Athletic Director Roger Vannoy, left, is retiring from Lincoln Memorial University. He is shown with LMU president Dr. James B. Dawson. (LMU Photo)
HARROGATE, Tenn. -- After 33 years of dedicated service and passionate leadership that have left an indelible mark on the countless student-athletes, colleagues and friends in which his path has crossed, Lincoln Memorial University Athletic Director Roger Vannoy has announced that he will retire at the end of the 2014-15 academic year.
The retirement celebration for Vannoy will be held Friday, May 15, from 2 to 4 p.m. in the Tex Turner Room at LMU's Tex Turner Arena.
"After spending over half of my life on this campus, it is obviously bittersweet to come to this decision," Vannoy said. "I cannot adequately express my appreciation for the opportunity in general and the hundreds of special players and colleagues that I have worked for and with over these past 33 years. It has been a highlight of my life to be a part of the growth of LMU and in particular LMU Athletics. I look forward to watching that continued progress. It is just time for me to cut back and spend more time with my family and that poor lonesome fishing boat in my garage."
Vannoy graduated from Lincoln Memorial in 1975 and began his professional career that same year as the head women's basketball coach at Powell Valley High School. Over his seven-year stint at Powell Valley, Vannoy compiled a 133-58 record, a winning percentage of 70 percentage, and was a two-time District Coach of the Year.
In 1982, Vannoy returned to his alma mater to serve as Lincoln Memorial's head women's basketball coach and associate athletic director, and his hiring officially ushered in a golden era for the women's basketball program without an historical precedent. During his storied 25-year tenure, Vannoy guided the Lady Railsplitters to seven separate conference championships, 14 20-win seasons and a career record of 463-246 (65.3 percent), the most wins by a men's or women's basketball coach in school history. His teams won 83 percent of their home games in his career. With Vannoy steering the ship, the 2002-03 team compiled a 21-9 overall record and qualified for the NCAA tournament.
For all of the on-court success, Vannoy built a culture within his program that developed and prepared the student-athletes under his tutelage for life after basketball, with 95 percent of his players successfully earning their college degrees. The 2000-01 squad won the NCAA Division II Academic National Championship.
Vannoy was elected to the Lincoln Memorial University Professional Hall of Fame in 1997 and was later inducted into the LMU Athletic Hall of Fame in 2007, the same year he took over as the school's Athletic Director.
Much like his time as the head women's basketball coach, Vannoy's prodigious tenure as the athletic director has been marked by the immeasurable growth and success of the LMU athletic department. Vannoy helped oversee and bridge Lincoln Memorial's transition to the South Atlantic Conference in 2006-07, has seen three different teams earn the No. 1 national ranking and laid the foundation for four new programs with the addition of men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, men's track & field and women's track & field in 2014-15.
The list of accomplishments during Vannoy's stint as the athletic director is impressive. In 2007, the men's soccer program appeared in the NCAA Division II National Championship match. Lincoln Memorial has hosted three major postseason tournaments over that eight-year span: South Atlantic Conference Volleyball Championship (2011), South Atlantic Conference Softball Championship (2014) and the NCAA Division II Men's Basketball Southeast Regional (2015). In three of the past five years, Lincoln Memorial has led the SAC in money raised in the Play 4Kay initiative for the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. This year, LMU led the SAC and the entire NCAA Division II in money raised towards the Play 4Kay initiative. As a department, Lincoln Memorial has captured 14 different SAC titles in his time as athletic director.
Vannoy earned the President's Award for Staff Excellence in Performance in both 1996 and 2007. He was selected as a Madison Who's Who Affiliated Member in 2010.
"Roger has been a tireless worker and an exemplary Athletic Director for the LMU Railsplitters," said school president Dr. James B. Dawson. "He is a person who has devoted his career to our University and we wish him the very best as he enjoys a well-earned retirement."