Tanney named Athletic Director


Erika Ward

President Jack Thomas names Matt Tanney the new Athletic Director on Monday, Jan. 11.

President Jack Thomas named Matt Tanney the new Athletic Director for the Leathernecks during a press conference on Monday, Jan. 11.

Tanney, who has served as the interim Athletic Director for Western Illinois University since May 2015, spoke mostly about the missing piece that he hopes to bring back to Leatherneck athletics.

“That missing element is not necessarily a facility, or a coach, or a staff member, but it’s a quiet conviction in our purpose as Leathernecks,” Tanny said. “Some call it a ‘swagger.’”

Tanney explained that he uses swagger to mean a “faith in the entire enterprise,” and not arrogance.

“Swagger means that we will continue to aggressively evaluate and pursue modes of external growth and support to provide funding and the best experience possible for our student athletes,” Tanney explained. “That includes the expansion of our annual fund, corporate sponsorships, ticket sales and other available sources.”

With the current budget crisis facing Illinois public universities, Tanney said he believes Leatherneck Athletics can overcome the obstacles.

“There may be financial challenges in the state of Illinois presently, but it’s just that: a challenge,” Tanney said. “In intercollegiate athletics, we will not use that as an excuse in providing the best experience possible for our student athletes.”

Even while Tanney was serving as interim Athletic Director, he said he stepped into the role “acting like the Director of Athletics.” He said that one of the most important aspects of the job that he learned from his time as interim is that the department needs to have the ability to adapt.

“The biggest takeaway is (to) expect the unexpected and that anything is possible,” Tanney said. “You just have to prepare for that and adapt to change, and we’re going to continue to do that in intercollegiate athletics.”