ULM signs John Hartwell as director of athletics

Cameron Jett, Editor-In-Chief

“When you like what you see, you don’t think twice.

Just 48 hours separated John Hartwell’s first public appearance at ULM on Tuesday and the official announcement on Thursday that he had been named the university’s new athletics director.
Hartwell brings 10 years of experience as a Division I athletics director with him. He spent three years at Troy before taking over the same role at Utah State from 2015- 2022.

With that much experience in the position, it’s no surprise that the university chose to forgo the rest of the candidates and finalize a deal with Hartwell. While everything appears set to go on ULM’s end, the move requires approval from the University of Louisiana System at its next meeting to become official.

Hartwell joins ULM athletics nearly five months after Scott McDonald resigned on Aug. 15, 2022.” “ULM President Ronald Berry said that he is “fortunate to attract an athletic leader of John’s caliber.”

A press conference in the ULM library on Monday at 3 p.m. will introduce Hartwell for the first time as ULM’s athletics director, but he already spent an hour addressing the community in last week’s public forum.

Hartwell didn’t shy away from addressing ULM’s abysmal financial situation in athletics. The athletics department’s $17.7 million annual budget ranks amongst the lowest of the 131 Football Bowl Subdivision schools in Division I athletics.

Holding onto the rock-bottom funding isn’t something Hartwell said he wants to do.

“It’s a crutch for not being as successful,” he said.

And according to Hartwell, it’s the challenge that led to him considering ULM.

Bluntly put, some dust has settled since the last time a Warhawks” “program hoisted a conference title. Tennis won the most recent Sun Belt title in 2017. Breadwinner sports like football, baseball, softball and basketball’s most recent wins go back even further.

It’s been a decade since ULM’s only bowl appearance and last winning season in football.

There are also the two head- coaching vacancies—soccer and volleyball—that will likely be put on hold until he takes on official duties. As much as he may enjoy the challenge presented across the bayou, his landing spot in Monroe had less to do with financials or the opportunity to revamp the department and more to do with family. Moving to ULM puts Hartwell back in the South and closer to his hometown of Mobile, Alabama.

Arguably more important, it puts his wife, Heather Hartwell, less than two hours away from her hometown of El Dorado, Arkansas.”