EASTON, Pa. – Bruce McCutcheon, who has served as Lafayette College’s director of athletics since 2001, has announced his plans to retire, ending a nearly three-decade association with the Leopards’ athletic program. A national search will begin immediately and McCutcheon has agreed to remain in his role until his replacement is hired.
“It has been my great honor to serve the students, staff, alumni and families of this great College,” said McCutcheon. “I will always cherish the memories and great friendships. I look forward to providing whatever assistance is necessary for a smooth transition.”
During his tenure, McCutcheon orchestrated a far-reaching upgrade in athletic facilities, increased the number and quality of the coaching staff and other personnel, played a key role in the development of a visual identity program, implemented a comprehensive leadership development program for student-athletes, and built upon Lafayette’s long-standing tradition of scholar-athlete excellence.
“Bruce can be proud of the many successes he has achieved here,” said Lafayette College President Alison Byerly. “The most important of those, perhaps, is his steadfast focus on the overall growth and development of Lafayette’s student-athletes, who have gone on to leadership roles in a wide variety of settings. Their accomplishments are a testament to Bruce’s commitment to leading an athletics program that is well integrated into our students’ educational experience.”
In 2016, McCutcheon looked to boost the Leopards’ competitiveness on the playing field by facilitating an ongoing review of the athletic program. To date, the athletics review steering committee has adopted statements on the role of athletics at Lafayette and the definition of success, and helped shape a partnership between Enrollment Management and Athletics to strengthen recruitment of highly capable students who also are outstanding athletes. The committee has helped guide strategic investments of alumni gifts to athletics, facilitate greater interaction of coaches with trustees and donors, and target investments to enhance teams’ competitiveness.
“We’ve had a number of productive discussions with the committee geared toward improving athletic competitiveness, and plans are in place for future success,” McCutcheon said. “But as the conversations moved toward long-range planning with three- to five-year and five- to 10-year plans, it became clear to me that this process has moved beyond my intended horizon as athletic director. I notified President Byerly and Annette Diorio of my plans so that the process may begin for a smooth transition to new leadership in athletics.”
Annette Diorio, vice president of campus life and chair of the athletics review steering committee, said: “I want to thank Bruce for all that he has done throughout his career at Lafayette. He was called upon to balance many priorities in his leadership of this very complex unit of the College. We will pause the finalization of recommendations from the athletics review as we search for Lafayette’s next athletic director.” Diorio will chair the search committee for McCutcheon’s replacement, working with a search firm to identify the candidate pool.
McCutcheon arrived on College Hill in 1990, serving as the associate director of athletics before assuming the director role for the Leopards’ 23-sport program on Sept. 20, 2001.
The most notable achievement of his 16-plus years on College Hill happened away from campus in 2014. With the hope of creating a once-in-a-lifetime experience for students, alumni and fans, McCutcheon worked to move the 150th meeting of the Lafayette-Lehigh football rivalry to Yankee Stadium. More than 50,000 fans watched the Leopards run away to a 27-7 victory over their archrival in College Football’s Most-Played Rivalry. The event was more than just a football victory in front of a sold out crowd at America’s most iconic sports venue; it provided an opportunity for Lafayette to be in the national spotlight. Additionally, alumni from both schools converged in New York City for a weekend of cultural and educational events, including a gala that helped launch Lafayette’s current capital campaign.
Early in his tenure, McCutcheon spearheaded the creation of an athletic facilities master plan, which resulted in far-reaching upgrades in athletic facilities and was responsible for some of the most visible changes in Lafayette athletics. The results of that endeavor include the $33 million renovation of Fisher Stadium and the addition of Bourger Varsity Football House, the construction of Kamine Stadium for baseball, renovation of Mike Bourger ’44 Field at Oaks Stadium for soccer, the construction of a new softball stadium, a $5.6 million transformation of the swimming pool to Weinstein Natatorium, the construction of a new track and field complex and several Maroon Club Strength Center renovation projects.
One of McCutcheon’s lasting achievements was the introduction of the Oaks Leadership Academy in 2011, a comprehensive four-year program to develop, challenge, and support Lafayette student-athletes and coaches in their quest to become effective leaders in academics, athletics and life. During his time at Lafayette, student-athletes have used that training to further excel in the classroom, as Lafayette has consistently been a national leader in the NCAA’s most-telling academic measure, Graduation Success Rate.
In 2008, McCutcheon helped spur the transition from need-based financial to athletic scholarships in men’s and women’s basketball at Lafayette. In 2013, he saw scholarships expand to football and several other sports. That same year he was named the Under Armour A.D. of the Year and presented with the award at NACDA’s annual convention in Orlando, Fla.
McCutcheon has served on the executive committee of the Division I Football Championship Subdivision Athletics Directors Association (FCS ADA) and as chair of the Patriot League’s Committee on Athletic Administration. In June 2017, McCutcheon was elected the First Vice President of the FCS ADA. He also spent a term on the NCAA Division I FCS Football Championship Committee and the NCAA Division I Football Issues Committee. His tenure also included a four-year term on the NCAA Academics/Eligibility/Compliance Cabinet and he was chairman of the ECAC Division I Robbins Scholar-Athlete Committee. He holds memberships in the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame.
McCutcheon’s time at Lafayette began in July of 1990, after serving as assistant director of athletics at Temple University for one year. That followed a five-year tenure as an assistant athletic director at Southern Illinois University in Carbondale, Ill. McCutcheon graduated from the College of William & Mary in 1976 with a bachelor’s degree in Physical Education. He was a two-sport athlete at William & Mary, competing in football and track. He later earned a Master of Arts degree in Sports Administration from The Ohio State University in 1982 and completed his Doctor of Philosophy degree in Sport Management in 1988, also from Ohio State.
A native of Media, Pa., McCutcheon and his wife, Pat, reside on College Hill and have three children, Ian, Meghan and Gavin. Ian is a 2009 Lafayette graduate who was on the baseball team. Ian’s sister, Meghan, graduated from Radford University in 2012 while younger brother, Gavin, earned his degree from Roanoke College in 2016.