Ian McCaw has a vision for Liberty Athletics, and he has worked quickly to make that vision a reality since being named the department’s 11th director of athletics on Nov. 28, 2016. His vision is for Liberty’s intercollegiate athletics program to Train Champions for Christ, provide a world-class student-athlete experience, and achieve victory with integrity.
Less than three months into his time at the head of the athletics department, McCaw helped guide Liberty into the top level of intercollegiate competition. On Feb. 16, 2017, Liberty received notification that the NCAA had approved its request to enter into a two-year Football Bowl Subdivision (FBS) reclassification process.
Following Liberty’s last season as an FCS independent in 2017, McCaw will guide the Flames into their first season at the FBS level in 2018, fulfilling the vision of university founder Dr. Jerry Falwell for Liberty’s athletics programs to compete at the highest level of NCAA competition.
During Liberty’s final two seasons as a member of the Big South Conference, McCaw guided Liberty Athletics to its 13th and 14th Sasser Cup title, an annual award given to the top athletics program in the Big South Conference.
McCaw also helped pave the way for the future of Liberty Athletics on May 17 when it was announced 17 of its 20 NCAA Division I program will end a 27-year run in the Big South Conference to join the ASUN Conference for the 2018-19 athletics season.
McCaw is well equipped to lead Liberty through this transition process, having nearly two decades of previous service as a director of athletics at Baylor (2003-16), Massachusetts (2002-03), and Northeastern (1997-2002).
During his time at Baylor, the Bears experienced tremendous success on the field, in the classroom, and in fundraising and facility development. McCaw helped Baylor capture five national team championships (Acrobatics & Tumbling, 2015; Equestrian, 2012; Men’s Tennis, 2004; and Women’s Basketball, 2005 and 2012), had 17 student-athletes win individual national championships (track & field and men’s and women’s tennis), and captured 58 Big 12 Conference titles.
Baylor’s football team reached bowl games six consecutive years (2010-15) and won the Big 12 Championship in 2013 and 2014. In addition, the Bears’ Robert Griffin III became the nation’s top collegiate football player in 2011 when he was named the school’s first-ever Heisman Trophy winner.
During his final five seasons at Baylor, the Bears’ football and men’s and women’s basketball programs posted a combined 350-84 record, the best mark in the country during that span.
Under McCaw’s watch, student-athletes thrived in the classroom as Baylor finished first or second in the Big 12 in graduation success rate in seven of his last nine years. Additionally, the school recorded its highest cumulative GPA in 2015-16 (3.34).
While Baylor enjoyed extraordinary academic and athletic success under McCaw’s leadership, his department also made significant administrative strides.
A five-year strategic plan for intercollegiate athletics, Above and Beyond, was developed and implemented inclusive of department goals and objectives. An outgrowth of this plan was the creation and successful completion of the Victory with Integrity and From Here We Build development campaigns. During his 13 years as Baylor’s director of athletics, the department raised more than $390 million toward capital projects and student-athlete scholarships.
While at Baylor, McCaw created a robust sports ministry program that included student-athlete and team mission trips and service programs, and he strengthened the school’s relationship with the Fellowship of Christian Athletes.
Prior to his days at Baylor, McCaw served as the director of athletics at the University of Massachusetts during the 2002-03 academic year. At UMass, he was responsible for a 23-sport program, helping develop and implement a five-year strategic plan and secure funding for basketball locker room renovations.
McCaw previously served as director of intercollegiate athletics and campus recreation at Northeastern from 1997-2002. During the last of his five years with the Huskies, Northeastern captured a school-record six America East Conference championships and had five teams finish among the nation’s top 20.
McCaw went to Northeastern from Tulane, where he served as senior associate athletic director for development and associate athletic director for external affairs from 1992-97. He was also Tulane’s co-interim director of athletics in 1996.
Prior to his years at Tulane, McCaw worked in a variety of athletic administrative posts at the University of Maine from 1986-92, including sports information, marketing, and external affairs.
Recognized as a national leader in intercollegiate athletics, McCaw has served as chair of the NCAA Recruiting and Personnel Issues Cabinet. He was also a member of the Big 12 Television & Game Management and Officiating Committees. Additionally, he served on the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Executive Committee and was on the Division I-A Athletics Director Association Board of Trustees.
McCaw was named 2014-15 FBS NACDA Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year and was a finalist for the 2012 and 2015 Sports Business Journal Athletics Director of the Year awards. He was named the 2012 NACDA West Region Under Armour Athletic Director of the Year and 2010 Waco Tribune-Herald Central Texas Sportsman of the Year. He also received the 2013 VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award from the University of Massachusetts Sport Management Program.
McCaw earned his master’s degree in sport management from Massachusetts in 1987, after receiving a bachelor’s degree in sports administration at Laurentian University in Sudbury, Ontario, in 1985.
McCaw and his wife, Heather, have four children: Christy, Paul, Callie, and Corinne.