The National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD) this week will posthumously honor Lynn Eilefson, a California State University, Fresno development director and a founding father of Bulldog Stadium.
Eilefson, who died last week following an illness, will receive the association’s first Lifetime Achievement Award, longtime friend Dr. Elmer “Bud” Richter announced last Wednesday during a eulogy he delivered at funeral services held at Trinity Lutheran Church in Fresno.
Eilefson, who once served as executive director of the Bulldog Foundation, is credited with the successful drive that built Bulldog Stadium in the 1970s and more recently for garnering support for the university’s Benjamin and Marion Kremen School of Education and Human Development until he retired in August.
NAADD will present the award during June 10 as part of the National Association Collegiate Directors of Athletics convention June 8-10 in Salt Lake City, Utah. More than 1,200 athletics administrators annually attend the NACDA Convention.
NAADD is the first organization of its kind to provide educational and networking opportunities, enhancement of acceptable operating standards and ethics, and establishment of the overall prestige and understanding of the profession of athletics development and fund raising.
Now in its 36th year, NACDA serves as the professional and educational association for more than 6,100 college athletics directors, associates, assistants and conference commissioners at more than 1,600 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico.
Additionally, NACDA operates the Sears Directors’ Cup program, which honors the all-sports champion in each of the NCAA Divisions — I, II and III — and the NAIA, for a total of four trophies.
NAADD established its Lifetime Achievement Award for the first time this year, making Eilefson its inaugural recipient.
A part-time consultant for Fresno State, Eilefson retired last August from the institution after serving as director of development for the School of Education and Human Development for five years. During his tenure, he spearheaded a successful $33.3 million capital campaign to fund the new Education Building and student scholarships.
Eilefson has been involved with athletics administration since 1960 and has captained numerous cutting-edge, fund-raising activities.
His career began successfully with a 10-year stint at Montana State University. He is credited with implementing the “Team Concept” of athletics fund raising prior to moving to Lawrence University (Wis.), a two-year stop before first joining Fresno State in 1972. Eilefson became the first full-time executive director of the Bulldog Foundation, building the fund-raising organization into one of the most successful in the country.
A year later, he became the co-founder and co-coordinator of the National Conference for Athletic Fund Raising.
In 1978, Eilefson was appointed the administrative coordinator of the Bulldog Stadium Fund Drive, an effort that netted more than $7.8 million. The drive for the 30,000-seat, on-campus stadium was the largest for private funds in central California at the time.
His career also included stops at UCLA and the University of Miami. Additionally, he was director of athletics at California State University, Fullerton and San Jose State University.
He returned to Fresno in 1986 to serve as director of development for Saint Agnes Medical Center for two years and also worked for Fresno Bank of Commerce and Fresno Christian Schools
A native of Billings, Montana, Eilefson graduated in 1957 from the University of Montana with degrees in business administration and law.
He is survived by his wife Bev, and children Scott and wife Gloria; Laurie Price; Kirk and wife Stacy; Diana and husband Marvin Flikkema; and Sheri and husband Gerry Fjeld.
Remembrances may be sent to California State University, Fresno, School of Education, 5005 N. Maple, ED-1, Fresno, CA 93740, or the Bulldog Foundation, 1510 E. Shaw, Suite 101, Fresno, CA 93710.