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Mike Waddell
Position: Athletics Staff
Other Position: Director of Athletics
Alma Mater: Guilford College
Graduating Year: 1991
Phone: (410) 704-3936
Email: mwaddell@towson.edu

Mike Waddell was introduced as the Tigers' eighth Director of Athletics on September 29, 2010, arriving at Towson after five years as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for external relations at the University of Cincinnati.

"Mike Waddell is an innovative, creative visionary who enthusiastically guides our Athletics Program while reinforcing the primary focus of academics to the student-athlete,” said Towson University President Maravene Loeschke.

Waddell directs a Towson Athletics program that serves more than 600 student-athletes, coaches and staff. The Tigers are members of the very competitive Colonial Athletic Association in all sports except gymnastics, which moved back into the East Atlantic Gymnastics League (EAGL). The football program competes at the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision level.

“President Loeschke has laid out a strategic vision for Towson 2016 that focuses around the well-being of our students, developing tomorrow’s leaders and expecting success in everything we do,” said Waddell. “These core values speak directly to what we stand for in college athletics and make working with her and our senior management team such a delight. Towson University and its athletics program are moving in step toward a bright future.”

Since arriving on campus, Waddell has been very visible on campus and in the community while developing a motto within the program of “EXPECT SUCCESS.”

Academic Achievement was one of the very first areas that Waddell focused his attention. Almost immediately upon arrival he began the implementation of what has become one of the nation’s most comprehensive class attendance policies. The policy mandates that student-athletes attend every class unless they have an excused absence.

After Year 1 of this new policy, 11 teams improved their cumulative GPA from the previous fall and the overall department GPA climbed to a 3.07 average among the 20 sports. Overall, 56 percent (272-of-485) of the student-athletes posted a GPA above 3.0 in 2011-12, while 125 made the dean's list with an average of 3.5 or above. In addition, the Office of Academic Achievement added an academic advisor and a learning specialist that works closely with men’s and women’s basketball.

Beyond the academic wellness of student-athletes, their overall physical health and condition is just as important. In January 2011, Towson implemented a new structure to the areas of Sports Medicine and Strength and Conditioning by integrating the two areas for improved cohesiveness and renaming it Sports Performance. This new concept of 360-degree healthcare for student-athletes is innovative and has begun to take hold in different schools across the country, putting Towson at the forefront along with its hospital partner MedStar Union Memorial and its team of doctors and specialists.

To round out the complete student-athlete, Towson has taken the NCAA’s CHAMPS/Life Skills program and expanded it into what is now known as the TOTAL TIGER program. The program shows Tiger student-athletes how to become leaders, prepares them for life after college, but also gives them perspective and the opportunity to give back to their area communities through volunteerism. In just the past year alone, Towson student-athletes have given more than 6,250 hours of their time back to the Greater Baltimore Community.

Besides the work internally to help our student-athletes excel, Waddell’s vision externally has also see dramatic growth as well with the expansion of the areas of development, marketing, communications and corporate sponsorships.

In a move early in his tenure to strengthen two areas – development and corporate sponsorships – Waddell outsourced corporate sponsorships to CBS Collegiate Sports Properties and moved those two internal positions into the area of development doubling the size of the staff from when he arrived. Those moves have made immediate impacts financially on the department as corporate sales showed a net profit for the first time in three years and development saw its annual giving reach a eight-year high of $771,000 in 2012-13.

The development area also added a position to oversee the newly created alumni group named the T-Club and now has five staff members – up three and a half employees since 2010-11. In its first year of existence, the T-Club has already seen membership climb to over 600 members.

As part of the reorganization of development, the department also revamped the Tiger Club’s board and installed a board of visitors that leverages partnerships and support in the community.

Communications is also the life-blood of any athletics department and since 2010-11, Towson Athletics has embarked on “telling its own story” with a new technology-first approach starting with its web presence and the additions of a Director of New Media position, additional bloggers, more video content and daily features on the student-athletes and coaches.

Since 2009-10, TowsonTigers.com has seen traffic increases in page views to 7.1 million (up over 500 percent) and unique visitors to 1.6 million (up over 200 percent). These substantial improvements will only continue as the department looks to expand into Web-TV through its video portal TowsonSportsNetwork.tv.

Success on the field of play was a bright spot for Towson in 2011-12 as the football team and the women’s lacrosse teams both captured Colonial Athletic Association championships.

For football, it was its first conference championship since joining the league in 2007 and only its second since the program was started in 1969. The football Tigers’ turnaround from 1-10 in 2010 to 9-3 in 2011 catapulted the team into the NCAA Playoffs for the first time at the FCS level and garnered head coach Rob Ambrose National Coach of the Year accolades and freshman running back Terrance West the Jerry Rice Award as the top freshman in the nation.

Women’s lacrosse’s championships in both the regular season and the CAA Tournament enabled the Tigers to return to the NCAA Tournament for the fifth time since 2005 and in a position to host the first home NCAA Tournament games in program history.

The two championships are the third and fourth won during Waddell’s tenure at Towson.

The success on the field has also translated into ticket sales for the Tigers as they broke school records in 2011-12 for season football attendance (62,645), single-game attendance (11,196– first sellout in program history vs. Lehigh in NCAA Playoffs), season student attendance (17,597) and single-game student attendance (4,036).

Even after setting a school record for season ticket holders in 2011, season tickets for Towson football have increased by more than 133 percent for the 2012 season to over 1,000 season ticket holders.

Just like he has asked the student-athlete to become more involved in the community, Waddell has taken on his share as well. He has hosted regular Towson Hall Meetings with the alumni and the community, developed local partnerships with local Rec Councils by providing them with field space in the athletics venues and he established an annual Minnegan Day to honor the patriarch of Tiger Athletics Donald “Doc” Minnegan, the department’s first director of athletics and a member of the United States Soccer Hall of Fame.

During the next year, Waddell and Towson Athletics will be thinking strategically for the future of the program as it will be completing and announcing an Athletics Facilities Master Plan with its partner AECOM. The opening of the new state-of-the-art 5,200-seat Tiger Arena will springboard men’s and women’s basketball, volleyball and gymnastics ahead. Administratively, the department will also complete a strategic planning process Collegiate Sports Associates, which is led by company President Todd Turner, a former director of athletics at four NCAA Division I institutions who has over 30 years of experience in college athletics.

At the University of Cincinnati, Waddell's primary responsibility was to oversee the revenue generating areas that included marketing/fan development, ticket sales/customer service, sports communications, game day programming, and information technology. He coordinated all of Cincinnati's football bowl planning, including back-to-back BCS Bowl Appearances in 2009 (FedEx Orange Bowl) and 2010 (Allstate Sugar Bowl).

Acclaimed for his marketing strategies, ten of the Bearcats' top 11 all-time largest football crowds were recorded on his watch. Football season tickets sales rose 122%, attendance was up 83% and overall season tickets revenues grew by 170%.  

Waddell was Cincinnati's liaison with IMG College - the multimedia and corporate sponsorships rights-holder for UC athletics; adidas - the Bearcats' official footwear and apparel outfitter; and with ESPN, the exclusive television partner of the Big East. His efforts in renegotiating Cincinnati's multimedia sponsorships agreement resulted in a net gain of $14 million over the term of the IMG College agreement.  

Developing the UC website as a communications and recruiting tool was a focus. The site was redesigned, adding video, audio and a handful of bloggers producing original content on a daily basis. Traffic to the site increased 247percent in his last three years with the program.

Prior to his Cincinnati assignment, Waddell served as the Associate Athletics Director for external relations at the University of Akron where sports marketing revenues increased more than five-fold during his tenure through the creation of the "Team Akron" corporate patron program.

In 2006 Waddell received the Sales & Marketing Executives International's Distinguished Sales & Marketing Award. His "Fear The Roo" campaign at Akron won the NACMA's 2005-06 "Best of Show" as the nation's top collegiate sports revenue generating initiative.

During his tenure as Akron's Interim Director of Athletics the school made its first and only postseason football bowl appearance in the 2005 Motor City Bowl while its #1 ranked men's soccer team also advanced to the NCAA Tournament's Elite Eight before bowing out to eventual national champion Maryland.

Before joining the Akron staff, Waddell served as the director of marketing and broadcasting at the United States Military Academy at West Point where he was responsible for the development of all athletics corporate partnerships, marketing, promotions and multimedia development. He created the Army Sports Radio Network, securing WABC-770 AM in New York City as the flagship station.

From 1997-2000 Waddell, a North Carolina native, was the Director of Athletics external operations at Appalachian State. His tenure was marked by the signing of a 100,000-watt WKBC-FM as the flagship radio for Mountaineer football and basketball. His 1999 football marketing theme "Rock Solid" spawned Kidd Brewer Stadium's nickname "The Rock" that has been adopted as part of ASU tradition.   

Waddell received his B.S. degree in Sport Management from Guilford College in 1991, where he was also a two-time letterwinner in football.  He earned his M.S. degree in Sport Administration from the prestigious Ohio University graduate program.

Waddell began his career in athletics in broadcasting at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and the University of Virginia, where he was also the Director of Sports Marketing for Charlottesville Broadcasting Corporation. He is an active member of the NACDA and is a founding member of the Cincinnati Sports Professionals Network. 

He and his wife, Heidi, have two children; Drew and Caroline.

HERE'S WHAT THEY SAY

Mike Thomas, Director of Athletics, University of Illinois (formerly of Akron and Cincinnati): "Mike Waddell is a rising star in the field of intercollegiate athletics, and he will bring great success to Towson University's athletic programs.  Mike and I worked together for over a decade and he has been an integral part of my senior management staff at both Akron and Cincinnati.  His work ethic and significant accomplishments at the University of Cincinnati will certainly be missed, but our loss is most assuredly Towson's gain.  I will enjoy watching Mike's achievements at Towson, and wish him, his wife Heidi, and their children Drew and Caroline all the best!"

Mick Cronin, Head Men's Basketball Coach, University of Cincinnati: "Mike Waddell brings an energy and passion to everything he does. His work as a marketer, administrator, and fan of all of our programs has paid dividends here at the University of Cincinnati. With his work ethic, I only see the future looking brighter for Towson."

Brian Kelly, Head Football Coach, University of Notre Dame: "Mike Waddell's background as a former student-athlete combined with his career as an athletics administrator will undoubtedly benefit Towson University. He has a keen sense on how to market collegiate athletic programs and he is well versed in the daily operations and requirements of the student-athletes, coaches and staff members within an athletics department. Mike will make a terrific athletics director and I congratulate him on his new position."

 

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