McNeese Athletic Director Schroyer inks five-year extension

Published 12:06 pm Wednesday, May 17, 2023

Heath Schroyer is staying put.

Schroyer signed a five-year extension with McNeese State Wednesday morning that will keep him as the school’s athletic director for the near future.

Pending board approval, the deal will go into effect July 1. The contract will be presented to the board at the June meeting.

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“I am very happy and excited about the contract,” said Schroyer. “I always wanted to stay at McNeese and in Lake Charles. I love it here and the best is yet to come.”

While no specific details were released, sources have said it is filled with incentives that include a $50,000 bonus if McNeese moves up to the Football Bowl Subdivision level. Schroyer and other school officials have been pushing the Cowboys toward that end for some time.

The contract is believed to be in excess of $1 million.

“I am very happy to say we got this done,” said Dr. Wade Rousse, McNeese Executive Vice President who negotiated the deal.

“It was imperative that we got it completed and kept Heath here for the best of our athletic department and university. This was something we had to get done so we can continue to move forward.”

Schroyer took over as interim A.D. in 2019 after the football program was put on academic probation. The interim tag was removed in July of 2020 at the height of the COVID pandemic and athletic shutdown.

Seven months after getting his new job, Lake Charles was hit by hurricane Laura and a good portion of the McNeese facilities were destroyed.

“He has really brought us through some tough times,” McNeese President Dr. Daryl Burckel said. “He has been maybe the most important person in not only the rebuild of McNeese athletics, but also the town itself.

“Heath has done a remarkable job considering all he has had to deal with. He has proven his value to our university and community.”

Schroyer has been instrumental in increasing corporate sponsorships from $400,000 a year to $2.4 million last year that included signing a partnership with Ochsner Health System. The goal is to increase that to $5 million a year.  

In addition, his work on fundraising projects and community service events such as The Gatsby’s, Football Friday Night Block Party and the summer Cowboy Caravans, along with private donations, has elevated the department to levels never seen before.  

“Our athletic department is a completely different animal today than we were before Heath took over,” said Burckel.

Schroyer came to McNeese as the Cowboys’ basketball head coach in 2018 and led the program for three seasons, taking on the role of interim AD in his final year.  

In just a short time, he’s added key jobs to the athletic department including training room personnel, strength and conditioning, tickets and marketing, and probably most importantly, academic staff which has guided the student-athletes and department to posting some of its highest APR numbers in school history.  

He’s the first AD in school history to award multi-year contracts to head coaches for women’s tennis, soccer, volleyball and track and field, and to draw up the first million-dollar contract in school history with football head coach Gary Goff and then the second one a year later with the signing of men’s basketball head coach Will Wade.  

“I couldn’t be more excited for Heath,” said Goff. “I knew from the first time that I spoke with him that he is unlike any other athletic director I have ever worked under. He understands the challenges that both collegiate athletes and coaches face on a daily basis and therefore knows what it takes to win.  

“McNeese will dominate again under his leadership.”  

Schroyer gave credit to others as well for the improvement of McNeese athletics.

“As many people know, Dr. Rousse and I work hand-in-hand daily. We have very clear objectives every day to move our Athletic Department and University forward. Working with him on a daily basis is very motivating for me. I’m excited to continue to do so for years to come.  

 “Second, I want to thank my administrative staff and our coaches. I truly feel blessed to come to work every day. I learned a long time ago as a coach that you’re only as good as the people you surround yourself with. I truly work with some of the best, hard-working and smartest people I’ve ever been around. Since I took over as AD three years ago, they have all welcomed me and the many changes we’ve implemented.”