When Norwood Teague was hired as Director of Athletics at Virginia Commonwealth University in July of 2006 by then-President Dr. Eugene Trani, it was with the expectation that Teague would propel the Rams to new heights.
Five years into his appointment, Teague’s record speaks for itself. Heeding Trani’s call, Teague has overseen continued success in the classroom and on the playing field, as well as stunning growth in gifts to VCU’s annual and capital funds. Moreover, during his tenure, the Ram brand has catapulted into one with national reach.
Known as a visionary leader on many fronts, Teague initiated an extraordinary campaign in the Fall of 2011 to construct a 10 million dollar practice facility. This will not only serve men’s and women’s basketball, both VCU’s other sports as well.
This facility is part of an ambitious master facility plan that Teague and his senior staff devised in 2011. This plan institutes a facility program to align athletic design and use with new services. Moreover, it establishes priorities for upgrades or options for existing facilities, proposes a strategic plan for renovations and identify where and when further facilities may be needed in the future.
Under Teague’s watch, VCU student-athletes have excelled at an impressive rate in the classroom. This past year, the average GPA for all student athletes was 3.0. Moreover, last year’s Graduation Success Rate was the highest every attained by athletics.
On the fundraising side, Teague has not disappointed Trani or the Board of Trustees, who knew the athletic director’s ability to connect with donors and fans would be his strength.
In October of 2011, Teague led a major project in the Stuart C. Seigel Center that featured club seats, suites, and office remodeling for both men’s and women’s basketball. This project was privately funded with a price tag of 4 million, and transformed the look and feel of the arena.
Since Teague’s arrival, VCU athletic annual fund has increased more than 119 percent, with annual average increases of more than 20 percent. In the fall of ‘09, Teague instituted the “Shoot for 1,000” campaign, a program that dramatically grew the donor base of the Ram Athletic Fund. By year’s end, membership eclipsed 1,300 members, a 163 percent increase since his arrival in 2006.
Furthermore, marketing and promotional initiatives developed under Teague led VCU to an all-time Verizon Wireless Arena attendance records, and season ticket revenue has doubled since his arrival.
While known nationally prior to his hiring at VCU as one of the nation’s most innovative external administrators, Teague has exhibited talents far beyond the reach of marketing. Those skills have helped the Rams enjoy enormous success on the playing fields since his arrival in Richmond.
Since taking over the department, Teague has helped direct the VCU Men’s Basketball program in to one that has created a national reputation. VCU’s two men’s basketball coaches under Teague’s watch, Anthony Grant and Shaka Smart, have proven themselves as some of the top young talents in the college game.
In his first season, Grant won the 2007 Colonial Athletic Association Championship and beat Duke in the first round of the NCAA tournament. His 2007-08 team finished first in the CAA’s regular season standings and again qualified for postseason play. Grant’s final VCU team won the CAA regular season and tournament titles in 2009 and advanced to the NCAA Tournament, where the Rams lost by one point to 11-time national champion UCLA in the first round.
Following the departure of Anthony Grant, Teague called on a familiar model and hired University of Florida Assistant Shaka Smart. In his first season, Smart’s squad won 27 games and captured the College Basketball Invitational by sweeping the St. Louis Billikens in two games.
In his second season, Smart led the Rams to perhaps the greatest Cinderella run in the history of the NCAA Tournament. VCU began this historic journey in the new “First Four”, defeating USC out of the PAC-12. The unforgettable run continued with wins over national powerhouses Georgetown and Purdue in Chicago. It was then on to San Antonio where VCU took down Florida State in overtime and then one of the most winningest programs in recent history, Kansas, fell victim to Smart and the Rams, earning VCU's first-ever berth into the Final Four.
Post the 2011 season, Teague proved his talent in retaining a talented coach as he signed Smart to an eight-year contract, warding off basketball programs from across the country.
Teague has also watched NBA teams select two Rams in the first round of the NBA Draft. In 2009, Eric Maynor became VCU’s first NBA First Round selection when the Utah Jazz picked him 20th overall. The Milwaukee Bucks followed suit in 2010 when they tapped Larry Sanders with the No. 15 overall pick.
What They're Saying
“I have admired the job Norwood has done at VCU. The guy is a terrific AD, and his results are obvious. He has hired ultra successful coaches, not only with basketball, but other sports as well. He continue to raise the bar across the board at VCU.”
The VCU women’s basketball team has also achieved an unprecedented level of success with Teague at the A.D.’s desk. The program set a school record with 26 victories in 2007-08 and reached CAA Tournament Championship Game for the first time. Their efforts netted the Rams the second second postseason bid in program history. In 2009, Coach Beth Cunningham’s squad qualified for the NCAA Tournament for the first time in school history and earned the No. 10 seed in the East Region. VCU eventually dropped a narrow decision to host and No. 7 seed Rutgers.
Olympic sports have continued a surge under Teague as well. VCU’s tennis programs, led by veteran Coach Paul Kostin, have won three CAA Championships and collected seven NCAA Tournament bids during Teague’s four years. Additionally, the Rams’ golf team reached the NCAA Regionals in 2009 and 2010. VCU also captured the 2009 CAA Championship under Matt Ball, the conference’s Coach of the Year in 2008 and 2009.
VCU’s baseball team won the 2007 and 2010 CAA Championships to earn a NCAA Tournament bids. The Rams’ women’s soccer team made the 2007 CAA final under the direction of Co-Head Coaches Tim Sahaydak and Tiffany Roberts Sahaydak – Teague’s first head coaching hires. In 2011, the Sahaydak’s were named CAA Coaches of the year. Dave Giffard ,who Teague hired in December of 2009 from NCAA runner-up, Akron, recently signed one of the top recruiting classes in school history. Multiple men’s and women’s track athletes have made NCAA regional appearances under Teague’s watch. In the spring of 2010, Teague named Jon Riley the Head Track Coach for both the men’s and women’s programs. In 2007, Teague hired Riley to head the women’s team. In two short years he has transformed this program and has it positioned as one of the best in the CAA.
What They're Saying
“Norwood's enthusiasm and work ethic is what makes him so special. Because of that, I look for him to accomplish great things for VCU. He has an incredibly bright future."
In the fall of 2008, Teague announced an ambitious strategic plan for athletics that included initiatives in five areas; academic success, competitive goals, marketing and season ticket initiatives, and fundraising benchmarks. Such goals reflect Teague’s aggressive vision for VCU Athletics. As of 2010, VCU Athletics is exceeding these goals, notably in fundraising, where the financial goals of 2013 could remarkably be exceeded by 50 percent in 2011.
In addition to the recent projects, Teague has been at the forefront of numerous facility improvements and construction projects during his tenure. Immediately upon his arrival at VCU, Teague launched a Basketball Enhancement Fund project. This first phase included the renovation of the men’s and women’s basketball corridor, as well as significant upgrades to the basketball lounge, locker room and hallway areas, and a state of the art video suite in the lower level of the Siegel Center.This project also included solidifying Franklin Street Gym as a men’s basketball practice facility, followed by significant upgrades.
In 2010, Teague also led the renovation and build out of the east end of the Siegel Center. This vital project provided a state-of-the-art academic advising center, which features 5,000 square feet of study and tutoring areas, a computer lab and offices for advisors. Additionally, it clears space for a practice gymnasium and a strength and conditioning facility that triples the size of VCU’s previous space.
Teague’s construction initiatives extend outside the basketball arena. In August of 2010, VCU will complete a state-of-the-art indoor golf facility at the First Tee Complex, blocks away from the VCU campus. Teague successfully negotiated with the City of Richmond to reserve space for the project, and led efforts to fund the facility 100% through VCU private donors. This indoor golf center will greatly support a VCU golf program that is fast becoming one of national significance.
What They're Saying
“I have known Norwood since our days working together at UVa. He did a fantastic job back then for the football program, and his work with the basketball program at VCU has drawn national recognition. I know he will continue to do terrific things in his career.”
Outside his office doors, Teague is extremely active in many areas of college and local athletics. Teague currently serves as a member of the NCAA Division I Men’s Golf Committee. He also serves on the Board of Directors for the Metropolitan Richmond Sports Backers.
During 1998-99, Teague headed up new programs for Vilcom Sports and The Tar Heel Sports Network at the University of North Carolina.
At the University of Virginia Athletic Department from 1993-98, Teague worked as Director of Marketing, and then served as the Director of Operations for the Cavaliers’ men’s basketball program under Jeff Jones. Teague is a native of Raleigh, N.C. He graduated from the University of North Carolina in 1988 with a degree in political science. In 1992, Teague earned a master’s degree in sports administration from Ohio University.