Skip to content

Jeremy Foley joins OHIO’s sports administration team as executive fellow

Tuesday, January 9 2018 12:00am

After recent retirement, Foley returns hOUme to inspire and support OHIO students and faculty.

He’s recognized nationally as an award-winning athletic director for the University of Florida Gators, but Jeremy Foley holds a few more titles at Ohio University. Foley is a 1976 Master of Sports Administration alumnus who has continued to give back through an MSA scholarship and was awarded the Ohio University Alumni Association’s Medal of Merit in 2008. After a successful career in college athletics, OHIO’s College of Business welcomed Foley back to campus as the AECOM Center for Sports Administration Sport Business Executive Fellow.

“He’s been a professional and personal mentor to me since ‘93,” said Heather Lawrence-Benedict, associate dean of graduate programs and Robert H. Freeman professor for OHIO’s College of Business. “That’s how I know Jeremy’s partnership as an executive fellow is a game changer for our students.”

Through his executive fellowship, Foley will be mentoring six Master of Sports Administration (MSA) students and three Professional MSA (PMSA) students. The mentorship program includes bi-monthly phone calls, meetings on the Athens Campus and support for academic projects.

“Without my MSA from OHIO, I wouldn’t have had the career that I was fortunate enough to have,” said Foley. “It feels great to be back on campus. Students come from all walks of life with different hopes and dreams, but they all go to class very purposefully, and I am a big believer in having that type of passion.”

In partnership with Lawrence-Benedict, Foley recently co-taught an intercollegiate athletics seminar for MSA and PMSA students. For the first time, all Ohio University sports administration graduate students gathered for an inspiring and interactive lecture.

“It’s truly an honor to be able to learn from one of the most recognized athletic directors,” said Pim Thirati, current MBA/MSA student and 2017-18 fellow. “As someone who’s pursuing a career in college athletics, I look up to mentors not just to learn about the business side of the industry, but to learn how to build a championship culture on and off the field, which Jeremy established at the University of Florida.” 

Through mentorship and teaching, Foley’s career experience is providing OHIO’s Sports Administration Department with a fresh look into today’s competitive sports industry. During the recent seminar, Foley opened up about his unexpected journey in becoming an athletic director, taught students the core business competencies needed to excel in intercollegiate athletics, and examined a variety of current issues within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). 

“It’s one thing to teach facts; it’s another to teach business ethics,” said Lawrence-Benedict. “Everyone is under investigation in college athletics, but Jeremy showed us that even an institution competing at the highest competitive level can be led by an athletic director that has an unwavering commitment to operating the right way.”   

This was the first but certainly not the last opportunity that OHIO students and faculty will learn from Foley’s experience. As executive fellow, Foley will continue to guest lecture and support faculty by enhancing course content as it relates to his expertise. Foley will be back on campus this spring with a focus on providing value to undergraduate students.

“He has more than 40 years of leadership in the industry, and 25 of those years as an athletic director. Incorporating his insight into our curriculum gives our students an edge over those they’ll be competing against for jobs and better prepares them for careers after graduation, whether in intercollegiate athletics or any segment of the sport industry,” said Lawrence-Benedict. 

And it shows. OHIO’s MSA program continues to lead the way in sports education and is consistently ranked as the best postgraduate sports program in the world by SportBusiness International. Through experiences and professional networking within the AECOM Center for Sports Administration, nearly all graduates find employment by the time of graduation.

Better yet, OHIO’s sports administration programs are building skilled professionals and a Bobcat network that inspires alumni to give back, including Thirati.  

“To see someone like Jeremy Foley give back to the program, through multiple ways, inspires me to do the same after I graduate from OHIO. We’re all very excited to learn more from his insights over the next few months and to be a part of his legacy here,” she explained.