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Volume 23 No. 23

Power Players

Leaders behind the scenes

The billions of dollars that flow annually through college athletics are generated by media deals and ticket sales, donations and merchandise sales.

Behind the scenes, an entire ecosystem of executives works mostly or entirely in the college space, creating revenue-producing tailgates, running championship events and building brands through college sponsorships. They are high-achieving entrepreneurs, media executives and deputy athletic directors who are poised to be the next generation of ADs.

The executives on this list of SBJ’s college Power Players might not be quoted in a press release, but each of them drives the business of college sports on a daily basis, producing revenue that supports athletic departments and an array of varsity sports.

The 63 individuals, representing 50 groups, have distinguished themselves as some of the best thinkers, problem-solvers and dealmakers in college sports and they will play a distinctly important role in its future.

Stories by staff writer Michael Smith

Media

Devron Edwards CBS Sports
Katy Mollica Turner Sports

Rosalyn Durant ESPN
Nick Dawson ESPN
Clint Overby ESPN Events
Sean Hanrahan Disney Advertising Sales
Mike Mulvihill Fox Sports
Derek Crocker Fox Sports
Kyle Sherman Home Team Sports / Fox Sports College Properties
Francois McGillicuddy Big Ten Network

Brands

Mark Aikman Mercedes-Benz
Byron Daub Capital One
Seth Freeman Buffalo Wild Wings
John Mount Coca-Cola
John Althoff State Farm

Agencies

Paul Archey JMI Sports
Chris Bevilacqua Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures
Todd Fischer GMR Marketing
Bo Heiner Octagon
Dean Jordan Wasserman
Mike Palisi Van Wagner
Drew Russell Intersport
Michael Schreck CSMG
Dan Shell Oak View Group
Vince Thompson Melt
Andy Rawlings Learfield IMG College
Cory Moss Collegiate Licensing Company
Kim Damron Paciolan
Jeff Rubin Sidearm Sports

Alan Gold Evolution Media Capital
Nick Khan CAA Sports
Karen Brodkin Endeavor
Hillary Mandel IMG Media

On Campus

Omar Banks Campbell University
Jason Butikofer Purdue University
Travis Goff Northwestern University
Arthur Johnson University of Texas
Nina King Duke University
Scott Kull University of Utah
Candice Lee Vanderbilt University
Graham Neff Clemson University
Heather Owen Stanford University
Rob Rademacher University of Michigan
Diana Sabau Ohio State University
Laird Veatch University of Florida

Off Campus

Charlie Hussey Southeastern Conference
JoAn Scott NCAA
Andrea Williams College Football Playoff

Partners

Dave Brown Gridiron
Parkey Duffey Tailgate Guys
Dan Gale Jr. Leona Marketing Group
David Herman Twitter
Rex Hough Dyehard Fan Supply
Jed Hughes Korn Ferry
Jill Krimmel StubHub
Nick Marquez Facebook
Tim Martin Ticketmaster
Daniel Parker Parker Executive Search
Len Perna Turnkey Sports & Entertainment
Todd Turner Collegiate Sports Associates
Jeff Schemmel College Sports Solutions
Derek Eiler Fanatics
Chris Prindiville Fanatics

First Look podcast, with Power Players discussion at the 19:55 mark:

Photo: cbs sports; turner sports
Photo: cbs sports; turner sports
Photo: cbs sports; turner sports

Devron Edwards

Vice President, NCAA Partnerships
CBS Sports

Katy Mollica

Vice President, NCAA Partnerships
Turner Sports

Now in his 17th year at CBS in sales and marketing, Edwards has played an integral role in growing a once-modest NCAA corporate partner program into a behemoth with 17 major brands. Mollica moved over to managing the NCAA program in 2010 when CBS and Turner jointly won the NCAA’s rights. They both work on sales and activation strategies for brands that are NCAA partners or want to be, and have been leaders for the groundbreaking CBS/Turner joint sales effort.

Rosalyn Durant, Sean Hanrahan, Clint Overby and Nick Dawson
Photo: espn images (4)
Rosalyn Durant, Sean Hanrahan, Clint Overby and Nick Dawson
Photo: espn images (4)
Rosalyn Durant, Sean Hanrahan, Clint Overby and Nick Dawson
Photo: espn images (4)

Rosalyn Durant

Senior Vice President, College Networks
ESPN

Nick Dawson

Vice President, Programming and Acquisitions
ESPN

Clint Overby

Vice President
ESPN Events

Sean Hanrahan

Senior Vice President, Sports Brand Solutions
Disney Advertising Sales

An ESPN employee since 1999, Durant worked her way up through affiliate sales and marketing and over to the programming side. That eventually positioned her to take the lead on all of ESPN’s college properties: SEC Network, the soon-to-launch ACC Network, Longhorn Network and ESPNU. Dawson also has a heavy role in college sports, taking the lead on college football and basketball programming, as well as NCAA championships. Overby has been instrumental in building ESPN Events into a dominant force as an owner/operator of college events, mostly holiday basketball tournaments and bowl games. Hanrahan has taken on an increasingly vital leadership role in integrated sales and marketing, working with ESPN’s biggest sponsorship and advertising partners. He’s viewed by many in the college space as filling the role of Rob Temple, who recently moved over to programming.

Francois McGillicuddy, Kyle Sherman, Derek Crocker, Mike Mulvihill
Photo: big ten network; fox sports (2); roxxe ireland
Francois McGillicuddy, Kyle Sherman, Derek Crocker, Mike Mulvihill
Photo: big ten network; fox sports (2); roxxe ireland
Francois McGillicuddy, Kyle Sherman, Derek Crocker, Mike Mulvihill
Photo: big ten network; fox sports (2); roxxe ireland

Mike Mulvihill

Executive Vice President, Head of Strategy and Analytics
Fox Sports

Derek Crocker

Vice President, Collegiate Sports
Fox Sports

Kyle Sherman

President
Home Team Sports and Fox Sports College Properties

Francois McGillicuddy

President
Big Ten Network

Mulvihill leads Fox Sports’ overall college strategy, which includes the head-turning move to shift the network’s top college game into the noon time slot, a decision two years in the making. He works closely with Crocker, who manages the day-to-day aspects of Fox’s college relationships. Under Mulvihill’s guidance, Crocker collaborates with conference partners on programming and scheduling. A different aspect of Fox’s college business is run by Sherman, the veteran chief of sales at HTS who in recent years also picked up oversight of Fox Sports College Properties. This unit of Fox holds the rights at blue-chip schools Auburn, Michigan State and Southern Cal, among others. McGillicuddy presides at BTN, moving into that role at the start of the year. Most recently, the 20-year media veteran moved all of the Big Ten’s content on the network over to the Fox Sports app in an effort to streamline the viewing experience.

Photo: mercedes-benz usa
Photo: mercedes-benz usa
Photo: mercedes-benz usa

Mark Aikman

General Manager, Marketing Services
Mercedes-Benz USA

Two stadiums with unmistakable identities in college sports are in Atlanta and New Orleans, venues that know what it’s like to host national championships. Mercedes-Benz’s U.S. division owns naming rights at both. That puts Aikman, Mercedes’ lead marketer, in the position of determining strategy and activation, especially in years when a title is on the line. This season, that’s Mercedes-Benz Stadium for the men’s Final Four and Mercedes-Benz Superdome for the CFP championship.

Photo: capital one
Photo: capital one
Photo: capital one

Byron Daub

Vice President, Sponsorships and Experiential Marketing
Capital One

Capital One made a major investment in college sports almost a decade ago with an NCAA corporate champion deal and the creation of the Capital One Cup. Daub has overseen the credit card marketing program during his 18-year run there. He has since added naming rights to Maryland’s football field, dozens of college marketing deals and title sponsorship
of the Orange Bowl.

Photo: inspire brands
Photo: inspire brands
Photo: inspire brands

Seth Freeman

Chief Marketing Officer
Buffalo Wild Wings

The rejuvenation of Buffalo Wild Wings as the go-to sports bar has coincided with Freeman’s arrival almost one year ago. During that time, Freeman has injected Buffalo Wild Wings with a much-needed jolt of energy. As one of the big spenders in sports, including an NCAA partnership, the company is betting on college athletics being a key driver of that rejuvenation.

Photo: coke studios
Photo: coke studios
Photo: coke studios

John Mount

Vice President, Marketing Assets and Activation
Coca-Cola USA

Mount’s tenure at Coca-Cola dates to 1998, but it was March 2018 that became a pivotal time not only for Mount, but for Coca-Cola’s collegiate marketing. That’s when Mount was handed the sponsorship and activation keys to manage the beverage company’s massive portfolio, including huge spends with the NCAA and ESPN’s college programming.

John Althoff

Sponsorship Coordinator
State Farm

State Farm has one of the most robust sponsorship programs in college athletics, especially college basketball, and Althoff directs it. The insurance giant has marketing rights at more than 90 schools — among them Kansas, North Carolina and Villanova — and presenting sponsorship of ESPN’s “College GameDay covered by State Farm.” Althoff has such deep ties at ESPN that he’s able to submit a wish list of schools he’d like the show to visit during the season.

Paul Archey

Chief Commercial Officer
JMI Sports

Former MLB executive Archey leads JMI Sports’ initiative to drive revenue for its college properties. Archey works with property chiefs at Clemson, Columbia, Kentucky, Penn and Pitt to develop strategic partnerships, similar to Kroger’s naming-rights deal on the field at Kentucky.

Chris Bevilacqua

Co-Founder
Bevilacqua Helfant Ventures

Bevilacqua has been at the forefront of sports media trends throughout his 30-plus years in the business. He consulted with Commissioner Larry Scott on the formation of the Pac-12 Networks and pioneered other college-specific channels including CSTV. Now he is working with Commissioner Bob Bowlsby on a media strategy to take the Big 12 Conference into the next decade.

Photo: cj foeckler
Photo: cj foeckler
Photo: cj foeckler

Todd Fischer

Senior Vice President, Global Sports and Entertainment Consulting
GMR Marketing

A six-year veteran at GMR, Fischer has established himself as a go-to executive at the agency when it comes to navigating the college marketing and media landscape for clients such as Comcast/Xfinity, Hershey’s/Reese’s, U.S. Bank and U.S. Cellular. Fischer previously managed State Farm’s college sponsorships, including the basket stanchion signage, before joining GMR.

Photo: octagon
Photo: octagon
Photo: octagon

Bo Heiner

Senior Vice President, Marketing and Events
Octagon

Home Depot’s sponsorship of ESPN’s “College GameDay” is often held up as the best brand integration in college sports, maybe all sports. Heiner has steered the program since its inception. He runs Octagon’s Atlanta-based office and oversees a team of 12 employees who manage Home Depot’s marketing in college football. Born and raised in Atlanta, Heiner worked at Turner and Delta before joining Octagon 14 years ago.

Photo: wasserman
Photo: wasserman
Photo: wasserman

Dean Jordan

Managing Director, Properties
Wasserman

The longtime adviser to ACC Commissioner John Swofford and other influential leaders in college athletics, Jordan has emerged as one of the leading media consultants and strategists for college properties. In addition to shepherding the ACC Network to its Aug. 22 launch, Jordan has worked for the College Football Playoff in its TV talks with ESPN and consulted with several conferences on their media strategies.

Mike Palisi

Executive Vice President, Collegiate Services
Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment

When Learfield acquired Nelligan Sports five years ago, it left a void in the marketplace for mid-major schools where Nelligan had thrived. Palisi, who led Nelligan’s day-to-day business, and Van Wagner saw the opening and created a strong college business largely from mid-major clients that need Palisi’s expertise. Behind his ingenuity, Van Wagner’s college services unit has grown from nothing to more than 30 school and conference properties.

Photo: intersport
Photo: intersport
Photo: intersport

Drew Russell

Executive Vice President, Properties and Media Assets
Intersport

Chicago-based Intersport has become one of the most creative producers of events in the college space, and Russell has his fingerprints on just about all of them. Whether it’s the slam dunk and 3-point shootout or a football skills challenge, Russell has emerged as an innovative thinker who builds events that Intersport can own and operate.

Michael Schreck

Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer
Collegiate Sports Management Group

A former Westwood One chief, Schreck has built CSMG into a player in collegiate multimedia rights, conference TV deals, sponsorship sales and digital strategies. Most recently, Schreck and co-founder Ray Katz engineered a groundbreaking all-sports streaming rights deal between the Colonial Athletic Association and FloSports.

Photo: rachael b photography
Photo: rachael b photography
Photo: rachael b photography

Dan Shell

President, Collegiate Division
Oak View Group

After stints at IMG College and Fox Sports, Shell is now at the helm of a year-old college business devoted to driving revenue from college facilities. Shell works with schools such as Texas to sell sponsorships and naming rights for their venues. He also is responsible for developing new business, facility management and booking opportunities, similar to the recent deal with Houston. Part of Oak View Group’s college business will include creating college events that the firm owns and operates for its venues.

Photo: melt
Photo: melt
Photo: melt

Vince Thompson

Founder, Chairman and Chief Executive Officer
Melt

Thompson’s Atlanta-based agency has positioned itself as an authority for marketing in college athletics. His nearly two-decade relationship with Coca-Cola has provided the agency with a base of business that includes Final Four activation and sponsorship of ESPN’s “College GameDay.” Melt’s newest client, Aflac, has big plans for SEC football.

Andy Rawlings, Cory Moss, Kim Damron, Jeff Rubin
Photo: Learfield IMG College; Collegiate Licensing Company; Brystan Studios; Natalie Wiesnet Shelton
Andy Rawlings, Cory Moss, Kim Damron, Jeff Rubin
Photo: Learfield IMG College; Collegiate Licensing Company; Brystan Studios; Natalie Wiesnet Shelton
Andy Rawlings, Cory Moss, Kim Damron, Jeff Rubin
Photo: Learfield IMG College; Collegiate Licensing Company; Brystan Studios; Natalie Wiesnet Shelton

Andy Rawlings

Chief Revenue Officer
Learfield IMG College

Cory Moss

Executive Vice President and Managing Director
Collegiate Licensing Company

Kim Damron

President and Chief Executive Officer
Paciolan

Jeff Rubin

President and Chief Executive Officer
Sidearm Sports

This foursome represents some of the most influential executives who are guiding the agency’s business after the merger brought Learfield and IMG College together. Multimedia rights, national sales and Campus+ sales flow up to company CRO Rawlings. Moss, who took the lead over licensing at IMG College, remains the senior executive at CLC post-merger. Damron’s list of responsibilities continues to grow. Not only is she president and CEO at Paciolan, she also oversees Sidearm Sports and Learfield IMG Ticket & Seat Solutions. Rubin has been pivotal in transforming the collegiate website business by rolling up NeuLion and CBS Interactive into Sidearm.

Photo: max gerber; caa
Photo: max gerber; caa
Photo: max gerber; caa

Alan Gold

Principal and Head of Sports Media
Evolution Media Capital

Nick Khan

Agent and Media Adviser
Creative Artists Agency

The SEC’s media deal with ESPN runs into 2034, so what does Commissioner Greg Sankey need with media advisers Gold and Khan? They will be major factors for the SEC on two fronts — helping negotiate the next CBS deal for the 3:30 p.m. ET game of the week, and drafting a strategy to make the most out of the conference’s current media agreements, including long-term contracts with ESPN.

Karen Brodkin, Hillary Mandel
Photo: endeavor
Karen Brodkin, Hillary Mandel
Photo: endeavor
Karen Brodkin, Hillary Mandel
Photo: endeavor

Karen Brodkin

Executive Vice President, Content Strategy and Partnerships
Endeavor

Hillary Mandel

Senior Vice President and Head of North America
IMG Media

When Conference USA needed guidance in the ever-changing media space last year, it turned to the team of Brodkin and Mandel. Brodkin leads business development and strategy across many businesses for Endeavor, while Mandel oversees sports media sales and distribution. Together, they worked to achieve an increase in media revenue and better distribution for the conference, including innovative deals with Facebook and NFL Network.

Photo: Campbell University Athletic Communications
Photo: Campbell University Athletic Communications
Photo: Campbell University Athletic Communications

Omar Banks

Athletic Director
Campbell University

At the time this list of Power Players was being assembled, Banks was Virginia Tech’s executive associate AD and chief financial officer, but Campbell from the Big South Conference hired him late last month to run its program. Banks’ career, which has included stints at IBM and Fidelity Investments, certainly has a finance flavor, something he will apply at Campbell in his first AD job.


Photo: Purdue University
Photo: Purdue University
Photo: Purdue University

Jason Butikofer 

Deputy Athletic Director
Purdue University

The former AD at Southern Utah, Butikofer coordinates all of Purdue’s external functions, while also serving as sport administrator for football and men’s basketball. Attendance for those two headliner sports has surged to record-breaking heights during his two years.

Photo: Northwestern University
Photo: Northwestern University
Photo: Northwestern University

Travis Goff

Deputy Athletic Director for Development and Assistant Vice President
Northwestern University

Goff has emerged as AD Jim Phillips’ right-hand man during his seven years at Northwestern. No one has been more instrumental in driving NU athletics than Goff, who oversees fundraising at the small, private school just north of Chicago. The most recent fundraising campaign of $450 million helped supercharge the construction of the Wildcats’ new Ryan Fieldhouse by Lake Michigan.

Photo: Texas Athletics
Photo: Texas Athletics
Photo: Texas Athletics

Arthur Johnson 

Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director
University of Texas

Johnson has been a steadying force in the Longhorns’ front office for the last decade, overseeing football, scheduling and facilities during three changes at AD. The former Georgia student manager for football has advanced through the Texas athletic department, emerging as an influential voice on the Longhorns’ senior staff.

Photo: Reagan Lunn
Photo: Reagan Lunn
Photo: Reagan Lunn

Nina King

Senior Deputy Athletic Director and Chief of Staff
Duke University

Athletic Director Kevin White has entrusted King with some of the most important administrative roles in the department. Her dual titles have positioned her to essentially run the athletic department when White is away. Most recently, King has become the administrative supervisor for football.

Photo: Utah Athletics
Photo: Utah Athletics
Photo: Utah Athletics

Scott Kull

Deputy Athletic Director, External Operations
University of Utah

Kull is considered one of the most creative thinkers in college athletics. At USF, his previous stop, he engineered an innovative multimedia rights deal with Tampa Bay Entertainment Properties. Approaching his one-year anniversary with the Utes, Kull handles external operations, giving him oversight of marketing, development, branding and related fields. 

Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics
Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics
Photo: Vanderbilt Athletics

Candice Lee

Associate Vice Chancellor and Deputy Athletic Director
Vanderbilt University

The former Commodores basketball player has been on the Nashville campus the past 14 years as an administrator. Lee is well-known and highly respected throughout the SEC and beyond as Vandy’s deputy and senior woman administrator, leading most to believe it’s just a matter of time before she becomes an AD.


Photo: Clemson Athletics
Photo: Clemson Athletics
Photo: Clemson Athletics

Graham Neff

Deputy Athletic Director
Clemson University

Neff has flourished at Clemson, where AD Dan Radakovich has loaded his plate with AD-type duties. On any given day, Neff might find himself working on a facility project, a personnel matter, department finances or fundraising across any of the Tigers’ sports. The Georgia Tech grad worked his way up to Clemson after serving in a similar role at Middle Tennessee State.

Photo: Stanford Athletics
Photo: Stanford Athletics
Photo: Stanford Athletics

Heather Owen

Executive Associate Athletic Director
Stanford University

Before Owen was driving major gifts and fundraising for Stanford Athletics, she was driving to the basket for the Cardinal’s women’s basketball program. As the leader of the athletic department’s development efforts, Owen is in charge of annual giving, major gifts and engagement, areas that are the lifeblood for a private school.

Rob Rademacher 

Executive Senior Associate Athletic Director and Chief Operating Officer
University of Michigan

Rademacher worked his way up over 20 years at Michigan, largely through his work on facilities. He has been instrumental in developing the $168 million South Campus Performance Center, which includes facilities for track and field, lacrosse, rowing and other sports.

Photo: Ohio State Athletics
Photo: Ohio State Athletics
Photo: Ohio State Athletics

Diana Sabau

Deputy Athletic Director
Ohio State University

Buckeyes AD Gene Smith has a long history of producing ADs from his staff by delegating and helping them shape their vision. Sabau is the next executive to walk that path. She oversees football at Ohio State, working on everything from finance to contracts and scheduling. Marketing, social media and creative services all report to her. 

Photo: University of Michigan
Photo: University of Michigan
Photo: University of Michigan

Laird Veatch

Executive Associate Athletic Director for Internal Affairs
University of Florida

One of AD Scott Stricklin’s most noteworthy moves in his first year was to bring Veatch on board in 2017. Veatch, who had been Kansas State’s interim AD, has oversight of athletic facilities. Given current projects, like a $60 million baseball stadium, Ben Hill Griffin Stadium upgrades and the prospects for a football operations building, that’s no small job.

Charlie Hussey

Associate Commissioner and Chief Operating Officer
Southeastern Conference

Then-SEC Commissioner Mike Slive showed how much confidence he had in Hussey by putting him in charge of network relations prior to the 2014 launch of SEC Network. Three years later, a new commissioner, Greg Sankey, elevated Hussey to COO, making him the manager of the conference’s Birmingham, Ala., headquarters, while maintaining his role as liaison to ESPN for all media and sponsorship matters.

JoAn Scott 

Managing Director, Division I Men’s Basketball Championship
NCAA

The NCAA’s Final Four grows larger every year and much of that growth happens under Scott’s watchful eye. She has oversight of the tournament’s operations and marketing, which includes the many affiliated events at the Final Four. From signage to volunteers to hotel rooms and meeting space, Scott is the NCAA executive who keeps everything in order.

Andrea Williams

Chief Operating Officer
College Football Playoff

Williams joined the College Football Playoff a year ago and has taken over many of the day-to-day operations for the Dallas-based office, including primary oversight of the national championship game and its ancillary events. Williams, who also manages site selection for future championships, previously served as commissioner of the Big Sky Conference and before that had a long run at the Big Ten.

Photo: Gridiron
Photo: Gridiron
Photo: Gridiron

Dave Brown

Founder
Gridiron

Scheduling football games is one of the most challenging parts of the job for college athletic directors. Brown saw that firsthand during his 28 years at ESPN. His job often entailed playing matchmaker for schools looking for high-profile games on the network, especially those early-season games that often pit two powerhouses. In the four-plus years since he left ESPN, Brown has developed his own scheduling software, Gridiron, and a subscription service for the schools, making him one of the most important cogs in the college football wheel.

Photo: Haint Blue Collective
Photo: Haint Blue Collective
Photo: Haint Blue Collective

Parker Duffey 

President and Chief Executive Officer
Tailgate Guys

Tailgate Guys might seem like an overnight success, given its rapid growth in the last year or two. But Duffey, who co-founded the college football game-day business in 2009, knows what a trip it’s been — he jokes about how much more gray hair he has now than a decade ago. Tailgate Guys has more than 50 clients and 170 employees who are driving new revenue for schools with customized tailgates that provide most everything fans need on game day.

Photo: Sarah D’Ambra
Photo: Sarah D’Ambra
Photo: Sarah D’Ambra

Dan Gale Jr. 

President
Leona Marketing Group

When Gale left CBS in 2014 after a long run in collegiate sales, he saw an opening in the industry. Few colleges had a consultant working on their behalf when they began negotiations for their multimedia rights. Gale, having worked at CBS and Learfield, knew the business from that side. Since 2016, he has been transforming that knowledge into a burgeoning practice at Leona, where most recently he has assisted Furman, Northeastern, Purdue, UAB, UTEP and the Southland Conference in their pursuit of new agreements on multimedia rights, ticketing and apparel.

Photo: Clemson Football
Photo: Clemson Football
Photo: Clemson Football

David Herman 

Manager, Sports Partnerships
Twitter

Just a year after graduating from the University of Michigan in 2015, Herman found himself managing Twitter’s sports relationships at both the team and league level. For any social media department, he is Twitter’s go-to guy when it comes to livestreaming games or producing original content for the platform. For example, when colleges have live content, Herman is working on his end to generate conversation about it and make sure interested users can find it.

Photo: Jay Sinclair
Photo: Jay Sinclair
Photo: Jay Sinclair

Rex Hough 

Chief Executive Officer
Dyehard Fan Supply

Hough took the reins of this startup in December 2017 and immediately began winning business for a company that had no track record. Dyehard specializes in running all forms of retail for college athletic departments. Arkansas was one of its first clients and in the 19 months since, Dyehard has grown to more than 30 clients, most of which operate in the college space. Hough, a longtime executive at ISP Sports, has been the engine driving Dyehard’s growth with a stated intent of improving the way schools engage with
their customers.  

Photo: Korn Ferry
Photo: Korn Ferry
Photo: Korn Ferry

Jed Hughes 

Vice Chairman and Global Leader, Sports
Korn Ferry

The common refrain throughout the industry when a school or conference makes an outside-the-box hire is that it’s a “Jed Hughes Special.” A perfect example was when Kevin Warren was the surprise pick as Big Ten commissioner. Hughes, who has engineered the searches at the Pac-12, SEC and now Big Ten, has placed some of the most influential commissioners in the game while also establishing himself as the search expert who brings both traditional and nontraditional candidates to the table.

Photo: Hans Kwiotek Photography
Photo: Hans Kwiotek Photography
Photo: Hans Kwiotek Photography

Jill Krimmel 

General Manager, MLB, NCAA and Other Sports
StubHub

Krimmel joined StubHub a year and a half ago primarily to oversee its college and MLB business. She came from Walmart, where she was a senior executive on e-commerce and online merchandise sales for the retail giant. In her current role, Krimmel is poised to help move the collegiate secondary ticket marketplace forward with StubHub. The company is the official ticketing partner for 38 colleges, and has partnerships at
a total of 63. Many of those deals provide StubHub with signage and other marketing assets. 

Photo: Jake Stengel and Alec Lesser
Photo: Jake Stengel and Alec Lesser
Photo: Jake Stengel and Alec Lesser

Nick Marquez 

Manager, Strategic Partnerships
Facebook

A compliment from Marquez always means a little more to the social media departments in college athletics. Marquez emerged about three years ago as Facebook’s chief consultant in the college space, driving new ideas and social techniques to help them build and keep audiences. When he shares a Facebook or Instagram activation from a school, everyone pays attention.

Photo: Ticketmaster
Photo: Ticketmaster
Photo: Ticketmaster

Tim Martin

Senior Vice President and General Manager, College Athletics
Ticketmaster

The former Southern Cal chief of business development moved across town to Ticketmaster a year and a half ago to run its college business. A big part of that business, after selling tickets, is migrating Ticketmaster’s schools over to a completely mobile experience, something the company is working on at Florida, among others. Martin’s depth of knowledge from working on campus has been a benefit for the former volunteer field hockey coach at UConn.

Photo: Parker Executive Search
Photo: Parker Executive Search
Photo: Parker Executive Search

Daniel Parker 

Vice President and Managing Director, Sports
Parker Executive Search

Taking over the sports practice of the firm his father founded, Parker continues to position Parker Executive Search as one of the key influencers in the hiring of coaches and athletic directors. He spent a decade at Nissan working in sales and marketing before returning to Atlanta in 2011 to take over the firm’s sports division. Most recently, Parker handled the search of LaSalle’s AD and Holy Cross’ basketball coach, two of the more than 30 searches the firm will do this year.

Photo: Turnkey Search
Photo: Turnkey Search
Photo: Turnkey Search

Len Perna

President and Chief Executive Officer
Turnkey Sports and Entertainment

In his 20-plus years running Turnkey, Perna has established the company as a leader on two fronts. Colleges are continually looking to Turnkey for its expertise in searches for athletic directors and coaches, while also tapping into the firm’s market intelligence and research. Among the schools where Perna’s firm has placed ADs are Alabama, Michigan and Tennessee.

Photo: Collegiate Sports Associates
Photo: Collegiate Sports Associates
Photo: Collegiate Sports Associates

Todd Turner

President and Founder
Collegiate Sports Associates

Turner has the unique distinction of having been an AD at four major schools: UConn, N.C. State, Vanderbilt and Washington. So, it’s fair to believe that he has quite a bit of knowledge to share from his nearly 40 years as a college administrator. Turner is using that experience as a consultant on searches and athletic department projects such as strategic planning and financial analysis. 

Photo: Nick Abadilla Photography
Photo: Nick Abadilla Photography
Photo: Nick Abadilla Photography

Jeff Schemmel

Founder and President
College Sports Solutions

The former athletic director at San Diego State has built a firm that consults with schools on myriad issues, including improving the fan experience, internal challenges and searches. He also works with conferences on plans for expansion and membership. Based in Atlanta, Schemmel has assembled a robust group of affiliated consultants, ranging from Rick Bay to Jim Livengood and Judy Rose, all former ADs. 

Derek Eiler, Chris Prindiville
Photo: fanatics (2)
Derek Eiler, Chris Prindiville
Photo: fanatics (2)
Derek Eiler, Chris Prindiville
Photo: fanatics (2)

Derek Eiler

Executive Vice President
Fanatics College

Chris Prindiville

Senior Vice President
Fanatics College

When Fanatics decided to expand its college business two years ago, it turned to Eiler and Prindiville, a pair of industry veterans who know the licensing and retail game as well as anyone. They came from CAA Sports’ Fermata Partners, a licensing agency they started after their lengthy runs at Collegiate Licensing Company. Most recently, they have driven deals at Oregon and Florida, where Fanatics has moved in as the primary apparel partner.