Matt Jones is the online sports director for the Arkansas Democrat-Gazette. A double graduate of the University of Arkansas, he is a member of the Football Writers Association of America and National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association, and voter for the Biletnikoff Award.
Rochelle picked to lead Razorback Foundation
Sean Rochelle (left), pictured in this 2009 file photo with former Arkansas basketball coach John Pelphrey, has worked with the Razorback Foundation since 2008.
FAYETTEVILLE The Razorback Foundation's third executive director in less than seven months has been promoted from within.
Sean Rochelle was tabbed to the position on Friday, two days after his predecessor Chris Wyrick was named the University of Arkansas' vice chancellor for advancement. Wyrick had spent only five months in the position after replacing Harold Horton, who retired last July.
“I have been privileged to work day to day with Razorback Foundation members and donors to our program and have witnessed the tremendous difference their support is making in the lives of Razorback student-athletes," Rochelle said. "I am deeply appreciative of the support and confidence of the Razorback Foundation Board in naming me to this important position."
Rochelle, a 45-year-old Elkins native, has been with the foundation — a private fundraising arm for Razorbacks athletics — since 2008. He previously served as the institution's senior associate director.
The Razorback Foundation has experienced a sharp increase in membership in recent years, thanks in large part to Razorback Seat Value Plan (or R.S.V.P.), a seating equity plan targeted at football season ticket holders. At part of R.S.V.P., the foundation grew by 2,151 members and raised $32 million for athletics in 2010-11.
“Sean has been instrumental in the recent success of the Razorback Foundation including helping grow membership and annual fund support to record levels," said foundation chairman Ken Mourton. "His familiarity with our state and program combined with his extensive experience within intercollegiate athletics will provide the Razorback Foundation the experienced leadership it needs to continue to move progressively forward.”
In 2011-12, the foundation reported just under 13,000 members with an annual pledge fund of $20 million. It is currently in the middle of a large capital campaign intended to fund an athletics master plan valued at more $320 million over a 30-year span.
“Sean will provide our Foundation a passionate leader who possesses the vision necessary to continue the efforts to modernize and grow our fund raising efforts," UA athletics director Jeff Long said. "He will play a pivotal role in helping lead our efforts to secure funding for facility projects developed from our athletic facilities master plan, including the student-athlete success center, the basketball practice facility and the baseball and track indoor training facility."
A former all-conference quarterback at Arkansas-Monticello, Rochelle earned his doctorate from the UA in 1999. He had previously served as a football graduate assistant coach for Ken Hatfield at Arkansas and Clemson.