Next up on our AD search is Troy Dannen, entering his fifth year at Tulane University.
In his time at Tulane, Dannen has hired nine head coaches. His first task when taking on the role was to hire a head football coach. The hire, Willie Fritz, captured back to back bowl game victories, making it six in school history . This, after losing seasons in 12 of 13 seasons before his hire. During his tenure, Tulane’s volleyball program was runners-up at the national championship in 2018, the baseball team won a regular season championship, and tennis won an AAC championship.
Tulane has seen fundraising numbers drastically rise. He has maintained an emphasis on improving the student-athlete experience. He’s worked on two major facility renovation, has greatly emphasized student-athlete community service, and implemented a mental health program. At a national level, he has been named to five NCAA national committees, in addition to the NCAA Competition Oversight Committee.
Prior to Tulane, the Iowa native spent eight years in the same role at Northern Iowa. An alumnus of the University, Dannen was named National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics Under Armour AD of the Year in 2014, for his successes in ‘academics, fundraising, business operations and marketing achievement.’ He had to deal with several financial hurdles in his time, but he vastly improved facilities and scholarship opportunities at the university. Before returning to his alma mater, he was the executive director of the Iowa Girls’ High School Athletic Union until 2008.
Bottom line, Dannen has years of experience as an Athletic Director. While not the biggest athletic schools, that experience certainly counts for something, and his work has clearly been noticed. He doesn’t have any noticeable connection, and while that’s not the only criteria, I can’t say I’d be all that inspired by this choice on paper. But given what he’s been able to accomplish working with constraints, he could be a solid bet when he has more to work with.