McPhail Named Athletic Director

BANNER ELK, N.C. - Lees-McRae College has announced Craig McPhail, former Assistant Athletic Director, has been named Director of Athletics.


"The future is bright for Lees-McRae athletics," former Athletic Director Ried Estus said. "Craig has been preparing himself professionally for this opportunity from the day he became our Assistant Athletic Director seven years ago. While I'm confident our department has advanced over the last fifteen years, I can leave here with a sense of accomplishment, and I am convinced Craig has the skill set to take the department to the next level".

McPhail has been on the Lees-McRae athletic staff since 1998. He has served the college in the positions of Sports Information Director, men's and women's cross country Coach, track and field coach and Assistant Athletic Director.

"I am excited about this new challenge in my career and thankful for all of those who believed enough in me to give me this opportunity," said McPhail. "Working with these coaches, faculty, staff and community will be extremely gratifying as we work together to continue to make Lees-McRae a very special place."

While Assistant Athletic Director, McPhail worked with community service projects, managed the awards banquets, handled the publicity and marketing of the athletic department and monitored the student-athlete experience at Lees-McRae. He has served on several committees within the college for retention, judicial review, graduation and community service.

He has also represented the college as a member of CoSIDA , United States Cross Country/Track Coaches Association, USA Track and Field, Conference Carolinas Chair for both cross country and track and field and recently finished his appointment as Chair of the NCAA Division II Cross Country/Track and Field Committee.

His teams have had great success in and out of the classroom with 13 conference championships in men's and women's cross country and track and field. He has coached 73 All-Conference student-athletes, 31 of those gaining All-Region honors, while watching them receive Academic All-America honors for the past decade. McPhail's peers have voted him Conference Coach of the Year 11 times, and he has also garnered Regional Coach of the Year three times. He has also guided 38 Lees-McRae student-athletes to NCAA Division II National Championships.

McPhail's time in the community is well served as he has helped with the local Young Life organization, helped Special Olympics with their torch run, as a member of the Banner Elk Christian Fellowship Church, Lees-McRae Mountain Day athletic coordinator, Wooly Worm Road Race Organizer, Turkey Trot Organizer, and as a caddy at Diamond Creek Golf Club.

Head men's basketball coach Scott Polsgrove will become Assistant Athletic Director for Internal Affairs with responsibilities of compliance, and mentoring of coaches and Head men's soccer coach Chris Whalley will become Assistant Athletic Director for External Affairs with regards to community service and community relations.

Pictured: Craig McPhail