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
"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
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
in the community while developing a motto within the program of “EXPECT
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
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
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
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
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
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
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.
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
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
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."