This may not be your typical THSADA spotlight, but I am very honored that Kathy and Rusty asked me to introduce myself and tell you all a little bit about my background and how I help the THSADA. I helped create and currently maintain this website – thsada.com – from a technical perspective. How I got here is likely one of the most circuitous paths you can imagine…
I studied Sport Management with an emphasis in marketing at Bowling Green State University. My first “real world” experience was my internship with the St. Petersburg Devil Rays in 1998, a minor league affiliate at the time for the expansion Tampa Bay Devil Rays. I would equate working in minor league baseball to the role of an athletic director: You do it ALL, the entry-level pay is very low, and you work VERY long hours. But it was through this experience that I found a true passion of mine – working with computers, websites and the Internet. I still remember the day my GM asked me to create a website for the ball club. I had never done anything close to it, nor did I have the proper training, but I was certainly up for learning it on my own and accepting the challenge. That experience was really the fist stepping stone for me to continue doing this type of work for the Detroit Pistons for six years. I believe I got in at the perfect time as the Internet world was really just starting the blow up and I was able to learn as I went, just like all of the other “experts” in the field who were adopting the newest trends and technology.
When my wife and I decided it was time to move back home closer to family in Ohio, I was fortunate that a very similar role was open with the Cleveland Cavaliers. I worked behind the scenes on cavs.com, providing fans around the world content of “The Chosen One” in his first stint with the Wine & Gold. Working in professional sports for an owner who fully believes in digital allowed me to grow professionally for the seven years I was with the team. I did things I never I imagined I would – from recording video interviews of LeBron James in the locker room to posting Dan Gilbert’s famous letter after “The Decision” to creating CavFanatic.com – a niche social network just for Cavs fans.
But as my wife and I decided to start a family, I knew working the long hours in professional sports would be difficult. I knew I was ready for the next chapter. I joined Home Team Marketing in 2013 and one of my first projects was to help THSADA redesign their website. Home Team Marketing is the 2017 State Conference Title Sponsor this year and in addition to the assistance with the website, one of our major initiatives is a digital ticketing solution for high schools. I’ve worked closely with Rusty and Kathy for the last few years and it’s been great learning about one of the best run Athletic Director associations in the country. I would actually call Kathy a friend before a colleague because she has made me feel so very welcomed into the THSADA family. Much of what I do is behind the scenes which is why you have likely not heard of me before today. However, I do hope to meet you all face to face one day at an upcoming conference or an event. I am proud to be affiliated with the THSADA.
Hope to see you around!
Digital Consultant – Home Team Marketing
Owner – Lillibridge Digital, LLC