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Sports Administration Institute

St. Thomas University’s Spo Ad Program is considered one of the top programs in the nation. Many of the 1400 successful STU Spo Ad Alumni work in the sports industry throughout the nation and the world. Our alumni sports industry leaders include top executives in professional and college sports, stadium operations, sports marketing, sports journalism and athlete representation.

Some of our successful Spo Ad Alumni in South Florida include Andy Elisburg, VP of Basketball Operations for the Miami Heat; Jeff Craney, VP of Marketing for the Miami Heat; Sean Flynn, VP of Marketing for the Miami Marlins; and Blake James, Director of Athletics at the University of Miami. Nationally, we have many highly placed alumni in the MLB, NFL, NBA, NHL, NASCAR, PGA, LPGA and WTA, etc. We count among our Spo Ad success stories Jim Hendry, special assistant for New York Yankees GM Brian Cashman; Al Avila, Senior VP of the Detroit Tigers; Paul Mainieri, Head Baseball Coach for the LSU Tigers – World College Baseball Winners in 2009; and Michael Kelly, Chief Operating Officer for the Bowl Championship Series.

What makes our Spo Ad Program unique, besides highly qualified professors, is a well-established internship program. South Florida is one of the most sports industry rich areas of the country, with four major sports franchises and the PGA; the LPGA; Sony Tennis; NASCAR, etc. Our students, because of our well-placed Alumni, are able to seek internships all over the country leading NCAA Division I athletic programs as well as any other sports industry. Additionally, St. Thomas University’s Spo Ad program is able to bring top industry speakers into the classroom. 

The STU Spo Ad Program is located in St. Thomas University’s Fernandez Family Center for Leadership and Wellness (FFC) which was dedicated in September of 2009. Both the program’s classroom and faculty offices are headquartered in the Fernandez Center under the direction of the FFC director. Spo Ad students oversee the daily operations of the Center and help coordinate the needs of all of the athletic teams. 

At this juncture, the School of Business  is poised to launch the Institute for Sports Administration.  Because of the Spo Ad Program’s long history of success, exceptional Alumni base and strong areas of competencies, we are intent on developing a partner Institute. The Institute for Sports Administration (IFSA) will offer certificate and non-credit courses. It will expand to meet the continuing instructional needs of sports industry professionals.  There will be a strong research component as well as ongoing educational forums with national experts in the field. 

The Spo Ad Program already has in place an Advisory Council of outstanding sports executives. These leadership volunteers have been working with Dean Villamil, Dr. Jan Bell (who has headed the Program for almost 30 years) and STU Faculty (Dr. Ted Abernethy and Dr. Seok-Ho Song) to create and implement the plan for the new Institute. 

STU’s Spo Ad Program is a launching pad for leaders in the Sports Industry by developing both practical and visionary instructional programs and experiential learning opportunities that meet the educational needs of our students and the changing mandates of the corporate community.

  • The Institute for Sports Administration (IFSA) aspires to be the national leader in the development of sports professionals who are transformative in their approach to their industry.  

  • The IFSA will collaborate with various stakeholders such as  major sports teams and leagues, sports marketing and sponsorship companies; sports facilities; and American and international  universities  to better understand their needs and to foster research, development  and dissemination of  best practices in the field of  Sports Administration.

  • The IFSA will advance the professionalism and integrity of the Sports Industry by working with international, national and local professional organizations to set high standards for the Industry and to foster youth leadership development.