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Leon Costello
Position: Deputy Director of Athletics
Hometown: Fairbank, Iowa
Alma Mater: Loras College
Graduating Year: 1998
Phone: (605) 688-6294
Email: Leon.Costello@sdstate.edu
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Costello Photos
Leon Costello brought his comprehensive background in athletic marketing and administration from the University of Northern Iowa to the South Dakota State athletic staff in March 2010 as the senior associate athletic director for external affairs. He was promoted to Deputy Director of Athletics in July 2014.
   In his role as a deputy director, Costello oversees the day-to-day operations of the athletic department and directs the implementation of the five-year athletic department strategic plan. To date, he worked on all facets of the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex and Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium; including planning, design, fundraising and premium seating sales.
    Costello also manages the athletic marketing, broadcast services, development, sports information and ticket operations in the athletic department, and serves as the department liaison for Under Armour and Jackrabbit Sports Properties, a division of Learfield Sports. Additionally, he is the sport supervisor for the Jackrabbits volleyball, men’s basketball and wrestling teams.
    In his time at SDSU, Costello led the development and implementation of plans that resulted in record revenues, with significant increases in ticket sales, annual giving and sponsorships. On the fundraising front, he assisted in raising more than $57 million since 2012 for capital projects, including both the Sanford-Jackrabbit Athletic Complex, which opened in fall 2014, and for Dana J. Dykhouse Stadium, which opens in fall 2016.
    Costello also played a lead role in the restructuring of the Jackrabbit Athletic Scholarship Auction, which resulted in an increase of more than 500 percent of total dollars raised and negotiated the department’s 10-year, multimillion dollar agreement with Learfield Sports.
   Before joining the Jackrabbits, Costello worked in a variety of roles for the Northern Iowa Athletic Department in his eight years on staff. From July 2008 until the end of his tenure at UNI, he served as the associate athletic director for external relations and from 2005-08, Costello served as the assistant athletic director for marketing and promotions.
     A native of Fairbank, Iowa, Costello graduated from Loras College with a bachelor’s degree in physical education and sport science in 1998. While at Loras, he also played for the Duhawk men’s basketball team.
   Costello completed his master’s degree from Western Illinois University in sport management in 2002 and earned a promotion to director of athletic marketing and promotions in January 2003.
   Leon and his wife, Heather, live in Brookings with their daughter, Cailin, and sons, Michael and Griffin.