Lee De León became the eighth director of athletics in ACU history on Nov. 13, 2014, taking over the Wildcats’ program in the midst of transitioning from NCAA Division II to Division I status. At the time of his hiring, he was the youngest Division I director of athletics in the country.
The 2015-16 athletics year, De Leon’s second year at ACU, was a banner one for the Wildcats both competitively and in many other ways. ACU won two Southland Conference titles (women’s cross country and women’s basketball) and saw 10 of its 16 teams finish in the top four in the conference in their respective sports. And in just its third year of NCAA Division I status, ACU finished third overall in the Southland Conference Commissioner’s Cup, which ranks the overall success of each athletics department, after a sixth-place finish in 2014-15.
Off the field, the Wildcats made gains in overall student-athlete GPA and in fundraising. De León also oversaw the implementation of the Wildcat Club, the new official fundraising organization of ACU Athletics, and expanded the Champions Circle, the most prestigious group of athletic donors, to more than 25 members. He also helped raise more than $17 million in pledges to the new on-campus football stadium, which will be ready in time for the 2017 season.
Prior to joining the ACU staff, De León was the associate director of athletics for development and executive director of the Lobo Club at the University of New Mexico. While there, he was in charge of UNM’s Lobo Club, which raises funds for all Lobo teams, programs and student-athletes.
In 2013-14, the club enrolled 4,500 members, the largest total in its 82-year history. De León also managed all facets of a multi-year, $75 million capital campaign for athletics. In 2013, he led the Lobo Club to its second-highest giving total ever at UNM.
Prior to joining the staff at New Mexico, De León served three years at the University of Arizona, first as the director of annual giving before being promoted to assistant athletics director for major gifts and annual giving. He was involved in all facets of its Wildcat Club, including major gifts and annual fund, while helping the organization enroll a then-record 9,500 members in 2011.
Before his stop in Tucson, Ariz., Lee spent three years in his hometown at the University of Houston as the assistant director of marketing and later, director of marketing. He led the marketing and promotions efforts for all ticketed sports at UH..
De León began his career at Louisiana State University in 2005 as a marketing assistant..
After graduating from the University of Notre Dame in 2004 with a degree in marketing, De León earned his master’s degree in sports management from Texas A&M University in 2005. He met his wife, Lacey, while at Texas A&M. They have been married since 2007 and have two sons, Landon and Luke.