Ole Miss Strengthens Athletics Leadership With Eric Wood
OXFORD, Miss. – (Release) Ole Miss Athletics has added strong leadership and championship experience with the naming of Dr. Eric A. Wood as the Rebels’ Senior Deputy Athletics Director/External Relations and Business Development, it was announced Monday by Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics Keith Carter.
Wood arrives in Oxford after more than three successful seasons as Vice President and Director of Athletics at Louisiana Tech. His 24-year career in collegiate athletics also includes stops at UCF, Arkansas, the Atlantic Coast Conference, Wake Forest, New Haven, the NCAA and Clemson.
“As we entered this search, Eric’s name immediately stood out as a great leader in our industry,” Carter said. “His impact at each of his previous institutions has led to brand growth and student-athlete success both in and out of competition. Ole Miss is experiencing unprecedented momentum, and we are thrilled to add an administrator with Eric’s energy, integrity and diverse experience to our already strong team.”
“I’m looking forward to working with the leadership team as we serve our student-athletes, coaches, staff and the community at an elite level,” Wood said. “Keith is known as one of the good guys and great leaders in college athletics, and Ole Miss is competing with excellence in the best conference in America. What a time to be headed to Oxford, as the Rebel brand has never been hotter!”
Under Wood’s guidance, LA Tech was the only Division I school in the country to have won a conference regular-season title in baseball, softball, men’s basketball and women’s basketball within the two-year span of 2021-22. The Bulldog and Lady Techster basketball teams also made it to the Conference USA Championship game in 2022, marking just the eighth time in C-USA history a school has had both programs advance to the finals, while the baseball squad captured the league’s tournament crown that season.
Other team highlights during Wood’s tenure include the seventh straight bowl appearance by Bulldog Football, back-to-back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances by the bowling program, Bulldog Basketball’s run to the 2021 NIT Final Four, individual NCAA postseason qualifiers in track & field and golf, and back-to-back NCAA Regional appearances by Bulldog Baseball (including the first ever host of an NCAA Regional in 2021).
LA Tech also had plenty of champions in the classroom with numerous academic records broken during Wood’s time as AD.
- 987 single-year APR average and 981 multi-year APR average
- 230 student-athletes named to the C-USA Commissioner’s Honor Roll (2021-22)
- 75 student-athletes receiving the C-USA Commissioner’s Academic Medal (2021-22)
- 8 programs recording a perfect 1,000 single-year APR score (2021-22 and 2020-21)
On the fundraising front, the University totaled nearly $20 million received in Athletics under Wood, including $6.18 million for FY23. A primary reason for the increase in commitments was due to the Aug. 1, 2022 launch of the Aillet Society, the first-ever major giving society with five-year commitments of $25,000 or more. In its first year, 60 shareholders across seven states joined the Aillet Society with the median gift being $50,000.
Wood put those many six and seven-figure commitments made by individual donors toward capital projects that supported the Bulldog and Lady Techster student-athletes. The University opened brand new facilities in J.C. Love Field at Pat Patterson Park, Dr. Billy Bundrick Softball Field, Robert Mack Caruthers Soccer Field, Origin Bank Soccer and Softball Complex and additional support facilities that totaled in excess of $40 million in new athletics facility construction.
The capital projects also include the construction of the Sarah and A.L. Williams Champions Plaza, which honors the most highly-decorated LA Tech student-athletes. Funded by $20 million raised by Wood and his team, the plaza is part of a revamped north end zone project at Joe Aillet Stadium that will feature a new Student-Athlete Success Center and the largest video board in the state of Louisiana.
A Bronx, New York, native, Wood boasts a decorated track record and has held a variety of leadership roles in organizations serving the college athletics industry. Most recently, he was appointed to the Division I NCAA Football Oversight Committee and to the Division I Council as well as being named Chair of the Football Success Committee.
Wood is a 1998 graduate of Sacred Heart University, earning his degree in Psychology. He was a three-year starter at cornerback for the Pioneer football team with one outdoor season as a member of the track and field team.
Wood earned a Medal of Merit, the athletic department’s highest honor, as the Student-Athlete of the Year his senior year at Sacred Heart. He completed his master’s degree in counseling and guidance services at Clemson University in May 2000 and his Doctorate of Education in Sports Management at the University of Arkansas in 2016.
Wood and his wife Celia have four children – Eliana, Nia, Alyssa, and Elijah.
Evelyn has covered sports for over two decades, beginning her journalism career as a sports writer for a newspaper in Austin, Texas. She attended Texas A&M and majored in English. Evelyn’s love for Ole Miss began when her daughter Katie attended the university on a volleyball scholarship. Evelyn created the Rebel Walk in 2013 and has served as publisher and managing editor since its inception.