Aggies’ Athletic Director John Hartwell leaving Utah State

LOGAN – Per reports from multiple outlets, Utah State University Vice President and Athletic Director John Hartwell has resigned his position. ESPN’s Pete Thamel broke the news Tuesday morning, saying Hartwell resigned late Monday.

In Thamel’s tweet breaking the news, Hartwell is said to be resigning for family reasons. Brett McMurphy, reporting for Action Network, reported Hartwell is moving his family to Arkansas. Hartwell is originally from the southern United States, having graduated from high school in Alabama and playing basketball at The Citadel in South Carolina.

Short quotations from both tweets cite Hartwell as saying “it’s time to put our family first” even though they “had a great run at Utah State.”

Hartwell was hired to be USU’s athletic director in 2015 following a three-year tenure as the AD at Troy. He had notable success with the Aggies, who won seven regular season Mountain West championships, a Mountain Rim Gymnastics title and four postseason titles. He hired many of the athletic department’s most successful coaches, including Blake Anderson, Manny Martins and Rob Neilson. Several now-former USU head coaches Hartwell hired, such as Craig Smith and Amy Smith, were also highly successful in Logan.

There were strong rumors in previous weeks about the possibility of Hartwell taking the Auburn athletic director job after Allen Greene stepped down from that role. Auburn has reportedly hired Mississippi State’s AD, John Cohen, to fill that role despite Hartwell’s name being listed as one of the lead candidates.


Utah State University released a statement early in the afternoon regarding the news. The statement began with a quote from university president Noelle Cockett regarding the school’s progress on its culture.

“We have made great progress at USU building a positive and supportive culture throughout the university, including within USU Athletics, and we will stay focused on that goal,” Cockett said in the statement. “This change in leadership will continue the momentum we have already built.”

Cockett announced that an interim athletic director will be named “soon” and that a national search for a replacement “will begin imminently.”

“In this search, we will be looking for an experienced leader who believes in collaboration with university leadership to advance the mission and vision of the institution through athletics and will continue to actively engage in USU’s work to improve the campus culture,” Cockett said.

The statement did not confirm the nature of Hartwell’s departure, nor did it even specifically confirm that he left, only inferring his departure by announcing its intentions to name an interim AD and begin the national search for a new one.

John Hartwell released a statement of his own Tuesday first expressing how much he loved working at Utah State and citing the numerous accomplishments the athletic department achieved while he was there.

“As I leave Utah State, I want you to know I have the highest regard for the student athletes, coaches, staff, student body, the Cache Valley community, and all of Aggie Nation,” Hartwell said in the statement. “There is an Aggie team spirit that permeates every part of Logan. It’s unlike any place I’ve seen. After 25 years in the business, my wife and I have agreed that our family, including Heather’s aging parents in Arkansas, need to be our number one priority. We need to be there for them and for our beautiful daughters. This is the time. So, we leave with wonderful memories and hearts of gratitude. Until we meet again, Thank You all. Thank you for this remarkable chapter of our lives. Thank you for all of the unforgettable experiences. And Go Aggies!”

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  • KA November 1, 2022 at 9:31 am Reply

    Isn’t he being sued by a former USU football player who dared to take him to task for covering up sexual assault allegations?

  • Jimmy November 1, 2022 at 12:56 pm Reply

    I’m sure family reasons had something to do with this, but USU’s athletics have now been involved in multiple public scandals under Hartwell. It’s time for new leadership.

  • Kramer November 1, 2022 at 4:19 pm Reply

    Correct me if I’m wrong but isn’t the school and football coach being sued right now by a former player for retaliation?…impeccable timing john

  • Bob November 2, 2022 at 1:20 pm Reply

    I for one really appreciate everything that he did for USU.

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