TOWSON, Md. - Mike Waddell, the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for external relations the last five years at the University of Cincinnati, has been named Towson University's Director of Athletics, university president Dr.Robert Caret announced today.
"Towson University has a vision for the institution it is evolving into and athletics is at the core of that vision," Dr. Caret said. "We need a leader who can bring that vision to reality. We need a leader who is committed to the student‐athlete, can manage, can lead, has a high energy level and is tenacious in the search of excellence. Mike Waddell is that leader."
Waddell assumes direction of Towson's 20‐sport (13 women's, seven men's) program that includes 485 student-athletes.
The Tigers are members of the very competitive Colonial Athletic Association. The football program competes at the NCAA's Football Championship Subdivision level.
"It's an honor to accept Dr. Caret's charge to lead Tiger Athletics" Waddell said. "Our mission is to create an extraordinary environment for our student‐athletes to compete for championships, receive a world‐class education and become part of our community in a meaningful way. It is truly a privilege to be a member of the Team Towson and a memorable time to be a Tiger."
At Cincinnati Waddell's primarily responsibility was the oversight of 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).
Waddell has worked on a daily basis with the Bearcats' football and men's basketball programs. He was also the sport administrator for men's soccer, baseball, men's and women's golf plus the men's and women's swimming & diving teams. He was a two‐term member of the BIG EAST Conference Golf Committee.
Acclaimed for his marketing strategies, ten of the Bearcats' all‐time top 11 largest football crowds were recorded on his watch. Since 2006, football season tickets sales rose 122%, attendance was up 83% and overall season tickets revenues grew by 170%. Tickets sales for women's basketball also saw a significant jump. Over a three‐year period Cincinnati's athletics marketing department was honored with three National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) awards including recognition for best new revenue generation concept and student engagement programming.
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 $14,000,000 over the term of the IMG College agreement. In addition he helped secure a regional television agreement with FOX Sports Ohio that expanded coverage throughout the Midwest of Bearcats football, men's basketball and women's basketball.
Developing the UC website, GoBEARCATS.com, as a communications and recruiting tool has been his focus. The site was redesigned prior to 2009‐10 academic year, adding video, audio and a handful of bloggers who produce original content on a daily basis. Traffic to the site has increased 247% in the last three years.
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.
While serving 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. While at Army he helped restructure the Army A‐Club and was a member of the negotiating team for the Army/Navy football series playing a five‐year run in Philadelphia resulting in the highest payout in the history of the event.
From 1997‐2000 Waddell, a North Carolina native, was the director of athletic 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. He also negotiated a partnership with Daktronics that provided over $500,000 in capital improvements to the stadium including the APPVISION video system.
Waddell, 41, received his B.S. degree in Sport Management from Guilford College in 1991, where he was also a two‐time letterwinner in football. Earlier this year Waddell 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 (13) and Caroline (10).
HERE'S WHAT THEY SAY
Mike Thomas, Director of Athletics, University of 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 have worked together for over a decade and he has been an integral part of my senior management staff at both Akron and now 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!"
Tom Yeager, Commissioner, Colonial Athletic Association: "Mike comes highly recommended by the real leaders of our industry. He has been recognized as one of the outstanding young AD candidates, in that next-in-line batch. He has impressed me by being very thorough, energetic and creative. A great hire for Towson."
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."
John Marinatto, Commissioner, The BIG EAST Conference: "Mike Waddell has been an outstanding administrator at Cincinnati and I am confident he will do a great job at Towson. He is a creative leader who is passionate about college athletics. We wish Mike and his family the best at 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."