MA in Sports Administration Faculty

Brice Clinton

Brice Clinton

Faculty Director

Contact Information

brice.clinton@northwestern.edu

LinkedIn

Sports Administration Podcast

Brice Clinton is the Director of Solutions Engineering for CSG, a global interactive media company. He is responsible for international business development, technical evangelism, and translating technical capabilities into tangible business outcomes. In addition, Clinton serves as the primary media liaison through writing and speaking. Since joining CSG International he has been responsible for client engagements across media, sports, and retail in North American, Europe, Asia, India, and Australia. Clinton received a bachelor of the arts in Organizational Communication from Purdue University, and a master’s degree in Sports Administration from Northwestern University.

Education

MSA - Northwestern University
BS - Purdue University

Relevant Work

Director, Solutions Engineering - CSG

Recent Courses

MSA 451-0 : The Technology of Sport

MSA 451-DL : The Technology of Sport

Jim Andrews

Jim Andrews

james.andrews@northwestern.edu

LinkedIn

Twitter

amarkps.com

Jim Andrews is an acknowledged expert in the fields of sponsorship and sports marketing. He was instrumental in building pioneering sponsorship firm IEG into a global leader in data, information and consulting.

He has worked with organizations of many stripes to create strategic sponsorship programs focused on best practices in sponsorship assessment, selection, negotiation, contracting, valuation, activation and ROI measurement. His network of contacts across sports and sponsorship—from rightsholders and brands to agencies, data and technology suppliers and beyond—is unparalleled.

Jim is widely recognized for providing critical insights and education through trainings, appearances and publications. In addition to identifying key trends and delivering his unique perspective on the most important issues facing rightsholders and their commercial partners, he is known for identifying and developing strategies and concepts for securing, evaluating and optimizing partnerships now widely adopted by corporate, sports, entertainment and nonprofit marketers of all types and sizes.

A frequent media commentator, Jim has been a featured speaker at hundreds of sports, entertainment and marketing conferences around the world.

A New York native, he earned bachelor’s and master’s degrees in journalism from The Medill School of Journalism, Media, Integrated Marketing Communications at Northwestern.

Education

Master of Science in Journalism, Northwestern University
Bachelor of Science in Journalism, Northwestern University

Relevant Work

Founder & CEO, A-Mark Partnership Strategies
Senior Consultant, Onside Sponsorship
Senior Vice President, IEG/ESP Properties

Recent Courses

MSA 412-0 : Sponsorships 2.0: Adding Value to Sports, Brands, Fans, and Communities

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

Jim follows Northwestern's principles of inclusive teaching, as well as promotes active learning in his classes, which combine multiple learning formats, including lectures interspersed with group discussions and exercises in which students apply key takeaways. Some classes feature guest speakers from professional sports teams, corporate sponsors and agencies.

Doug Bakker

Douglas Bakker

Adjunct Lecturer, Director of Graduate Programs

Contact Information

d-bakker@northwestern.edu

Doug Bakker worked at DePaul University for over 13 years in various capacities. Most recently as an Associate Athletics Director, Bakker oversaw athletics compliance and worked with all of the sport programs to comply with NCAA, BIG EAST, DePaul and other state and federal requirements. Additionally, Bakker served as the sport administrator for the men's and women's cross country and track and field programs when they won their first conference title in DePaul history. He was the primary liaison for the athletics department with various other University departments, including admissions, financial aid, and housing and also assisted with DePaul's SAAC. Bakker served as the assistant tournament manager for the 2006 and 2012 NCAA women's basketball first and second rounds as well served in a similar role for the 2014 BIG EAST women's basketball championship. Bakker served on the NCAA Reasonable Standards Committee for compliance professionals with the committee's mission of shaping policy on the best practices to monitor, educate and document various NCAA compliance rules issues for Division I institutions. He holds a BA from University of Illinois and a JD from DePaul University Law School and is published in the DePaul Journal of Sports Law and Contemporary Problems, and has been a faculty member of the MSA program since 2009.

Education

BA History and Political Science, University of Illinois
Juris Doctor, DePaul University

Relevant Work

Associate Athletics Director, DePaul University

Selected Publications

Doug Bakker, NCAA Initial Eligibility Requirements: The Case Law Behind the Changes, 3 DePaul J. Sports L. & Contemp. Probs. 160 (2006)

Recent Courses

MSA 455-DL : NCAA Compliance

Ryan Chenault

Ryan Chenault

Contact Information

ryan.chenault@northwestern.edu

Ryan Chenault was named vice president of marketing for the Columbus Blue Jackets in June 2019. In this role, he is responsible for creating and implementing a comprehensive marketing strategy for the hockey club with an emphasis on brand development, non-traditional marketing, advertising, promotion, media planning/buying, creative services, market research and integration with social media.

Prior to joining the Jackets, Chenault served as team president of the Ohio Machine of Major League Lacrosse for nearly three years, a tenure that was highlighted by an MLL championship in 2017. With the Machine, he was responsible for all business and lacrosse operations. He also established and chaired the Ohio Machine Lacrosse Foundation, the nonprofit extension of the organization.

Chenault’s previous experience also includes ten years with Northwestern where he led day-to-day management of the athletic department’s marketing efforts for all 19 varsity programs. Chenault also served on the athletic department’s senior administrative team and was a sports administrator for the women’s lacrosse program.

Prior to his time at Northwestern, Chenault also spent time with the Chicago Wolves of the American Hockey League and the athletic department at Xavier University. He holds a pair of undergraduate degrees from The Ohio State University and a master’s degree from Xavier University.

Education

BS - Business Administration / Marketing - Ohio State
BA - History - Ohio State
MS - Education / Sports Administration - Xavier University

Relevant Work

VP of Marketing - Columbus Blue Jackets (since 2019)
President - Ohio Machine Lacrosse (2016-2019)
Assistant AD for Marketing - Northwestern University - Department of Athletics (2007-2016)

Recognition

Fast Company - Top 10 Most Innovative Sports Firms (2014)

Recent Courses

MSA 402-DL : Fundamentals of Sports Marketing

Adam Cook

Adam Cook

Contact Information

adam.cook@northwestern.edu

LinkedIn

Twitter

Instagram

Adam Cook is an experienced program director and educator whose career has spanned a wide range of roles in sport, recreation, and fitness. At the Division 1 level, he has served as a strength and conditioning coach, Men's and Women's Volleyball coach, and developed multiple international service-learning programs. Cook has led sport and community programs in more than 20 countries across North America, Asia, Europe, and Africa. As part of his passion for growing global opportunities, Cook developed curriculum for cross-cultural work that has been used to train program participants in more than 40 different countries. This range of experience has given him a unique insight into the growing impact of sport on a global scale with first-hand experience at the highest levels of competition down to initiatives in the local community.

In addition, Cook is an adjunct faculty member at California Baptist University teaching a variety of courses in Exercise Science, Kinesiology, and Sport Psychology. Cook received his B.S. and M.S. in Kinesiology from California Baptist University.

Education

Master's Degree, Sport Management - California Baptist University
Bachelor's Degree, Kinesiology - California Baptist University
NASM - Certified Personal Trainer
NASM - Performance Enhancement Specialist
NASM - Certified Nutrition Specialist
Functional Movement Systems Practitioner
CITI - Social Science and Behavioral Research

Relevant Work

Professor, Kinesiology - California Baptist University
Assistant Men's Volleyball Coach
Assistant Women's Volleyball Coach
Strength and Conditioning Coach

Recent Courses

MSA 403-DL : Management and Organization of Sports
MSA 463-0 : Globalization of Sports

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

My teaching philosophy is built around the belief that it is my responsibility as a professional and an educator to provide students with the understanding, skills, and resources to build a successful and professionally responsible
career, regardless of the discipline they pursue, in the diverse and dynamic industry that is sport, recreation, and fitness.

My educational approach encompasses a wide range of professional experiences and provides
students with a balanced perspective in all areas that promote intellectual integrity and proficiency in technical ability. I place a high priority on creating collaborative, well-rounded leaders who are capable of clear thought and precise action. In keeping with theories and practices in the field, two main skills that I aim to impart are critical thinking and creative problem-solving. I do this by requiring students to interpret the subject matter in both theory and practice through the use of case studies and discussions. This helps to foster a class culture where students are comfortable challenging traditional knowledge in an appropriate context; growing in their diversity of thought and competencies.

Finally, beyond creating competent professionals, I place a priority on the value of my students as diverse, creative, independent thinkers, and industry leaders. I welcome opportunities to counsel and mentor students in ways that encompass, as well as go beyond, my course learning objectives.

David DeVries

David DeVries, APR

Contact Information

d-devries@northwestern.edu

630-962-1383

David DeVries is a marketing manager and public relations professional with more than 25 years of experience. He is now a Sr. Communications Manager for HERE Technologies, the world’s leading global provider of maps, traffic and location data-enabling navigation, location-based services and mobile advertising. DeVries was national sports marketing public relations manager at Sprint, supporting the company’s NFL, NHL and venue sponsorships. He has been an adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University since 2010, teaching a variety of public relations courses. His paper, “Defining the characteristics of a lingering crisis: lessons from the National Zoo,” which examined the emergence of a new crisis communication category defined as the “lingering crisis,” was published by Public Relations Review. He holds a master’s degree in public relations and advertising from DePaul University.

Education

BA, Journalism: Indiana University, Bloomington
MA, PR/Advertising: DePaul University, Chicago

Relevant Work

Sr. Communications Manager, HERE Technologies
Sports PR Manager, Sprint
Adjunct Professor, DePaul University
Adjunct Professor, Loyola University

Recent Courses

MSA 406-0 : Sports Public Relations and Crisis Management

MSA 406-DL : Sports Public Relations and Crisis Management

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

Engaging and communicating with stakeholders paradoxically requires discipline and flexibility of communication professionals; thus, organizations need to maintain mutually beneficial relationships with internal and external stakeholders. On any given day, some of these stakeholders may embrace your messages - while others reject those messages outright. In teaching students about the depth of stakeholder relationships that need to be nurtured, we learn about the value of stakeholder relationships, the value of a holistic communication plan and the value of consistent messages - even when the situation at hand requires a change to your messaging over time.

Lauren Douglas

Lauren Douglas

Contact Information

lauren.douglas@northwestern.edu

Lauren Douglas is a Northwestern Wildcat through and through. After earning her undergraduate degree from the Medill School of Journalism while being a Division I student-athlete (basketball), she continued through the Masters of Sports Administration program; it was there where she took her first PR & Crisis Communication course and discovered her passion and talent for the industry. Now, Lauren is a public relations professional with experience with two of the largest brands in the sports industry. After graduating from the MSA program in 2017, Douglas immediately began as the Public Relations coordinator for the Los Angeles Dodgers where her responsibilities included media credentialing, press release writing, media guide and daily game note publication and athlete relations. She spent 3 years with the Dodgers which included two NLCS titles and two World Series appearances. In 2019, Lauren followed her passion for basketball where she began as the Broadcast Partnerships Coordinator for the Los Angeles Lakers. Her first season proved to be a whirlwind with the death of a basketball legend, shut down of the season and the Orlando Bubble, culminating with a 2019-2020 championship. She went on to work two more seasons with the Purple and Gold before deciding to make a change to work for a PR agency representing travel and consumer product clients.  Lauren is currently a Senior Publicist for Zapwater Communications in the Los Angeles office.

Education

B.S. Journalism- Northwestern University

M.S. Sports Administration- Northwestern University

Relevant Work

Public Relations Coordinator- Los Angeles Dodgers

Broadcast Partnerships Manager- Los Angeles Lakers

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

My approach to teaching is to use my real-world experience to show how important the class topics are in pursuing a career in sports. I do not look to sugarcoat my experiences, but provide a holistic picture so students can enter the sports industry as best prepared as possible. While this is my first quarter teaching, my vast experiences have provided me multiple areas of knowledge in the sports industry.

Cari Grieb

Cari Grieb

Contact Information

cari-grieb@northwestern.edu

Cari Grieb is a partner in the Banking and Financial Services Department of Chapman and Cutler LLP, where she represents lenders in large cap and middle market spaces in senior, first lien/second lien, subordinated and mezzanine financings, including asset acquisitions, leveraged buy-out transactions, and restructurings. Her transactions span a number of industries, including sports, health care, accounting, industrials, agriculture, food and consumer manufacturers and retailers, consulting and business services, education, technology, and insurance.

She has experience representing both professional teams and banks in stadium finance transactions and other sports law matters in Major League Baseball, Major League Soccer, Minor League Baseball, the National Football League, and the National Premier Soccer League.

Cari contributes her expertise to advance diversity initiatives in the legal profession and among professional sports leagues. Since 2018, she has been an Adjunct Professor at Northwestern University’s Masters in Sports Administration Program, where racial and gender diversity has been an academic focus. Cari teaches “MSA 405: Legal and Ethical Issues in Sports Management”. In addition, since 2019, she has been a Lecturer in Law at Duke Law, where she teaches “Negotiating Domestic Violence Policies and Gender Inequality Reform in Professional Sports."

She is also an advisor to the National Football League Players Association on racial and gender diversity and has published and spoken widely on both topics topics.

Cari graduated as Valedictorian, with honors, from Cornell University where she earned a B.S. in Industrial and Labor Relations and magna cum laude from Duke University School of Law, where she earned her J.D.

Recent Courses

MSA 405-0 : Legal and Ethical Issues in Sports Management

Adam Grossman

Adam Grossman

Contact Information

adam.grossman@northwestern.edu

adam.grossman@blocksixanalytics.com

LinkedIn

Twitter

Blog

Adam Grossman is Vice President, Business Insights & Analytics for Excel Sports Management (ESM). ESM Insights & Analytics is an industry leading sponsorship technology and analytics practice that works with Fortune 500 companies, global media organizations, and major professional sports properties. He is formerly the CEO, Founder Block Six Analytics (B6A) which was acquired by ESM in September 2021. He co-authored The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders For A High-Performance Industry. His work has been featured in Forbes, SportsBusiness Journal, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, and SportTechie. He also teaches at Northwestern University’s Masters of Sports Administration program.

Education

Masters of Business Administration - New York University Stern School of Business
Bachelor of Arts - Northwestern University

Relevant Work

Vice President, Business Insights & Analytics for Excel Sports Management (ESM)

Selected Publications

The Sports Strategist: Developing Leaders for a High Performance Industry
Sport Business Analytics: Using Data to Increase Revenue and Improve Operational Efficiency Communication and the Baseball Stadium: Community, Commodification, Fanship, and Memory

Recognition

Crain's 2020 Notable Entrepreneur
2020 Red Herring Top 100 North America Winner
Featured as an industry expert on CNN, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, Marketplace, Sportico, Sports Business Journal, and Sports Illustrated
Featured as a speaker or panelist for Harvard Business Analytics Program, MIT Sloan Sports Analytics Conference, SportTechie, and Sports Business Journal
GeekWire Startup to Watch
101 Top Illinois Analytics Companies

Recent Courses

MSA 401-0 : Sports Research Methods and Quantitative Analysis

MSA 401-DL : Sports Research Methods and Quantitative Analysis

Ben Gutman

Ben Gutman

Contact Information

benjamin.gutman@northwestern.edu

Ben Gutman joined DePaul University as Assistant Director of Athletic Academic Advising in July of 2016. His main duties include advising the Men's Basketball and Women's Tennis teams as well as being the director of the tutoring program. Ben is also responsible for staffing and management of more than 40 student and part time employees in the AAA. His advising and tutoring work helps to ensure that all student-athletes at DePaul are able to maximize their student-athlete experience using resources provided by AAA, the university as a whole, and opportunities within the city of Chicago. Ben created and continues to grow DePaul Athletics Service Immersion Trip and Program. Each year, student-athletes apply and are selected to go on a trip to learn and serve in communities throughout Central America and the Caribbean. The program continues back on campus as the trip participants are charged with service leadership in providing opportunities for all DePaul student-athletes to get involved in the Chicago community. Ben also works directly with other tutoring programs on campus and he serves on the DePaul Athletics Diversity, Equity and Inclusion committee as the chair of the education subcommittee and DePaul's Student-Affairs Division Assessment Committee.

Recent Courses

MSA 490-0 : Special Topics in Sports Administration

Kristin Kane Herbison

Kristin Kane Herbison

Adjunct Lecturer, Senior Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services & Student Development

Contact Information

kristin.kane@northwestern.edu

Kristin Kane Herbison joined the MSA faculty in the spring of 2021. Kane Herbison has spent all of her career in college athletics and higher education. Most recently, Kane served as the Senior Associate Director of Athletics for Academic Services and Student Development at Northwestern from the spring of 2013 to the fall of 2021. In that role, she oversaw operations of the department's academic services and student development programs, managing a team of seven full-time staff members and an intern. The Academic Services and Student Development office works to ensure that student-athletes on all 19 of Northwestern's varsity teams receive a full range of support in academic advising, time management, and life skills, goal setting, financial aid, and various other academic and developmental services needed in their pursuit of excellence on and off the field. Kane served as the main liaison from the athletics department to the academic community on campus and served on the university’s Undergraduate Council. Kane was also a member of the Department of Athletics and Recreation’s senior staff and worked as a sports administrator for the cross country and women’s tennis programs.


Prior to joining Northwestern, Kane worked at the University of Illinois for 15 years, most recently as Director of Academic Services where she managed 12 full-time counselors and two graduate assistants. She started her career as a graduate assistant in 1999 at Illinois' Irwin Academic Center before being hired as a full-time academic counselor in 2001. Throughout her time at Illinois, she had various duties including oversight of study hall and tutor programming for all teams as well as academic counseling for a variety of sports including cross country and track, softball, gymnastics, football, and men's basketball. Before her promotion to director of academic services, Kane spent eight years as the lead academic counselor for the Illinois football program.


Kane Herbison graduated magna cum laude with double majors in sociology and physical education from Loras College in Dubuque, Iowa, in 1998, where she was a member of the women’s basketball team. She obtained her master's degree in kinesiology in 2001 from Illinois, where she also worked as a teaching assistant for the Department of Kinesiology.

Recent Courses

MSA 490-0 : Special Topics in Sports Administration

Kieran Kelliher

Kieran Kelliher

Contact Information

kkelliher@northwestern.edu

LinkedIn

Kieran Kelliher serves as the VP, Finance (CFO role) for the Chicago Bulls, with a particular focus on business operations. He leads the finance and retail operations of the team, the business operations of the Windy City Bulls G League franchise, and is the Treasurer of Chicago Bulls Charities. He serves as a member of the NBA’s Risk Management Advisory Council, and previously on the NBA All-Star 2020 operating committee.

Kieran also serves on the faculty of Northwestern University as an Adjunct Lecturer, teaching ""Sports Business: Finance, Accounting & Economics"" for the Master’s in Sports Administration program, and is co-chair of the program’s admissions committee.

A licensed CPA in the state of Illinois and a member of the AICPA and Illinois CPA Society, Kieran graduated with Bachelors in both Accounting and Corporate Finance and a Masters in Accounting from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.

Kieran is also serving on the national board of directors, the executive committee, and the local Chicago council for Feed My Starving Children (FMSC). FMSC's approach is simple: children and adults hand-pack meals specifically formulated for malnourished children; the meals are sent to approximately 70 countries each year where they are used to operate orphanages, schools, clinics and other building blocks of healthy communities.

Education

Master of Accounting Science, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Bachelor of Science - Accountancy, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign
Bachelor of Science - Finance, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign

Relevant Work

VP, Finance - Chicago Bulls / Treasurer - Chicago Bulls Charities
Adjunct Lecturer, School of Professional Studies - Northwestern University
Audit Senior Manager - Deloitte & Touche, LLP

Recent Courses

MSA 404-0 : Sports Business: Finance, Accounting and Economics

MSA 404-DL : Sports Business: Finance, Accounting and Economics

Tania Kennedy

Tania Kennedy

Contact Information

taniakennedy@northwestern.edu

LinkedIn

Tania Kennedy is an adjunct instructor for Northwestern’s School of Professional Studies. She has been working in college athletics for 12 years and is currently in her 7th year at the BIG EAST Conference as the Senior Director of Sport Administration and Championships. In this role, Kennedy oversees the regular season and championships for five Olympic Sports and is responsible for scheduling, game management, and marketing. She also oversees BIG EAST championship merchandise, tournament champion gear, championship awards, and student-athlete gifts for 22 BIG EAST Olympic Sport championships. Prior to the BIG EAST, Kennedy was the Assistant Director of Championships at the Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference. She received a bachelor’s degree in Communications from Saint Peter’s University where she was a member of the women’s basketball team. She also received a Master's in Professional Studies from St. John's University.

Education

Masters in Professional Studies from St. John's University

BA in Communications from Saint Peter's University

Relevant Work

Senior Director of Sport Adminstration and Championships - BIG EAST

Director of Championships - BIG EAST

Assistant Director of Championships - Metro Atlantic Athletic Conference

Recognition

2022 John P. Stevens Hall of Honors

2014 Saint Peter's University Athletics Hall of Fame Inductee

Recent Courses

MSA 424 - Event Management for Sports

Alex Kerr

Alex Kerr

Contact Information

alexander.kerr@northwestern.edu

alex.c.kerr@gmail.com

alex@trajektory.com

alexkerr.comtrajektory.com

Alex Kerr, CEO of Trajektory, brings a blend of quantitative, strategy, and marketing expertise to his present role. Trajektory is an award winning B2B SaaS solution revolutionizing the way organizations interact and leverage their sponsorship data and insights throughout the sports, media & entertainment industry.

Prior to Trajektory, Alex oversaw growth marketing and business intelligence at Shop Your Way, an internationally acclaimed loyhalty and e-commerce platform. Prior to joining Shop Your Way, Alex helped build both a marketing analytics and business intelligence department at Monumental Sports & Entertainment, the largest integrated sports and entertainment company in the country – owns and operates the NHL Capitals, NBA Wizards, WNBA Mystics, AFL Valor, AFL Brigade, eSports Team Liquid, Capital One Arena, EagleBank Arena, Kettler Capitals Iceplex.

Alex earned a B.A. in Economics from Kenyon College and an M.B.A. from Duke University’s, The Fuqua School of Business. It was there he discovered the importance of effectively building teams and operational efficiencies.

Education

MBA, Duke University
CEU, Northwestern University
BA, Kenyon College

Relevant Work

CEO, Trajektory
Head of Growth Marketing & Business Intelligence, Shop Your Way
Director of Business Intelligence, Monumental Sports & Entertainment

Recent Courses

MSA 402-0 : Fundamentals of Sports Marketing

MSA 402-DL : Fundamentals of Sports Marketing

G. Scott Kirkpatrick

george-kirkpatrick@northwestern.edu

skirkpatrick63@gmail.com

Scott Kirkpatrick, currently of Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners, has more than 20 years of experience in the sports marketing industry. He was a senior vice president and director of Hill & Knowlton’s sports marketing practice, where he worked with Allstate, NASCAR and BCS sponsorships; the Chicago 2016 Olympic Bid; the Pittsburgh Pirates; the Tampa Bay Rays; Allianz; Adidas; and others. Prior to joining H&K, Scott was at Draft Worldwide and at Kemper Sports Marketing, where he worked on major golf tournaments, built a premier college basketball tournament and developed sports marketing programs for NutraSweet, Equal Sweetener, Fresh Look Contact Lenses, the Oprah Winfrey Show, Frontier Communications and Glenlivet. Kirkpatrick earned his MBA at Northwestern.

Education

MBA, Kellogg School of Management
BA, Middlebury College

Relevant Work

Partner, Chicago Sports & Entertainment Partners

Recent Courses

MSA 498-0 : Capstone Class

MSA 498-DL : Capstone Class

Kurt Melcher

Kurt Melcher

Contact Information

kurt.melcher@northwestern.edu

@itsfromkurt

LinkedIn

Kurt Melcher is the Executive Director of Esports at Intersport and Robert Morris University in Chicago, IL. For nearly two years, Kurt and the Intersport Esports Group have served as the NCAA’s strategic esports advisor, leading the governing body’s research of the collegiate esports community and developing frameworks for how esports could be incorporated into the NCAA model. Additionally, Kurt and the Intersport team work with NCAA member conferences to develop esports programming as well as individual universities to build their competitive esports programs, including areas such as administrative staffing and player recruitment, facility design and co-curricular initiatives.
Melcher’s work for the Intersport Esports Group delivers bold marketing solutions, business strategy, investment intelligence and original production services to brands, publishers, leagues, teams, universities and investors. The Intersport Esports Group is the driving force behind notable work for clients that include the NCAA, Warner Bros., Rocket Mortgage, Samsung, Capcom, Red Bull and Kraft Heinz.
Kurt rose to prominence in 2014, when he made Robert Morris University the first college to recognize esports as part of the athletic department and offer athletic scholarships to gamers, helping legitimize the world of collegiate esports. An athletic administrator and coach for more than 15 years, Melcher recognized the core educational elements involved in traditional sports and believes the same holds true in esports.
Kurt’s visionary program has been highlighted in a number of prominent news outlets, including The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, Washington Post, Time Magazine, ESPN, NPR, HBO Real Sports, and in the documentary film “All Work All Play.” Kurt also became a TED speaker when he presented the TED Talk “Gamers, The Rising Star of Collegiate Athletics” in 2016.

Education

University of Illinois at Chicago / Bachelor of Science

Relevant Work

Intersport - Executive Director, Gaming & Esports
Robert Morris University -Founder/Director, Varsity Esports

Selected Publications

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kcX11m1g3hs

Game Developers Conference (GDC): University Esports Governance / Leadership: Varsity Programs and the Future of Collegiate Esports on Campus

GameLab, Montevideo, Uruguay: Collegiate Esports: Redefining Collegiate Athletics

World Cyber Games, Xian, China: Gamers: Rising Stars of Collegiate Athletics

Recognition

https://time.com/3756140/video-games-varsity/
https://www.chicagomag.com/Chicago-Magazine/January-2015/Robert-Morris-League-of-Legends/ https://www.espn.com/esports/story/_/id/21634961/qa-kurt-melcher-advising-ncaa-esports
https://abcnews.go.com/Technology/video-game-athlete-college-scholarship/story?id=26757455
HBO: Real Sports, Revenge of the Nerds

Recent Courses

MSA 421

Drew Russel

Drew Russell

Contact Information

andrew.russell@northwestern.edu

Drew Russell is the vice president of sports properties at Intersport – an industry leading sports and entertainment marketing company based in Chicago. He possesses more than 16 years of experience in property development, sponsorship and event marketing. He is currently responsible for overseeing the growth and development of Intersport’s Sports Properties Division which features seven premier owned-and-operated events that are televised nationally. Russell is tasked with managing the strategic direction of the entire division and a staff that oversees corporate sales and marketing, ticketing, event operations, broadcast operations and communications. He was recently named to Sports Business Journal’s Forty Under 40 Class of 2013 honoring the most promising young executives in sports business under the age of 40. Prior to joining Intersport in 2008, Russell spent more than eight years in the experiential marketing division of WPP’s Wunderman, managing the sponsorship marketing portfolios of client’s like Sears Holdings and Goodyear. Russell began his career in the programming department at ESPN in Bristol, CN. He is a 1996 graduate of the School of Journalism and Mass Communication at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and a 2011 graduate of Northwestern University’s Masters in Sports Administration program.

Recent Courses

MSA 498-0 : Capstone Class

MSA 498-DL : Capstone Class

Chris Russo

Christopher Russo

Contact Information

christopher.russo@northwestern.edu

crusso@fifthgenerationsports.com

Christopher Russo is the CEO of Fifth Generation Sports, a boutique advisory firm focused on the intersection of sports, media, and technology. He is a recognized industry leader and innovator, having achieved success in high profile corporate roles at the NFL, NBC, and New Line Cinema. He is also an accomplished entrepreneur, having founded the largest independent digital sports company of its time (Fantasy Sports Ventures), which he ultimately sold to USA TODAY.
More recently, Mr. Russo served as a Managing Director at investment bank Houlihan Lokey, leading the firm’s Sports M&A practice. He was named a Variety Elite Dealmaker and completed some of the most groundbreaking transactions in the sports industry, including the sale of Sports Illustrated to Authentic Brands Group.
Previously, Mr. Russo served as Senior Vice President, New Media and Publishing, for the National Football League. In that role, he had broad P&L responsibility of the digital media and publishing business units and oversaw all day-to-day operations, including content, advertising sales, marketing, and business development. He completed digital media transactions with eBay, Yahoo, Sprint, CBS Sports, AOL, and Sirius, among others.
Mr. Russo holds a B.A. from Northwestern University and an MBA from the Harvard Business School.

Education

Harvard Business School, MBA
Northwestern University, BA

Relevant Work

CEO, Fifth Generation Sports
Managing Director, Houlihan Lokey
Adjunct Instructor, Northwestern University
Adjunct Instructor, NYU CEO, Fantasy Sports Ventures

Selected Publications

SportBusiness Finance Weekly Podcast

Recognition

Sports Business Journal 40 under 40 Hall of Fame Member
Variety Elite Dealmaker, 2018

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

My Digital Media in Sports course focuses on the latest technology and media trends that impact the world of sports. Each year, the course is extensively updated to reflect the most recent digital media developments and incorporate the most influential companies and players in the industry.

Jason Sacks

Jason Sacks

Contact Information

jason.sacks@northwestern.edu

LinkedIn

@jrsacks22

Jason Sacks is the Chief Development Officer for Positive Coaching Alliance, a non-profit focused on providing character-building sports experiences to youth and high school athletes. PCA partners with local schools and youth organizations to conduct workshops and provide essential education, tools and resources for administrators, coaches, parents and student-athletes. In his current role, Sacks oversees all revenue for the organization, including fundraising, national partnerships with the NBA, MLB, Under Armour/Curry Brand and Deloitte. Prior to taking on this role, Sacks was the executive director of PCA’s Chicago chapter. Before joining PCA in 2006, Sacks worked in sports television as a production assistant and segment producer for IMG's production company, TWI. Sacks received his master’s degree in Sports Management from New York University. While studying at NYU, Sacks was the assistant coach of the men’s basketball team and worked in the athletic department. For his undergraduate work, Sacks attended Syracuse University and was a broadcast journalism major.

Education

Syracuse University, BS Communications (Broadcast Journalism)
New York University, MS Sports Management
Indiana University - The Fund Raising School at the Lilly Family School of Philanthropy Field Of StudyPrinciples and Techniques of Fundraising

Relevant Work

Chief Development Officer for Positive Coaching Alliance

Selected Publications

Podcasts

https://devzone.positivecoach.org/browse/%22Power%20of%20Positive%22?f%5B0%5D=bundle%3Aaudio

Recognition

https://twitter.com/GMA/status/1417821452850630658
https://www.linkedin.com/business/sales/blog/strategy/why-effort-based-metrics-are-more-important-than-you-think?_lrsc=71172366-5763-468d-881b-ad319614b9d7&utm_source=social&utm_medium=leap&utm_campaign=linkedin&src=li-leap
https://positivecoach.org/the-pca-blog/mlb-pca-partnership-feature-by-fox-sports/
https://positivecoach.org/the-pca-blog/jr-nba-parent-initiative-tips-off-with-the-currys-and-pca/

Recent Courses

MSA 403-0 : Management and Organization of Sports

MSA 403-DL : Management and Organization of Sports

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

-Creating meaningful relationships and connections amongst classmates, peers and individuals in the sports business community
-Class sessions are engaging, with high level of class participation and collaboration/group projects
-Importance of networking in the sports business field

Alex Saratsis

Alex Saratsis

Contact Information

alexandros.saratsis@northwestern.edu

Alex Saratsis serves as co-managing director of Octagon Basketball. In his role, Saratsis oversees the global marketing and talent management agency’s industry-leading basketball division, which represents more than 40 of the most exciting players in the game including two-time NBA MVP Giannis Antetokounmpo, two-time NBA MVP Stephen Curry, and two-time WNBA MVP Elena Delle Donne. Alongside co-managing director Jeff Austin, the pair oversees $1 Billion in active player contracts. With 20-years of experience in the industry, Saratsis is also responsible for management of Octagon’s international presence and building key relationships for the agency around the world. In addition, Saratsis directly represents a collection of the agency’s leading clients, including Antetokounmpo, Miami Heat C Bam Adebayo, and Los Angeles Lakers G Dennis Schroder. In December of 2020, Saratsis negotiated more than $450 million in player contracts, which included the largest contract in NBA history: a five-year, $228 million supermax extension for Antetokounmpo with the Milwaukee Bucks, and a five-year, $200 million max extension for Adebayo with the Miami Heat. Prior to joining Octagon in 2009, Saratsis managed international operations for CSMG. Saratsis began his career as a player representative at Edge Sports International. Saratsis graduated from Northwestern University in 2002.

Recent Courses

MSA 490-0 : Special Topics in Sports Administration

Bill Seiden

William S. Seiden

Contact Information

se@northwestern.edu

se2@comcast.net

William Seiden was Chief Financial Officer for The Clint Murchison Jr. Interests, including the Texas Stadium Corporation, home of the Dallas Cowboys, from 1977 until his retirement in 1994. He participated in acquisitions and divestitures of numerous companies and was part of a two-man team that sold the Dallas Cowboys to "Bum" Bright in 1985.

From 1996 to 2005, he was an executive fellow at Northwestern, participating in fireside chats and pro bono teaching of students interested in business careers. He has taught Accounting and Finance in the School of Professional Studies at Northwestern for the past fifteen years.

Bill currently is also an elected trustee for the Village of Deerfield, a member and past director of the Financial Executives International, and a member of the advisory committee of the "Illinois Center for the Book", an affiliate of the Library of Congress. He is a past member of the Board of Directors of
the Lincoln Park Zoo.

Bill graduated with distinction from the University of Michigan and is a Certified Public Accountant.

Education

BBA(Accounting) with distinction, Univ. of Michigan
Certified Public Accountant (Illinois)

Relevant Work

Clint W. Murchison, Jr. Interests, Dallas Texas Mangood Corp., VP Finance, CFO and Director
The Pacific Coast Co., VP, Treasurer and Director
Arthur Andersen & Co., Chicago IL
U.S. Navy Audit Agency, LTJG - military obligation

Recognition

Beta Gamma Sigma - Nat'l. Bus. Admin. Honorary
Beta Alpha Psi - National Accounting Honorary
Phi Kappa Phi - National Scholastic Honorary

Recent Courses

MSA 404-0 : Sports Business: Finance, Accounting and Economics

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

I believe that a basic knowledge of Accounting and Finance is very important to those in any management position, including those associated with Sports Management.

I achieve this with students through lectures, problem solving, group discussions, group projects and guest lectures.

Shawn Sullivan

Shawn Sullivan

Contact Information

shawn.sulivan@northwestern.edu

@shawnksullivan

www.thevoiceforgood.com

Shawn K. Sullivan was elevated to deputy athletics director for marketing and strategic initiatives at Ball State University in December of 2021 following stints as assistant athletic director and associate athletic director. In that role, he oversees all marketing, communications, ticketing, licensing, and fan experience efforts for the Cardinals and serves on the athletic director’s executive team. He began his tenure in Muncie as the director of marketing and promotions in May 2014. In addition, he is the founder of The Voice for Good, LLC., a company providing voice solutions to companies and organizations that contributes a portion of compensation to mental health support efforts. From July 2011 to July 2013, Sullivan was the director of sales and marketing for the Northwestern University athletic department. Sullivan’s responsibilities included the creation, implementation, and evaluation of all internal and external marketing and advertising initiatives for the men’s basketball program, in addition to providing marketing support to all Wildcat sport teams. During the previous four years, as assistant athletic director at UIC, Sullivan oversaw marketing and game operations for all 18 of the Flames‘ programs. In 2010, Sullivan was appointed to oversee the ticket operations for the Flames as well. Other duties at UIC included licensing, community outreach, corporate sales and media relations consultation, the direction of ambassador/student workforce, along with working closely with the Student Athlete Advisory and Life Skills Committees.

For two years, Sullivan served as the Horizon League representative to the National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators. Prior to being elevated to assistant athletic director, he was the director of campus marketing and game operations for two years. Before returning to his alma mater, Sullivan was the community relations manager for the Chicago Rush arena football club from 2003-2005. He directed all community initiatives, including youth football camp, reading, mascot, and kids’ club programs. In addition, Sullivan authored Web site features, game recaps, program features, press releases, and pitch letters while cultivating media contacts. Sullivan was selected to work ArenaBowl XIX for the Arena Football League.

From late 2001-2003, Sullivan worked in the sports information office at UIC--first as sports information assistant before being promoted to assistant sports information director. During his collegiate years, Sullivan apprenticed with the Flames, Rush, CLTV, and CAPRI Events while also working at Vertel’s, a running specialty store, and with Clif Bar. The Kankakee, Illinois native graduated in 2001 from UIC with a bachelor’s degree in Communications. He was captain and multiple letter award winner for the Flames cross country and track & field teams after winning the Class A high school state championship in the 1600 meter run for Bishop McNamara. Sullivan, via The Voice for Good, currently performs public address duties for the USL’s Indy Eleven, the WNBA’s Indiana Fever and the NBA’s Indiana Pacers. Additionally, he provides event announcing for local and regional triathlon/road racing events along with various voiceover opportunities. An adjunct faculty member at Northwestern University and Roosevelt University, he resides in Indianapolis with his wife, Molly, along with their children, Liam, Quinn, Mary Kate, and James.

Education

BA, Communications - University of Illinois at Chicago

Relevant Work Experience

Deputy Athletics Director,  Ball State University

Director of Sales and Marketing, Northwestern University Athletics

Assistant Athletic Director, UIC

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

Strategic and empathetic through accountability with a focus on current trends and opportunities throughout the college athletics enterprise.

Michael Thiessen

Contact Information

michael.thiessen@northwestern.edu

Mike Thiessen is a sports and entertainment, finance and facility specialist. He has extensive experience in financial structuring and placement, strategic planning, transactional representation and project management. Thiessen has provided project development services including studies, market research, financial analysis, alternative financing structures, naming rights agreements and strategic planning. Previously, he worked extensively within the political system including campaign management and congressional staff experience. Thiessen was an investment banker at Mesirow Financial, where he specialized in the financing of public/private partnerships and economic development projects. He has worked on several projects including Toyota Park, Dell Diamond, Whataburger Field and FedEx Field. He recieved his master's degree in management, finance and marketing from Atkinson Graduate School of Management, Willamette University.

Recent Courses

MSA 457-DL : Front Office Operations

Cyntrice Thomas

Cyntrice Thomas

Contact Information

cyntrice.thomas@northwestern.edu

Dr. Thomas received her Bachelor’s of Arts in Political Science and International Affairs from Florida State University. She then earned a Juris Doctor from Tulane University in New Orleans, LA. After practicing law for a few years in Virginia and Washington, DC, she obtained her Ph.D. in Kinesiology with an emphasis in Sport Management from the University of Georgia.
Her overall interest lies in the application of law in the sport industry. The focus of her research centers on the application of antitrust law and labor law in professional and intercollegiate sports and in identifying and analyzing patterns in judicial decisions involving professional sports leagues and governing bodies of sports. In addition, she is also interested in intercollegiate sports and the rights and interests of student-athletes and their academic success.

Recent Courses

MSA 405-DL : Legal and Ethical Issues in Sports Management

Tanesha Wade

Tanesha Wade

Contact Information

Tanesha.Wade@northwestern.edu

LinkedIn

Tanesha Wade joined the Chicago Bears Football Club in June 2013 as director of events and entertainment. Her department oversees the development, coordination and execution of the team’s fan events, game presentation, production and entertainment. Wade sets the vision and creative direction and works closely with all areas to engage fans throughout the year. Wade’s role expands beyond gameday and the touch points overseen by her team appeal to an increasingly diverse and youthful fan base and ultimately grow fan avidity for the club. Under Wade’s leadership, the team successfully launched multiple large-scale events and initiatives resulting in increased sponsorship opportunities and an evolved fan experience. Prior to joining the Bears, Tanesha worked for University of Minnesota Athletics Department as the director of premium seating and events the Chicago Rush Arena Football Team as director of operations. Wade intersects passion with purpose through commitment to advocacy and leadership. In addition to her current role, Wade serves as co-chair of the club’s Diversity & Inclusion Council and holds leadership, advisory and mentorship roles with multiple organizations. Wade holds a bachelor of science degree from Oregon State University where she was a member of the women’s basketball team.

Education

BS, Business Administration / Oregon State University

Relevant Work

Director, Events & Entertainment, Chicago Bears Football Club (2013 - current)
Director, Premium Seating & Events, University of Minnesota Athletics (2009-2013)

Recent Courses

MSA 424-DL : Event Management for Sports

Teaching Approach and Philosophy

My approach to teaching is centered around collaboration. Providing students with the opportunity to both share and develop individually while growing collectively summarizes my philosophy. Allowing students to participate, learn and produce in a group setting while considering varying perspectives throughout the experience empowers development. In addition, creating space for reflection to support and encourage evolution and improvement is also a pertinent part of my approach.

Jill Weinberg

Jill Weinberg

Contact Information

jweinberg@u.northwestern.edu

Jill Weinberg is a research associate at the American Bar Foundation and a PhD candidate in sociology at Northwestern. Her current research focuses on the sociolegal construction of consent through a comparative case study of communities that engage in consensual violence. Her academic writings have appeared in numerous publications, including University of Virginia Law Review, In Brief, Southern California Law Review and Sociological Methods & Research. In college she was a Division I scholarship athlete on the women’s rowing team. She has a JD from Seattle University School of Law, an MA in social sciences from the University of Chicago and an MA in sociology from Northwestern.

Recent Courses

MSA 460-DL : Deviance and Violence in Sport

LaKeisha Marsh

LaKeisha Marsh

Contact Information

lakeisha.marsh@northwestern.edu

LaKeisha Marsh, a partner at Akerman, LLP. serves as the chair of Akerman’s Government Affairs and Public Policy Practice Group, leading a bipartisan team of professionals providing strategic counsel on policy and regulatory issues in the United States. With a comprehensive legal background serving the higher education sector, including as an NCAA staff member, LaKeisha also serves as the chair of Akerman's Higher Education and Collegiate Athletics Practice. She represents colleges, universities, and related institutions on federal and state regulatory compliance, accreditation, state licensure, institutional governance, and collegiate sports and NCAA compliance-related matters. She has structured and executed a broad range of transactional, restructuring, finance, and corporate governance matters for educational institutions. She holds numerous leadership positions at the firm, including a member of the firm's Board of Directors and Co-Chair of its Women Initiative Network. LaKeisha received her Bachelors of Arts in Political Science from Clark Atlanta University and her law degree from Loyola University Chicago School of Law.

Education

Juris Doctorate - Loyola University Chicago School of Law
Bachelor of Arts - Clark Atlanta University

Relevant Work

Partner - Akerman, LLP

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