to the purple and white, Reisman was inducted into the Tarleton Athletics Hall of Fame as the lone inductee of the class of 2019.
Reisman is the longest tenured Athletic Director in school history, topping W.J. Wisdom's 20-year career at the helm of Tarleton sports.