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Michael Alford named CEO of Seminole Boosters

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Michael Alford’s extensive experience in college athletics and the NFL have shaped a diverse background as he takes on a new role: CEO of Seminole Boosters, Inc.

The boosters officially announced the hiring of Alford, who has been Central Michigan’s athletics director for three years. Alford will succeed Andy Miller, who has led the boosters since 1975.

Alford, 51, has experiences that should prove valuable to the boosters:

He served as Oklahoma’s senior associate athletics director for administration and development from 2012-17. He was a critical piece of a $160 million end zone facility project and capital campaigns in football and basketball.

Alford also was the Dallas Cowboys’ senior director of corporate partnerships and sales from 2008-12.

He was the general manager of Crimson Tide Sports Marketing from 2004-08.

Alford has also worked in various roles at ESPN, Southern Cal, the University of Cincinnati and the Cincinnati Bengals.

And he also understands the challenges of being a student-athlete. Alford played baseball at Mississippi State and UAB, earning his degree in communication arts in 1993. He earned his master’s degree in athletics administration from Arkansas in 1995.

“We are excited to welcome Michael Alford to the FSU family,” said FSU President John Thrasher. “As a former student-athlete and a respected leader who has held positions in both Division I athletics and the NFL, Michael brings a unique perspective and a wealth of experience to the Seminole Boosters. He has a strong vision for fundraising and membership, and that will build on our culture of excellence and lead us into the future.”

Alford will lead the fundraising arm of Florida State University Athletics, which engages fans, alumni and loyal supporters in order to generate financial contributions for the purpose of enriching the overall educational and athletic experience for over 500 student-athletes participating in FSU’s 20 intercollegiate programs.  

Thanks to the generosity of 15,000 donors, fans, and corporate partners, FSU is the top-funded athletic department in the ACC and competes for conference and national championships in every sport – claiming national titles in football (2013), women’s soccer (2014 and ’18) and softball (2018) in the last decade. In the fiscal year 2018-2019, Seminole Boosters supported FSU athletics by raising $101 million to help cover the cost of scholarships, maintain and upgrade some of the best collegiate facilities in the nation and provide our student-athletes with academic and medical services that give them the winning edge in the classroom and in competition.

“Though bittersweet because of the great leadership and relationships we have built here at Central Michigan, Laura and I could not be more enthusiastic about joining the FSU community,” said Alford.  “To lead the premiere fundraising organization in college sports was an opportunity that excited me professionally.“

Alford is credited with leading Central Michigan during the most successful fundraising period in its athletics history. He has been the driving force behind The Chippewa Champions Center that is under construction and will serve as the home to the Chippewa’s football operations, strength and conditioning, sports medicine and several other units. Other highlights from Alford’s time at CMU include renegotiating CMU Athletics’ apparel contract, resulting in a 600 percent increase in revenue, spearheading an all-time high in Chippewa Athletic Fund memberships and overseeing the department’s all-time fundraising record in 2018-19 that eclipsed the mark set in 2017-18 by 50 percent.

“The CEO Search Committee completed a six-month search process, and yesterday our Executive Committee approved Michael Alford as our next CEO,” said Bob Davis, chair of the Board of Directors of Seminole Boosters, Inc. “Michael has worked for some of the top sports programs in the country, both professional and collegiate. He is an incredibly successful fundraiser and brings experience as an athletic director, which will make our relationship with athletics through the FSUAA even stronger and will benefit both organizations.”

Davis said today is the fruition of a process that began in 2010 when the Booster Board and Miller began discussion on transition planning with Miller planing to retire in 2020.

“They put a plan in place and a process we would go through — a national search — to find his replacement and it’s been a very successful process,” Davis said. “We had a qualified inside candidate (Executive Vice President Greg Hulen) and several outstanding outside candidates to consider. When you name the top programs in the country, Michael has made them moree successful than they were when he got there.”

“We are grateful to Andy Miller for over 45 years of leadership and vision that he has provided Seminole Boosters. The organization that he has built and led makes us unique in collegiate sports and is a big reason our position drew an incredible amount of interest from all over the country.”

A baseball student-athlete at Mississippi State University and the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alford earned a bachelor’s degree in communication arts in 1993 from UAB. He completed his master’s degree in athletics administration at the University of Arkansas in 1995.

Alford’s wife, Laura, played volleyball at Hawaii and coached at Cincinnati and UCI. They have three daughters, Audrey, Ashley and Anna Leigh.

Miller will work side-by-side over the next year with Alford as a consultant to the boosters, helping in the transition in leadership.

“I am very pleased with the selection of Michael, and I know he is going to do an outstanding job,” Miller said.  “His background both as a fundraiser and athletics administrator is so essential in today’s environment He is the right person for the job, and it gives me some personal reassurance that the organization and school that I love will be in good hands.”

Comments

  1. Jerry Kutz Reply

    I think the Seminole Boosters and Athletics did a good job in the transition planning process and in a difficult choice between a qualified internal guy and an external candidate.
    1. The process began 10 years ago when the board asked Andy how much longer he planned to work and together they began the process of transition planning. Five years ago, Andy asked myself and others for our plans and we began grooming or hiring candidates to fill our roles.
    2. FSU hired an outside search firm to look at candidates including several internal candidates. FSU would have been justified in choosing the most-qualified internal candidate, Greg Hulen, an FSU grad with extensive experience at Tennessee as well as FSU. But the committee was understandably impressed with the external candidate’s resume which includes a whose who of college and pro programs. Choosing an external candidate with Alford’s experience should play well with those who think FSU needs to look outside.
    I have it on good authority that Alford has already reached out to Hulen to let him know he’s a valued Seminole Booster employee and one he’s looking forward to working with.
    3. I like the fact Alford has been a student-athlete and an athletic director. He’ll work closely with Athletic Director David Coburn and when the time comes for Coburn to retire, Alford may be a legitimate candidate for what will be a national search for FSU’s next athletic director.

  2. Robert Hughes Reply

    you are more “in the know ” about Boosters than other journalist. What is the chance Hulen stays?

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      Hi Robert,
      Greg loves FSU and will stay. The Seminole Booster board let him know he is valued and have asked him to stay on. The first phone call Mike Alford made was to Greg to let him know how valuable he considers him. I had a conversation with Greg prior to the release and while disappointed he was choice 1B, he is eager to help Alford lead the Boosters to fund the program. Greg can help as he served as Executive VP over the last three years and will provide Alford valuable background to move forward faster. The dynamic will be important and not as predictable. If Alford is what I’ve heard he is as a leader, he will find a highly motivated staff Greg included. The Booster staff are almost 100 percent FSU grads who care deeply about the challenges we face and will get behind a leader with a clear vision.
      The Booster Chairman Bob Davis was asked to serve another year, which I think is smart too in the transition.
      Alford will find resource in David Coburn too.
      If I was still in the Booster office I would feel energized which is especially important with an unprecedented challenge for all of college sports.
      Hope that helps,
      Jerry

  3. Robert Hughes Reply

    Also, I’m shocked we raise more annually than UNC. I just assumed they had people donating extreme sums of money just to watch basketball.

    • Jerry Kutz Reply

      When you think of fundraising you usually think about what Boosters call the Annual Fund. Those are Booster memberships (Golden Chief, Silver Chief, Tomahawk, etc) associated with your ticket purchase. Clemson has always done better than FSU in that regard. The second type of fundraising is major gifts, where the Boosters have excelled over the past 20 years with one capital project after another in a building boom with expansion of Doak, indoor practice facility, apartment complex for football and new facilities for most every sport. In addition to those two traditional funding means, Seminole Boosters may be among the best in the country at generating what I will call “non-traditional” revenue with coaches clubs, revenues from college town, the champions club and other non-traditional sources.

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