Since his appointment, McCutcheon has spearheaded the department's efforts to upgrade facilities both on and off the field of play. In the past 10 years, annual donations and corporate sponsorships are at their highest levels ever, making these and other improvements possible. In addition to the renaissance of facility upgrades, McCutcheon helped spearhead one of the most historic moves in UMass Athletics' history - the transition of the football program from the Football Championship Subdivision (formerly I-AA) to the Football Bowl Subdivision (I-A).John McCutcheon was named the sixth Director of Athletics at the University of Massachusetts on February 4, 2004. He oversees and directs all operations for UMass' 21 varsity sports and athletic sport services, as well as over 150 full-time and part-time staff.
In the Spring 2011 it was announced that the Minutemen would make the move up in division as a member of the Mid-American Conference after years of success at the FCS level. While renovations were to be made at McGuirk Stadium, the transition included the opportunity to play home games at Gillette Stadium - regarded as one of the premier NFL venues in the country. With those renovations complete, UMass will now return several games back to McGuirk Stadium while also playing some at Gillette Stadium.
"It is my goal to provide the direction, enthusiasm and leadership to make UMass athletics a program in which our students, alumni and supporters can take great pride," said McCutcheon.
In his tenure, UMass has made tremendous strides in upgrading and building new facilities. UMass student-athletes, alumni and fans have already enjoyed facility renovations during McCutcheon's tenure.
Those upgrades have been paired with some of the most memorable seasons across the board in the history of UMass Athletics. The 2006 football and men's lacrosse teams reaching NCAA championship games, the 2007 men's soccer run to the NCAA Final Four, and the men's basketball team returning to the NCAA Tournament in 2014 for the first time in 16 years are several of the major highlights enjoyed by UMass student-athletes over the past few years.
All told, under McCutcheon's watch, UMass has won 38 conference titles and reached 29 NCAA Tournaments.
In the classroom, UMass student-athletes have also had great success with 323 earning academic all-conference honors including 15 league student-athletes of the year. Nationally, UMass has produced 10 academic All-Americans highlighted by Zack Simmons being named the 2007 National Men's Soccer Academic All-American of the Year. Much of that success is due in part to an increased focus on the UMass Academic Support Staff. The addition of learning specialists, the enhanced tutoring program, and initiatives like the CHAMPS Cup have helped create an environment where student-athletes are able to enjoy the best possible collegiate experience.
UMass has also placed more of an emphasis in recent years to Student-Athlete Welfare in conjunction with the University. Programs have been put in place to help student-athletes deal with a myriad of situations they may face during the collegiate experience and beyond.
While helping the student-athletes be the best they can be, McCutcheon's work on facility enhancements continue to provide some of the best facilities to train and compete in the Northeast.
During the course of the 2013-14 academic year, two new facilities were officially opened, while a third is slated for completion in 2015.
In Fall 2013, a new boathouse located along the Connecticut River was officially opened for the women's crew team - the first permanent home facility for the program since it became a varsity sport in 1996.
In the Summer 2014, the new state-of-the-art $34.5 million Football Performance Center and Press Box at McGuirk Stadium were completed giving the Minutemen some of the best facilities in the Northeast. The training facility is a 55,000 square foot complex at the North end of McGuirk Stadium containing coaching offices, meeting rooms, a strength and conditioning area, and athletic training space along with the team's equipment and locker room. The press box is a 5,800 square feet working space designed to accommodate the needs of a range of media with a primary focus on television production accessibility.
Scheduled to come online in 2015 will be the Champions Center for men's and women's basketball giving both programs access to a dedicated practice and training facility. At $28.5 million, the Champions Center will be a 53,000 square foot facility that will become the new home for the UMass basketball programs' daily operations. Similar to the Football Training Complex, the Champions Center will provide a wealth of resources dedicated to both teams.
These new facilities fall in the footsteps of new Campus Recreation Center that was named the 2012 Facility of Merit Award Winner by Athletics Business Magazine. The $38 million, 120,000 square foot facility was opened in Fall 2009 and has quickly become one of the most popular destinations on campus for all students.
Construction on the new UMass Track and Field Complex was completed in October of 2005 - the first new facility built since Rudd Field in 2002. Already the complex is recognized as one of the best track facilities in the Northeast after hosting the Atlantic 10 Championships (2008, 2010, 2012) and earning the bid to host the New England Championships (2009, 2011).
Other facility enhancements include previous work done at McGuirk Stadium, the home of the women's lacrosse team in addition to football, which was updated to a new FieldTurf surface in the Summer of 2006 (upgraded again in Summer 2014) and a permanent lighting system was installed in the Summer of 2008. Garber Field, the home of the men's lacrosse and women's field hockey teams, was also resurfaced in 2006 and received new grandstands and a new press box in 2008. The UMass Softball Complex also received new grandstands in 2007-08 further enhancing the fan experience and making it one of the best facilities in New England. Additionally, two new video boards were installed in the Mullins Center, making the basketball and hockey game day experiences state of the art for fans and athletes alike.
Each of these enhancements along with UMass' success in recent years has made Amherst a popular host site for several conference, NIT and NCAA postseason events, such as football, men's basketball, ice hockey, men's lacrosse, women's lacrosse, men's soccer, track & field, softball, and field hockey.
Behind the scenes, Boyden Gymnasium continues to receive upgrades with the addition of the new center for athletic media relations, as well as the new academic center and computer lab.
McCutcheon is only the sixth permanent athletic director at UMass since 1911. The five previous directors were Curry Starr Hicks (1911-1948), Warren P. McGuirk (1948-1971), Frank McInerney (1972-1992), Bob Marcum, (1993-2002), and Ian McCaw (2002-2003).
McCutcheon came to UMass from California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, where he was the director of athletics for a 20-sport varsity program from 1992-2004. During his time at Cal Poly, McCutcheon coordinated the school's reclassification from Division II to Division I-AA and secured membership in the Big West Conference. Cal Poly teams won 15 conference championships during McCutcheon's tenure, with 11 teams and 45 individuals advancing to NCAA postseason competition.
Among his major accomplishments at Cal Poly was the development of an athletic facility master plan, which addressed current and projected intercollegiate athletic and recreation needs. The blueprint encompassed a 37-acre sports complex which featured six multipurpose fields; a 2,500-seat baseball stadium; a 2,000-seat softball stadium; the renovation of a gymnasium and track & field facilities; design for a new 12,000-seat football / soccer stadium; a new varsity weight training center; a new academic center; locker room renovations; the construction of a new tennis facility; the reconstruction of a pool facility; and the concept planning for a future convocation center.
Overall, the project included a $20 million capital campaign, which collected funds from private, corporate, state and student sources. McCutcheon also showed a commitment to both athletic and academic excellence during his time at Cal Poly. Under his tenure, student-athletes at Cal Poly consistently graduated at a rate higher than the general student population.
He also helped the athletic department more than double its staff to over 50 employees, including new student-athlete support departments. Athletic aid more than tripled under his leadership, as he actively worked with the Mustang Athletic Fund to raise funds for the improvement and construction of athletic facilities.
A member of the National Association of College Directors of Athletics since 1992, McCutcheon was also a member of the Collegiate Athletic Business Managers Association from 1978-1992. He has served on the NCAA Management Council, the NCAA Leadership Council, and the Big West Conference Executive Committee.
Prior to his time at Cal Poly, McCutcheon spent 12 years at Boston College. He served as associate athletic director for business and operations from June of 1991 to August of 1992; assistant athletic director from July of 1988 to June of 1991; and athletic business manager from July of 1980 to July of 1988. He was also assistant athletic manager at the University of Maine from July of 1977 to July of 1980.
McCutcheon earned his bachelor of science degree in health, physical education and recreation from Indiana University of Pennsylvania in 1975. He also earned a master of education degree from Ohio University in 1978. McCutcheon and his wife, Sue, have three children, Justin, Molly and Jack.
Last updated on July, 2014