Since being named Vice President and Director of Athletics at Utah State on June 2, 2015, John Hartwell has cast his vision for Aggie Athletics, which embodies maximum effort socially, academically and athletically to ensure success in both the classroom and on the fields of competition. Hartwell has also focused on maximizing and increasing the department’s revenue streams, along with planning for future facility renovations to both Maverik Stadium and the Dee Glen Smith Spectrum. In his brief time at Utah State, Hartwell has already rebranded the fundraising arm of Utah State Athletics with the creation of Aggies Unlimited, which puts all giving under one umbrella.
Hartwell came to Utah State after spending the three years as the Athletics Director at Troy, where he laid the groundwork for the future of Trojan Athletics by spearheading several significant upgrades to its athletic facilities, including the addition of a new $2 million practice facility for the golf teams, a $3 million renovation and expansion of the softball facility and a $2.1 million improvement to Veterans Memorial Stadium, while also securing funding for lights to be installed at the soccer and track complex.
Hartwell also unveiled the North End Zone Project for Veterans Memorial Stadium, a $20 million project that will be the new home for Trojan football.
During the 2014-15 academic year, five Troy programs competed in postseason play, highlighted by a pair of Sun Belt Conference championships by the women’s golf and men’s tennis teams, while the women’s basketball team won 20 games for the first time since 1996-97 and made just its second postseason appearance in school history. Within the past year, three of Hartwell’s new coaching hires – Beth Mullins (softball), Scott Kidd (men’s tennis) and Bart Barnes (women’s golf) – have been named Sun Belt Conference Coach of the Year, including back-to-back awards by Barnes.
Under Hartwell, Troy Athletics saw a significant enhancement in fundraising and external relations as he completely overhauled Troy’s External Affairs division of the Athletics Department to increase revenues and enhance the fan and game day experience. As part of this makeover was the creation of a new external model, which included the addition of a Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs; bringing corporate sponsorships in house with a partnership with Rockbridge Sports Group; and the development of the Troy Affinity Program to further engage Troy students in athletics.
Hartwell’s strong business background also proved to be valuable at Troy as he negotiated a new footwear and apparel deal with Adidas, while also securing home-and- home football games with Duke and North Carolina State in addition to yielding a home basketball game with Mississippi. Hartwell’s tenure at Troy also saw a record number of student-athletes earn a 3.0 grade-point-average, an upward trend in APR scores and additional staff positions in Troy’s academic support department. During the 2014-15 academic year, Troy student-athletes finished with a 3.01 cumulative grade-point-average and over 57 percent of Troy’s student-athletes had a 3.0 GPA or higher.
At Troy, Hartwell served on the NCAA Division I Basketball Issues Committee, the Division I-A Board of Trustees Executive Committee, and the NCAA Division I Council as the Sun Belt Conference representative. He has also been an instructor at the Division I-A Institute for aspiring athletic directors the past two years.
Prior to being the Director of Athletics at Troy, Hartwell spent nine-plus years at the University of Mississippi, where he was the Senior Executive Associate Athletics Director, serving as the number two administrator in athletics.
Hartwell served as the Treasurer and Chief Operating Officer of the Mississippi Athletic Association Foundation, a 501 (c)(3) organization that generated over $17 million annually for the Ole Miss Athletics Department through priority seating and major gifts. He was responsible for the day-to-day administrative oversight of the football, men’s basketball and baseball programs, along with sport oversight of the softball and men’s and women’s track & field and cross country programs. Hartwell also oversaw the Rebels’ business office, ticket office, equipment room, merchandise sales, concessions and football scheduling. Hartwell scheduled several marquee football games for the Rebels, including a home-and-home series with Texas that began in 2012.
A 1987 graduate of The Citadel, the 51-year old Hartwell spent four-plus years as a certified public accountant with Ernst & Young before returning to his alma mater to serve as the Director of Internal Audit in 1991. From 1994 to 1997, he was in private business as the Chief Financial Officer for a $36 million beverage distributor on the South Carolina coast.
Hartwell’s direct experience in athletics administration began as the Assistant Athletics Director for Business at Georgia State in 1997. He was promoted to Associate Athletics Director for Internal Affairs in 1999, and his responsibilities expanded to include sport supervision for baseball, men’s and women’s golf, men’s and women’s track & field and cross country. He also had oversight over the Panthers’ athletic facilities and game management in addition to his previous responsibilities of all financial aspects of the department. While at Georgia State, Hartwell earned a master’s degree in sports administration.
Athletics has always been a big part of Hartwell’s life, starting in high school where he was an all-state basketball selection at UMS-Wright in Mobile, Ala. The 6-foot-7 forward played alongside current North Carolina State head coach Mark Gottfried in high school. Hartwell went on to play collegiately at The Citadel, where he was a three- year starter, a four-year letterman and captain of the team as a senior in 1987.
Hartwell is married to Dr. Heather Seale Hartwell, and they have two daughters, Lauren (7) and Madison (4). Hartwell also has a 24-year old son, Hunter, a Vanderbilt graduate who works for Deloitte Consulting.