NACOGDOCHES, Texas (KETK) - Ryan Ivey was publically introduced as the new director of athletics at Stephen F. Austin Thursday.
While he had a chance to meet and greet a number of fans, and community members, Ivey also addressed the big elephant in the room, which is the investigation on head football coach Clint Conque.
Conque is being investigated on alleged violations of university policy and has been suspended since June 18.
Defensive coordinator Jeff Byrd has been the Jacks' interim coach since.
"I've been involved to the extent to where I can be involved. And again I think when you're dealing with the investigation that's going on, there's just, there's not a lot that I can do right now. So we're letting that process play out. And as soon as it plays out, we'll be able to certainly have that conversation and certainly be able to move forward," explained Ivey.
"I think it's important that our fans understand that. It's important that our many stakeholders understand what's going on. And I understand for their frustration a little bit of not knowing. But there's just some things legally that we can and can't do right now."
---Below is the SFA Athletics department news release on Ivey's introduction as director of athletics---
NACOGDOCHES, Texas (SFA Athletics) - Inside a crowded William B. Lawton Room of the SFA Athletics Fieldhouse Thursday afternoon, a new era for Lumberjack and Ladyjack athletics officially began when Director of Athletics Ryan Ivey was welcomed to the campus community during his introductory press conference.
Looking on was Ivey's direct predecessor - Robert Hill - as well as university president Dr. Baker Pattillo. That pair joined a hefty contingent of SFA student-athletes, coaches, staff members as well Nacogdoches community members who were eager to meet Ivey and hear his vision for the department.
"Ryan comes in very familiar with SFA as well as the other other institutions in the Southland Conference," stated Pattillo. Not only is Ivey already familiar with SFA thanks to his six-year tenure as an athletic administrator fellow Southland member McNeese, he has been the driving force of drastic turnarounds at both Texas A&M-Commerce and Austin Peay by serving as the director of athletics at those institutions.
"In talking with the people at Austin Peay State University, especially he president," Pattillo continued, "I've never received such a glowing recommendation. They did not want him to leave. Their president told me that if there was one person on our campus that I could retain, then Ryan Ivey would be the person I would keep on my staff. Naturally, we took that as a real compliment."
Through the last three years at Austin Peay, Ivey helped amass more than $6.5 million in gifts and donations to athletics which helped fund numerous facility improvements and enhance the department's operating budget. In the Governors' 2017-18 academic year, three head coaches earned Ohio Valley Conference Coach of the Year laurels and their football team enjoyed one of the biggest turnarounds across the entire NCAA Division I landscape by tying a program record with eight victories after losing 29-straight games from October 25, 2014 through September 15, 2017.
"I'm so honored, humbled and thrilled to be here today to be the leader of this athletics department," Ivey remarked once he took the podium. "This is a tremendous opportunity and one that I appreciate because I recognize the gravity and responsibility that come along with it. I can promise you all that we are going to work hard every day to make sure we represent this institution in a first class manner."
Ivey also laid out his ultimate goal for SFA athletics during his introductory presser.
"I have said many times and I'll say it again that today is a great time to be a part of the Lumberjack family. Now is the time to be engaged with us. We want you to come experience everything that we have and everything that we offer. Our vision is going to be really simple, and that's to be the leading mid-major athletics department in the country."
With a little over one decade of college athletics administration experience at his disposal, as well as a proven track record of fundraising and department building, Ivey's words resonated with SFA faithful in attendance.