Director of Athletics & Recreation
At the helm of a proud and flourishing Bison athletics program is director of athletics and recreation John Hardt, who is now in his 15th year at Bucknell and his 29th year in athletics administration. Hardt administers a broad-based sports program with a proud and successful history.
Since his arrival, Hardt has orchestrated one of the nation's most assertive facilities overhauls, built and maintained relationships with major donors, restructured the athletics administration in order to help Bucknell stay ahead of the curve in the fast-paced world of Division I athletics and built upon Bucknell's long-standing tradition of scholar-athlete excellence.
Hardt is privileged to oversee a varsity athletics program that has long been at the head of the class in the Patriot League, both on the playing fields and in the classroom. From Presidents' Cups to Academic All-Americans to the nation's best graduation rate, Bison Athletics carries a proud heritage.
While building on Bucknell's athletic and academic excellence is paramount, Hardt has also incorporated progressive ideas in the area of external relations.
Initiatives such as the Bison Magazine online video series, a new graphics identity package, an informative and visually appealing athletics website and a revamped Bison Club all serve to bring Bison Athletics into the homes of its supporters.
During his productive tenure at Bucknell, Hardt has overseen continual growth in Bison Club donations, with receipts now annually topping $2 million, and he has seen the program benefit from several major gifts. While the Kenneth G. Langone Athletics and Recreation Center is the crown jewel of a successful university fundraising campaign, other significant offerings include a $7.6 million donation from William Graham -- one of the largest in university history -- which was directed toward women's athletics and the successful restoration of wrestling to varsity status. Graham Field, the AstroTurf venue at the West Fields, was also a result of that gift.
Other major gifts have included the funding of the FieldTurf playing surface and new lighting in Christy Mathewson-Memorial Stadium, the Holmes Stadium grandstand/press box facility that supports both Graham Field and Emmitt Field, the ongoing upgrades to the baseball and softball facilities, a brand new instructional golf center, as well as endowments for football, track and field, water polo and swimming and diving.
At Bucknell, Hardt has initiated groundbreaking deals in the area of apparel (adidas), marketing (Nelligan Sports Marketing) and sports medicine (Geisinger Sports Medicine).
While much has been achieved in the last 13 years, Hardt’s vision for Bison Athletics carries well into the future. Working with campus and department leadership, he has developed a long-range plan for Bucknell Athletics that meshes with the University’s strategic plan and and the We Do capital campaign. Hardt’s plan focuses on future facilities upgrades, places an emphasis on diversity and gender equity, and promises the continued commitment to a student-centered athletics and recreation program that adheres to the student-athlete ideal.
In the fall of 2011, Hardt announced the launching of the Bucknell Bison Leadership Academy, a program designed identify, develop, challenge and support student-athletes and coaches in their continual quest to become leaders in academics, in athletics and in life.
Hardt, who received the Gen. Robert R. Neyland Outstanding Athletic Director Award in March 2008 the All-American Football Foundation's 91st Banquet of Champions, also remains very active in athletics governance at the national level. In 2006-07 he served as chair of the NCAA Football Championship Subdivision Committee, he recently completed a four-year term on the Division I Baseball Committee, and in 2012 he earned a presigious post on the NCAA Division I Leadership Council.
Hardt began his tenure at Bucknell on February 15, 2000, after serving four years as associate director of athletics at Michigan State University. While there, Hardt supervised the sports medicine staff, strength and conditioning, equipment operations, computing and tech services and NCAA/Big Ten rules compliance. In addition, he handled legal and contractual issues for the department.
Prior to his tenure at MSU, Hardt spent five years at Syracuse University as director of athletic compliance and four years with the NCAA's national office as a compliance representative.
A native Iowan, Hardt is a 1984 honors graduate of the University of Iowa, and he was a member of the Hawkeyes' 1982 Rose Bowl football team. He later earned his law degree from Iowa and is a doctoral candidate in Iowa's College of Education.
Todd Newcomb is a familiar face to most Bucknellians, from his time on campus as a student and in his current role as an athletic administrator. Now in his 17th year as a member of the athletics staff, Newcomb returned to Bucknell in 1999 after spending 10 years in the Patriot League Office, the last six months of that time as interim executive director of the league. As the Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Affairs and Director of the Bison Club, Newcomb works closely with the Development and Alumni Relations staff and is responsible for assisting to coordinate annual, planned, capital and special gifts for the department of athletics and recreation. He assists the head coaches in their cultivation and stewardship of their alumni, parents and friends, and is the department’s voice at most of its public functions throughout the year. Newcomb is also the current chair of the Bucknell Athletics Hall of Fame selection committee. Under Newcomb's watch, the Bison Club topped the $1 million mark in donations for the first time in 2003-04, then upped that total to more than $1.25 million in 2004-05 and over $1.5 million in each of the last six years. A native of Port Jefferson, N.Y., Newcomb lives in Lewisburg with his wife, Heather, and is the father of three children: Courtney (22), Drew (18, member of the Bucknell football team) and Brett (15), and the stepfather of Bradyn (19) and Bryce (17).
A veteran of 23 years in college athletics fundraising and operations, Tom Harvey joined the Bucknell community in 2004 as Manager of Athletics Fundraising. He was promoted to Senior Manager of Athletics Fundraising in November of 2008 and to Assistant Director of Athletics Fundraising in 2011. Currently, he is the Director of Athletics Development. Harvey's primary responsibility is to work closely with Bucknell's director of annual giving, the director of athletics and the director of the Bison Club to identify and solicit new annual donors to the Bison Club, while also soliciting current supporters to increase their annual giving.Harvey also works with capital giving prospects to raise needed funds for such areas as endowment and facilities. Prior to Bucknell, Harvey worked as a financial consultant for Smith Barney in Boca Raton, Fla., from 2002-04, but from 1989-2002 he worked exclusively in college athletics, including a four-year stint as director of external opertaions for football at Florida Atlantic University. Among his duties were coordinating all external football units, including ticket sales and operations, marketing and promotions, community relations, advertising, major gifts and the annual fund. Harvey was instrumental in raising over $9 million for the start-up of FAU's football program. He also served as donor relations coordinator and director of regional athletic development for the Hurricane Club at the University of Miami. Harvey lives in Lewisburg with his wife, Leisha, and daughter Alison (13). They have two older sons, Daniel (25), and Adrien (23), who serves in the U.S. Coast Guard.
In January 2016 Kyle Smith joined the Bucknell athletics development team.
Smith came to Bucknell from Denver, Colorado, where he was working in sales during the previous year. During the 2013-14 academic year he worked as a graduate assistant in athletics development at the University of Washington, while also earning his master’s degree in intercollegiate athletics leadership. His development work came with UW’s Tyee Club, where he helped manage donor solicitations and season ticket/parking sales for a Pac-12 program.
Smith has also worked in athletics as a coordinator of internal operations and compliance at the Division 2 Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference in 2011-12, and as an operations assistant with the United States Olympic Committee in 2011.
Smith is a 2010 graduate of Hastings College in Nebraska where he received his degree in business and sports management. He was a varsity student-athlete on the Hastings cross country and track and field teams, and he later trained for the 2012 and 2016 Summer Olympic Games as part of the United States Modern Pentathlon Team. He is currently training to compete in the Boston Marathon.
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