St. Thomas University’s (STU) Athletic Director Laura-Courtley Todd has been promoted to full-time Assistant Professor for Sports Management in STU’s Gus Machado College of Business. President David A. Armstrong has named Head Football Coach William “Bill” Rychel as Director of STU’s Athletic Department.
With more than 24 years of collegiate athletics experience, Courtley-Todd led the university’s Athletic Department for 20 years. Before taking the helm of Bobcat Athletics, she served in several roles, including Associate Athletics Director and Sports Information Director.
“We really appreciate the dedication, passion, and commitment that Laura [Courtley-Todd] has shown both St. Thomas University, and our students,” said President David A. Armstrong, J.D. “Under her leadership the STU Athletic Department reached new heights. We are fortunate to call her a member of our Bobcat family and know that her knowledge and expertise will help take our Sports Administration program to the next level.”
Since Courtley-Todd began her post in 1996, she grew the Athletics program from 9 sports programs to 24 varsity sports and several developmental team programs. Among her highest accomplishments were the launching of the university’s first football program in 2019, and the creation of women’s flag football as a new varsity sport in the NAIA, the first of its kind in collegiate sports. Courtley-Todd made her mark as an Athletic Director by showing a true commitment to providing practical experiences to students by using college athletics as a learning laboratory within sports administration, creating internships and practicums in-game/event management, sports information, and the creation of the Bobcat Sports Network.
“Thank you to President Armstrong and Provost Moreland for their confidence in me throughout my tenure as Athletic Director and for supporting me as I embark on this new chapter at STU,” said Laura Courtley-Todd. “I’m thrilled to be able to become a Sports Administration professor, and mentor our future sports leaders in the classroom.”
Rychel will continue to serve as a Head Football Coach, as well as Athletic Director. He came to STU with a wealth of coaching experience and is no stranger to building programs from the ground up.
“It is a pleasure to welcome Bill [Rychel] to my senior leadership team,” said Armstrong. “After years working together, I know Bill’s acumen, leadership, and expertise will help us continue to grow and establish STU Athletics on a national scale.”
Prior to STU, Rychel was the Offensive Coordinator at Savannah State University (GA.) for three seasons (2016-18) and guided the program to unprecedented levels. While at OC, Rychel led the Tigers to the most FCS wins in school history and the most wins in a two-year period for the program. Additionally, the student-athletes succeeded in the classroom as well, as the team finished with the highest GPA in school history.
Before Savannah State University, Rychel worked on the staff at Notre Dame College (NDC) 2012-2015 where he helped establish the football program. Rychel was named as the Head Coach of Notre Dame College in 2015.
The transition to Athletics Director is a natural progression for Rychel, who said, “I appreciate the help and guidance of Laura [Courtley-Todd] and the support she has given the football team and the athletics department as a whole. I am thankful for the trust President Armstrong has put in me; I look forward to continuing the growth of our athletics department, as we continue to compete for championships while serving our university and student-athletes.”
In the inaugural season and his first year at STU, Rychel guided the Bobcats to four wins, with five players earning Mid-South Conference recognition. Rychel built the football program in less than three months, signing over 150 student-athletes in the inaugural recruiting class. Rychel resides in Pembroke Pines and is married to Stephanie. The couple have four children: Isabella, Raegan, Maggie, and Isaiah.
Over the past two years, STU has launched football and will be adding wrestling, swimming, and diving, in the Fall of 2020, as well as Women’s Flag Football in Spring 2021.