Tidwell steps down as Lamar athletic director

Tidwell steps down as Lamar athletic director

Larry Tidwell announced Wednesday that he is relinquishing his duties as Lamar University’s director of athletics in order to devote his full attention to being the head women’s basketball coach.

In the interim, Lamar President James Simmons has appointed Jason Henderson, the university’s associate athletic director for compliance, to also handle the duties of athletics director. 

“The main thing is that the jobs are just so big that you just have to choose,” said Tidwell before departing for a Wednesday night speaking engagement at a Fort Worth area high school. “Having to oversee the operation of 17 sports and entire athletic administrative staff and – and at the same time – coach a basketball team, is an awesome task.

“Lamar University needs someone who can put full attention into overseeing the athletics department, and Lamar needs someone who can put full attention into coaching women’s basketball. It just was not working trying to do both.”

In joining Tidwell in making this announcement, Simmons said Tidwell will carry the additional title of executive assistant to the athletics director and will continue to be involved in public relations and fund-raising efforts for the entire athletics program.

“Lamar University has been extremely fortunate to have a man of the many talents that Larry Tidwell possesses,” said Simmons.  “We gave him the opportunity to serve as athletics director and head women’s basketball coach knowing that at some point he would have to decide which job he wants to devote his fulltime attention to. Larry has indicated to me that his heart and soul are with basketball, and I fully respect that decision.”

Tidwell, who has coached the Lady Cardinals to a 90-40 record, one NCAA appearance and one WNIT appearance in four seasons after coming from TCU, succeeded Billy Tubbs as interim athletics director on June 14, 2010 and was named fulltime director on Sept. 30, 2010.

Henderson earned a bachelor’s degree in health and kinesiology with a specialization in sports management from Texas A&M University and he also earned a master’s of business administration degree from Texas A&M-Kingsville. He has served as Lamar’s associate athletics director for compliance since 2006.

“I want to thank Dr. Simmons for this opportunity to serve Lamar University as interim athletics director,” Henderson said. “I look forward to working with the coaches, the student-athletes and the university administration in continuing the fine work done in the past by Larry Tidwell and Billy Tubbs. This is an exciting time to be involved with Lamar athletics.”

Among Tidwell’s accomplishments as athletics director was the overseeing of a smooth transition to Lamar’s restart of its football program this past fall after a 21-year layoff.

Tidwell’s 2009-2010 Lady Cardinals compiled a 26-8 record, the second-best in school history. He was voted the 2010 Texas Association of Basketball Coaches Division I Coach of the Year.

Tidwell came to Lamar in 2007 after serving eight seasons as associate head coach and recruiting coordinator at TCU, helping the Lady Frogs achieve 173 victories and seven consecutive NCAA Tournament appearances. Prior to his arrival at Lamar, the Lady Cards had not enjoyed a winning season since 1994-1995.

A 35-year coaching veteran, Tidwell has worked in the Big 12 Conference, Western Athletic Conference and Conference USA as well as the Southwest Conference. His first Lamar team made a huge impact by winning 19 games, by capturing the SLC East Division championship for the first time and by advancing to the championship game of the SLC Tournament.