After 28 years at the helm of Lee University Athletics, Larry Carpenter has announced his retirement as Athletic Director, effective June 30. He will remain with the Athletic Department serving as Special Assistant to the Athletic Director. Lee Director of Golf and National Champion winning Head Coach, John Maupin, has been named the new Athletic Director, effective July 1.
Maupin came to Lee in 2008 after a decorated playing career with Berry College from 2003-2007. He served as a team captain and was named to the Dean's List in 2007.
Maupin was selected to multiple All-Conference and All-Region teams and guided the Vikings to three National Tournament appearances.
As a coach, Maupin has led his Flames and Lady Flames to a dominating run of success over his 15 years as head coach. After several conference titles and national tournament appearances in the NAIA, Maupin's teams have continued their run of excellence in the NCAA and the Gulf South Conference. The Lady Flames have won three GSC titles and made two National Championship appearances while the Flames capped off an amazing 2022 postseason run by winning the NCAA DII National Championship, the first team title in any sport for Lee since joining the NCAA. The Flames won the South Region title in 2021 and are the only program to make three straight appearances in NCAA National Championship Match Play, after a quarterfinal berth this past season.
"When a leader the caliber of Larry Carpenter steps away, we are blessed to have someone like Coach John Maupin to step in as the next Athletic Director of Lee University," said Lee University President, Dr. Mark Walker. "Coach Maupinhas already had a distinguished career at Lee, establishing himself as a true servant leader who is dedicated to the spiritual, academic, athletic, and leadership development of our student athletes. He is highly respected by his peers inside and outside of Lee. We welcome Coach Maupin as our new athletic director, and we have full confidence that he will continue to build the tradition of excellence that is Lee University Athletics."
Maupin expressed his gratitude to Dr. Walker and his immense respect for Coach Carpenter, "I want to thank Dr. Walker for the opportunity to lead the Lee University Athletic Department. Lee University is truly home for me and my family, and over the last 15 years this university and its mission have captured our hearts. I can't wait to get started! On a personal note, it is humbling for me to take over for Larry Carpenter. He took a chance on me as a young coach 15 years ago, and since that time I have had a front row seat to watch him lead this department with integrity and wisdom every day, culminating in one of the best NCAA DII athletic departments in the country. He has been a great leader, friend, and mentor to me, and I will forever be grateful. I certainly can't replace him, but I will do everything I can to build on the foundation he has laid."
Maupin went on to praise the staff and coaches that he will now lead, "In taking this position, I instantly think about the staff members and coaches that I will have the opportunity to go to work for every day. These are people that have a true commitment to Lee University and our culture; a commitment to excellence and a commitment to the Lord in all that we do. I don't think there is a person on this staff that I haven't learned from during my time here. I am looking forward to coming alongside them and supporting them in any way that I can."
John and his wife Jayne have three children Addie 8, Jackson 6, and Annie 3. Jayne was a successful collegiate golfer at Berry College. She is currently an Instructional Coach at Ocoee Middle School.
"I have a tremendous respect for the history of Lee University Athletics. It has been and is a place for high level student-athletes to thrive both, academically and athletically. I don't want that to ever change," added Maupin. "Our alumni and current-student athletes have created something to truly be proud of, and building upon that will be a constant motivator for me. There is a bright future ahead for Lee Athletics. Go Flames!"
Carpenter was a 1977 graduate of Lee College and served as the Flames' assistant basketball coach from 1976-1992. He was named head coach of the men's basketball program in 1993 and served in that capacity until 1999, directing the Flames to the NCCAA National title in 1994. From 1995 until 1999, he served as head men's basketball coach and Athletic Director. Carpenter resigned his coaching duties in 1999 and became Lee's first full-time Athletic Director.
Carpenter led the Flames and Lady Flames through unprecedented success in the NAIA in the 2000's before helping to lead the transition to NCAA Division II in 2013. This past season the Flames completed a historic year winning their third consecutive GSC All Sports Trophy, GSC Men's Trophy and GSC Women's Trophy. Lee also earned its highest Learfield/IMG Directors' Cup finish, at No. 11 out of 320 NCAA D2 schools after the 2021-22 season. The exclamation point of the 2021-22 year was when the men's golf team won the school's first ever NCAA D2 National Championship.
Carpenter was named NACDA AD of the Year in the NAIA Southeast Region in 1999-2000 and 2008-2009. He was also named TranSouth AD of the Year in 2000-2001 and 2001-2002 and Region XI AD of the Year in 2001-2002. The accolades continued in 2007-2008 as he was named SSAC AD of the Year in Region XIII and NAIA National Athletic Director of the Year.
"Evidenced by his many accomplishments, Larry Carpenter has served Lee University with great distinction as a student athlete, coach, and administrator. In his 28-year career at Lee as AD, Coach Carpenter has been an exceptional leader and true ambassador for the university, which will serve him well as Special Assistant to the Athletic Director. We're fortunate and thankful to have him remaining with the athletic program in this new role," said Walker.
As a player, Carpenter was a two-time NCCAA All-American and twice named as an NAIA District 24 First Team Selection. He is a member of the 1973 NCCAA National Championship team, a member of the Lee Hall of Fame, a member of the greater Chattanooga Sports Hall of Fame and his jersey, No. 24 was retired in 1976. In 2019, the new baseball stadium at Olympic Field was officially given its name of Larry Carpenter Stadium at Olympic Field. He was the first NCCAA All-American at Lee, has his jersey hanging in the rafters at Walker Arena and is a member of Lee's Athletic Hall of Fame.
"I am excited to have Coach Maupin step into the role of AD. He has proven himself to be a successful leader guiding the men's golf team to a National Championship and will no doubt have the same success as the head of athletics," noted Carpenter. "He has gained the respect of our staff and coaches, so the transition should be a seamless one for the department. The future looks bright with Coach Maupin leading the way.
"I would like to thank Dr. Conn for taking a chance on me 28 years ago and for his encouragement throughout the years. He understood the significance of athletics at Lee and provided the support needed for us to be successful. He also played a vital role in our move to D2. I would also like to thank Dr. Walker for his leadership the past few years. He is continuing to find ways to better our department and we would not be where we are without his backing. I would like to thank the wonderful people I've been blessed to work with over the years and for all the friends of Lee Athletics who have supported us throughout the years.
Carpenter concluded, "Some of my greatest joys that I've had as Athletic Director has been interacting with the student athletes and watching them perform. They are an amazing group of young men and women who excel at their sport while representing Lee with class. I am proud of their effort in the classroom and their growth that I've observed outside of their sport."