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John Hartwell - Utah State Athletics
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Utah State’s John Hartwell Named Fourth-Best Non-Power 5 AD In Nation

LOGAN, Utah – Utah State University Athletics Director John Hartwell was named the fourth-best non-Power 5 AD in the country by Stadium.

Stadium college football and basketball insiders Brett McMurphy and Jeff Goodman graded the football and men’s basketball hirings of the current FBS athletic directors.

The grades are based on the success of the coaches hired, difficulty of opponents in their respective conferences, bowl appearances, NCAA Tournament trips, conference titles and national championships won. Each AD gets credit for a coach’s hiring at each school even after the athletic director moves on to another university and the coach remains at the same school.

“I cannot think of anyone more deserving of this recognition,” said Utah State University President Noelle E. Cockett. “John reflects integrity in everything he does and leads by example. He understands the value of the collegiate model of athletics and works hard to implement that model, both to the benefit of the individual and the larger institution. He also recognizes why we reference student first when we talk about the student-athlete and you see that in his personal care and concern for every Aggie athlete. John is a highly respected member of our executive committee, and through his leadership and fiscal stewardship, makes us better as an institution.”

Goodman and McMurphy gave Hartwell a B+ grade for the hirings in both football and men’s basketball. He received an A for football hires at both Troy and Utah State along with a B for men’s basketball.

Here is what Goodman and McMurphy said about Hartwell in their article.

“John Hartwell’s first athletic director job was at Troy, where his best hire was football coach Neal Brown, who inherited a program with four consecutive non-winning records. Brown turned the program around, recording three consecutive double-digit win seasons for the first time in school history, including upsets at LSU (in 2017) and at Nebraska (in 2018). Hartwell then went to Utah State, where he landed basketball coach Craig Smith from South Dakota and football coach Gary Andersen. Smith made the NCAA Tournament in his debut season, the school’s first appearance in eight seasons, while Andersen went 7-6 and earned a bowl berth last season.”

Football Hires

Hartwell was the AD at Troy from 2012-15 where he hired Neal Brown to be the head football coach. Brown has been at the helm for four years while holding a 35-16 record including 3 bowl appearances and one conference title. Hartwell joined Utah State in 2015 when Matt Wells was already the head coach of the Aggies. But, when Wells left to be the head coach of Texas Tech, Hartwell hired Gary Andersen, bringing him back for his second stint.

Andersen’s first season in his second stint as head coach in 2019, Utah State finished with a 7-6 record and a bowl appearance. Hartwell’s football hires at both Troy and Utah State have a .656 winning percentage, 4 bowl appearances in five years and one conference title.

Men’s Basketball Hires

While at Troy, Hartwell hired Phil Cunningham to be the men’s basketball head coach. Through six seasons at Troy, Cunningham has an 80-111 record and one appearance in the NCAA Tournament.

The big hire for Hartwell was when he was at Utah State when he brought in Craig Smith from South Dakota to turn around the basketball program. In two seasons with the Aggies, Smith has a 54-15 record, two conference tournament titles and two appearances in the NCAA Tournament. They did not play in the 2020 tournament because of the coronavirus pandemic.

The two coaches hired by Hartwell have a .515 winning percentage, 3 NCAA Tournament appearances in 8 years and one conference regular season title.

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