Bell announced as next athletic director

By Aaron Graff, @Aarongraff_DE

Tommy Bell was named SIU’s 13th athletic director on Friday and will take over for interim Harold Bardo. His contract and start date are still being discussed.

“I’m very grateful and humbled to be your athletic director,” Bell said. 

Bell needs approval of the SIU Board of Trustees, which meets on May 14. He said his contract should be finalized before then.


The position has been open since Mario Moccia began the same position in January at his alma mater, New Mexico State.

During his open forum interview April 17, Bell, director of athletics at Western Illinois University, said SIU is a destination job.

He submitted a one-page 10-point plan, which will be posted online later Friday, called, “Restore the Glory to Saluki Athletics,” to SIU President Randy Dunn.

“We will celebrate our past,” Bell said. “But we will not live in our past.”

He said his top priority is to meet with everyone in the department within the first 90 days to do an assessment.

Bell previously served as the director of athletics at Indiana Purdue Fort Wayne.

Before that, Bell spent six years as the Constituent Development Officer for SIU Athletics. He led the capital campaign efforts for the Saluki Way master facility plan.


Dunn said Bell brings three important characteristics into the job.

1. Athletics, leadership and fundraising experience

2. A commitment that was deep and ongoing to Saluki athletics

3. An understanding of the value of a strong Division I program

Dunn said his first question to all four finalists for the position was how they thought about the welfare of the student athletes.

“Tommy hit that answer on the head,” he said. 

Bell — who holds a bachelor’s degree in physical education from Virginia Tech and a master’s in health and physical education from Radford — has served for six different first year athletic directors.

During his open forum, he said he learned more during his time at SIU than anywhere else.

Aaron Graff can be reached at [email protected] or at 536-3311 ext. 256.