The New Breed of Athletics Administrators

Photo by Marc Bryan-Brown
A panel discussion titled, "The New Breed of Athletic Administrators," looked at qualities that define new leaders in today’s college sports.

Joe Bailey, the managing director of the sports practice at RSR Partners and a former CEO of the Miami Dolphins, said universities are looking for effective leaders with certain qualities: passion, vision, being trustworthy and having an ego strong enough to hire the best people.

The New Breed of Athletic Administrators


Joe Bailey, RSR Partners
Greg Christopher, Bowling Green State
Steve Patterson, Arizona State
Tim Pernetti, Rutgers

Arizona State University AD Steve Patterson made sweeping changes when he joined the school nine months ago after a stint as president of Pro Sports Consulting and 25 years in pro sports with the Houston Rockets, Houston Texans, Portland Trail Blazers and Houston Aeros. "I had to accelerate the pace, accelerate accountability," said Patterson.

At ASU, Patterson put in place individual business plans for each team, something that had never been done at the school. "A long-term business plan, a strategy, helps you get to where you want to get to," said Patterson.  As a recommendation for young people looking to get into college sports, Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti suggested finding internships outside the realm. "Experience in the private sector is crucial," said Pernetti, who helped build the CBS College Sports Network almost a decade ago. "We're talking about businesses that can be over $150 million. It's a massive business."

Bowling Green State athletic director Greg Christopher clarified that being an athletic director is not just about running a business. "These jobs are large-scale human resources jobs," said Christopher.  "You have to be able to manage relationships and know how to handle a range of issues."

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