Former AD and veteran college athletics administrator to spearhead fundraising efforts for the Ragin’ Cajuns
LAFAYETTE - The Ragin' Cajuns Athletic Foundation (RCAF), the official fundraising arm of the Louisiana Ragin' Cajuns, is pleased to welcome Lee De León to the role of Executive Director of RCAF, Deputy Director of Athletics, as announced by University Advancement, the RCAF Board of Directors and the Department of Athletics on Friday. The RCAF provides financial support for student-athletes across the department's 16 sport programs. De León (pronounced DAY LEE ON), who starts officially Tuesday, July 16, will work in collaboration with University Advancement, the RCAF Board of Directors and the Department of Athletics in providing leadership and guidance to the RCAF's investment cultivation, major gift planning, premium seating and capital campaign coordination, as well as various outreach efforts to the Ragin' Cajuns fan base. De León will also serve as a member of the athletic department's executive and senior leadership teams. "Through an exhaustive process, we interviewed several highly recommended and extremely qualified candidates," RCAF Executive Committee Chairman Bryan Hanks said. "Lee was able to separate himself and make it clear that he was the person, not only that our University Foundation needed, but that athletics and the entire campus needed, to help us transition our athletics program and our university to the next level." On Wednesday, July 17, De León will be introduced at introductory press conference, which will take place at 10 a.m. in the auditorium located inside the Donald and Janice Mosing Student-Athlete Performance Center. Ragin' Cajuns fans and the public are invited to attend. Formerly the athletics director at Abilene Christian from 2014-18, De León's career in college athletics features notable stops at Purdue (2018-19), New Mexico (2011-2014) and Arizona (2008-11). At the time of his appointment at ACU, De León was the youngest Division I athletics director in the country. Under De León's watch, Abilene Christian's annual revenue grew by 81 percent, which allowed for a nearly 40 percent increase in the organization's operating budget. Along with multi-year contracts with Nike, IMG and Vivature, as well as the creation of the Wildcat Club, the official fundraising organization of ACU Athletics, made the tremendous growth possible. In its initial year, the Wildcat Club raised more than $6.25 million through annual fund, capital gifts, endowments and sport-specific donations. "I am very excited to have Lee, Lacey and the boys join the Ragin' Cajuns family," Director of Athletics Bryan Maggard said. "Lee is a proven fundraiser with immense experience in college athletics. I know he will hit the ground running and continue the success of the RCAF." Most recently, De León served as executive senior associate athletics director/assistant vice president for development at Purdue, where he managed day-to-day operations of the John Purdue Club, which is responsible for the fundraising efforts for the Boilermakers' 500 student-athletes. "My family and I are thrilled to join the Ragin' Cajuns family," De León said. "Being from Houston, I've always had a deep appreciation for the passion and loyalty of the Louisiana fan base. I'm really excited to get there and begin building relationships in the Lafayette community, and throughout Acadiana. I'm so thankful for this incredible opportunity from the RCAF Executive Committee, search committee chairman Bryan Hanks, associate vice president Lisa Capone and Director of Athletics Bryan Maggard." From 2011 to 2014, De León was the associate director of athletics for development at New Mexico. He also served as the executive director of the Lobo Club, UNM's official fundraising organization for athletics that raises funds for all Lobo teams, programs and student-athletes. Previously, De León worked three years (2008-11) at Arizona, first as the director of annual giving before earning a promotion to assistant athletics director for major gifts and annual giving. Before his time at New Mexico and Arizona, De León spent three years (2005-08) at Houston as assistant director of marketing and director of marketing. De León began his career in college athletics at LSU in 2005 as a marketing assistant. A native of Houston, De León earned a Bachelor's degree in marketing from the University of Notre Dame in 2004 and a Master's degree in sport management from Texas A&M University in 2005. He and his wife, Lacey, have two sons, Landon (7) and Luke (4). Follow the Ragin' Cajuns on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram (@RaginCajuns) to stay up-to-date on all within Louisiana Athletics.