Sports

New Athlethic Director Announced

      Eastern University has made several changes in the past year, including a new president, new meal plan options, new turf fields, and a new director of the campus’ Athletic Department.

      Meet Eric McNeely, men’s basketball coach and Director of the Athletic Department.  Mr. McNeeley completed both his undergraduate and graduate studies at Barry University in Miami, Florida and graduated with a master’s degree in Administration.  In 2008, he began coaching for La Salle University.  In the years that followed, McNeeley coached for schools in Miami and Indiana.

      “My wife’s job took us all over the country, and eventually back to Pennsylvania, where I found Eastern University and fell in love with their mission,”  McNeeley said.

      McNeeley joined Eastern’s staff in 2014 and became the head coach for the men’s basketball team in 2015, a position he continues to hold even as the Athletic Department’s director.

      “It’s definitely an adjustment to balance both positions, but I make sure to have time to pour my heart and soul into basketball and the students on the team and time to fully devote myself to everything happening in the Athletic Department,”  McNeeley said.

      When asked about his thoughts on the upcoming basketball season, McNeeley said, “We’re really blessed to have a lot of experience in the basketball program, especially our seniors.  It’s exciting.  Over the past four years, the team has been provided with good opportunities, some drastic improvements have been made, and I’m really happy with their performance so far in the preseason.”

      As the director of the Athletic Department, Mr. McNeeley has more responsibilities than just coaching men’s basketball.  He’s consistently at work implementing his vision for the future of Eastern athletics and the athletes themselves.

      “My main focus is on the athletes’ experience, not only as athletes, but as students.  We’re trying to get the students connected to the athletes on teams from other sports through different events to build relationships that go beyond the locker rooms,” McNeeley said.

      McNeeley continued by stating that his vision was also “peer-driven, mission based, and campus-wide,” meaning that he envisions the student athletes building up a faith-based community with their peers, cheering each other on, both on the field and off.   Further down the line, Mr. McNeeley would also like to introduce new sports to Eastern’s campus in the future.  “Nothing is off the table here,” he said.  “Wrestling, swimming, ice hockey, competitive cheerleading, and football are all sports I’d love to explore.”

      With more events for student athletes to connect and build relationships with one another and a promising basketball season quickly approaching, Mr. McNeeley’s influence can already be seen in Eastern’s Athletic Department through the various events that have been held and the community that’s being built up around all of the sports Eastern has to offer.

      To all new student athletes, Mr. McNeeley advises freshmen to “Be patient.  This transition from highschool to college is large.  Remember to manage your time between work and fun, take care of your bodies and minds, and set aside time to improve spiritually.”

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