BEAUMONT - Lamar University has named a former Lamar athlete and current staff member to be interim athletic director following the Monday resignation of the current director.
Norman Bellard, who has been assistant to the president for community relations and athletics program liaison since March 2015, was named as the interim athletic director Monday following the resignation of Jason Henderson according to a release from the university.
Lamar will now start national search for a permanent athletic director according to the release
Bellard will continue as assistant to the president for community relations and athletics program liaison according to the release.
Bellard has served in several roles at the university including senior associate vice president for student affairs, interim vice president for student affairs, and senior associate vice president for residence life the release said.
Athletic Director Jason Henderson became athletic director in June 2012 after spending a year as the interim athletics director according to his bio at LamarCardinals.com
Henderson had been the university's associate director for compliance from July 2007 until he became the interim AD in May 2011 according to his bio.
This is a developing story. We will update with more as soon as we receive confirmed information.
From Lamar University...
With the appointment today of Cardinal sports legend Norman Bellard ’79 as interim athletic director, Lamar University is prepared to build on recent successes and strive for new achievements in athletics.
The recent Southland Conference championship and NCAA tournament berth by LU soccer, the National Invitational Softball Championship finals appearance from LU Softball, a strong showing by both men’s and women’s Cardinal cross country in the recent NCAA regionals, two consecutive years of top-ranked recruiting classes for Lamar baseball, strong seasons predicted for men’s and women’s basketball, and cause for optimism for the Cardinals on the gridiron – all of these and more give Bellard reason to be excited as he takes on his new responsibilities.
“My primary goal will be to continue to put a quality product on the fields and courts that is attractive to the community, both on campus and beyond,” said Bellard.
In addition, Bellard places a high priority on academic accomplishments for Lamar student-athletes.
“We do a good job on graduation rates,” Bellard noted, “so success in the classroom will remain very important in all sports.”
He cited academic progress rates (APR) of several sports, including baseball, softball, men’s and women’s basketball, men’s golf, and women’s soccer, as evidence that Lamar is heading in the right direction both academically and athletically.
Those teams in particular at LU “are near the top in our conference and among Texas universities [in APR], and they are trending upwards,” Bellard added.
Also on Bellard’s wish list are upgrades to athletic facilities, including the Montagne Center, Vincent-Beck Stadium, and Provost Umphrey Stadium.
Plans are in the works for basketball locker room improvements as well as enhancements for student-athletes and spectators alike at Cardinal baseball games, while other changes are on the drawing board as well.
“These upgrades will not be possible without the help and support of our generous Cardinal fans, Lamar alumni, and athletic boosters,” Bellard emphasized.
“With the help of our coaches and administration, I look forward to sharing my vision with our community, alumni, and friends.”
“Norman Bellard’s involvement with Lamar University, as a student-athlete, distinguished alumnus, Cardinals fan, and as a long-standing member of our staff, makes him uniquely qualified to serve as interim Athletic Director,” said Lamar University President Ken Evans.
“We look forward to his leadership and vision as we move forward at this moment of unprecedented opportunities for Lamar University Athletics.”
A full national search will begin immediately for a permanent athletic director.
Bellard will continue as assistant to the president for community relations and athletics program liaison, a position he has held since March 1, 2015.
He has served in numerous leadership roles in the university that had a direct impact on student life and student engagement including senior associate vice president for student affairs, interim vice president for student affairs, and senior associate vice president for residence life.
Prior to coming to Lamar, Bellard served for 10 years as chief financial officer for Conn’s Appliance Incorporated.
© 2017 KBMT-TV