|Position:||Vice President for University Athletics and AD|
|Other Position:||HIRED JANUARY OF 2014|
|Hometown:||Los Angeles, Calif.|
|Major:||B.A. Political Science|
Ray Anderson was named Arizona State University’s Vice President for University Athletics and Athletics Director on Jan. 9, 2014, and has quickly begun to redefine the collegiate athletics landscape over the course of his tenure at ASU.
“At ASU we have three priorities for our athletic director,” said University President Dr. Michael Crow, “help our student-athletes maximize their academic achievement and ensure they graduate on time; win; and win within the rules. Ray has the skills, experience and enthusiasm to accomplish those goals. Under his leadership, ASU student-athletes will continue to perform at the highest level both on the field and in the classroom. Ray will also play an important role in the university’s campaign to improve and expand its sports facilities through the development of the ASU Athletic Facilities District.”
While national trends lean toward downsizing athletics departments and eliminating non-revenue generating sporting programs, Anderson has made it his mission to not only add NCAA Division I sports at Arizona State, but expand educational and scholarship opportunities for future Sun Devil student-athletes.
In November 2014, Anderson announced the addition of the Men’s Ice Hockey program, which was made possible through a record-setting $32 million donation, the largest in Sun Devil Athletics history. This gift provided mechanisms to fund the addition of both women’s lacrosse and women’s triathlon, which were both announced in the fall of 2015. The addition of these programs not only helps Arizona State maintain equity among scholarships, but also creates new opportunities to attract and retain diverse talent, both academic and athletically.
Anderson has also clearly defined his expectations for Arizona State to be nationally competitive in all 25 varsity programs, and has parlayed this vision into a number of world-class head-coaching hires unseen at the collegiate level, including USA Swimming Coach Bob Bowman, a hall of famer and mentor to the world’s most decorated Olympian, to head up the men and women’s swimming program, Zeke Jones, USA Wrestling’s National Freestyle Coach, to take over the wrestling program, Bobby Hurley, one of the most decorated college basketball players in history, to coach the men’s basketball program, and Tracy Smith, a two-time conference coach of the year and experienced fundraiser, to revitalize the baseball program.
Anderson is in the midst of an athletics’ facilities renaissance with the $256 million reinvention of Sun Devil Stadium and the University land development project known as the Athletic Facilities District or The District. The District is comprised of 330 acres of ASU-owned land that the University plans to lease long term to developers, while Sun Devil Athletics will receive annual payments in-lieu of property tax traditionally paid on privately owned land. Anderson, along with University officials, is leading the charge to reinvent Sun Devil Stadium, currently in Phase II of three, into a community facility and use the 55,000-plus-seat venue to generate additional revenue for ASU. The Sun Devil Stadium 365 Reinvention seeks to blend athletics, student life, and the community into an interdisciplinary facility that will have utility beyond six or seven days a year. In addition, Anderson oversaw the baseball program’s celebrated move into Phoenix Municipal Stadium, and the men’s and women’s golf programs transition to Papago Golf Course.
The ‘Sun Devil Way’, a mission statement that encompasses the goals of athletics at Arizona State – Sun Devils Win, Sun Devils Graduate, Sun Devils Serve, Sun Devils are for Life, and Sun Devils compete with Passion and Character - has served as the template for Anderson’s leadership philosophy. He has placed a strong emphasis on student-athlete development with a number of unique and creative initiatives, including the creation of the Senior Championship Life Experience program, which launched with a special showing of the play ‘Black Angels Over Tuskegee’ at ASU’s Galvin Playhouse in January 2016.
Positioning Sun Devil Athletics as a community asset has stayed at the front of Anderson’s strategic plan and he has led a number of unprecedented community initiatives, including the creation of the Honor Row for military veterans at a number of Sun Devil facilities. With an expectation of 100 percent participation in community service by Sun Devil student-athletes, coaches and staff, Sun Devil Athletics participated in 105 community service projects for a total of 6,836 hours and 252,109 community members served during 2015. Understanding the importance of building fan affinity, Anderson created the Sun Devil Caravan when he arrived in Tempe to reward Sun Devil Nation’s loyalty and enthusiasm. The caravan brings the Sun Devil Athletics experience directly to the fans and allows Sun Devil Nation to connect one-on-one with coaches, student-athletes, and administrators.
Anderson has implemented an innovative business model at Arizona State to foster growth and to create sustainable revenue sources for Sun Devil Athletics. Less than a year into his tenure, Anderson negotiated an industry-leading apparel partnership with adidas in December of 2014. The eight-year, $38M agreement not only set provisions for wholesale apparel, but adidas also provided additional funding for marketing, facility improvements, marching band and spirit squad apparel. Anderson also strategically eliminated third-party partnerships and aligned Sun Devil Athletics’ ticketing and multimedia rights with the Pac-12 Sales Co., becoming the first member school to partner with the conference to bring sponsorships and licensing in house.
He was recognized during the week of Super Bowl XLIX by the National Football League for his outstanding leadership with a desire to improving his community as he was presented with both the 2015 Paul J. Tagliabue Award and the John Wooten Lifetime Achievement Award, two of the NFL’s most prestigious honors.
Anderson joined the Sun Devil Family after serving as the executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League (NFL) since August 2006.
“In evaluating the next step in my career, I could not imagine a better, more exciting opportunity,” said Anderson. “I am thrilled to become part of the team at Arizona State and energized by the academic and athletic mission of this great university. I am eagerly looking forward to the challenge of not only continuing the success of Arizona State athletics but also building on it to accomplish even more in line with President Crow’s priorities.”
He served as the executive vice president and chief administrative officer of the Atlanta Falcons for four years, and began his professional career as an attorney at Kilpatrick & Cody in Atlanta, Georgia, where he worked primarily in labor law litigation.
A Los Angeles, California native, Anderson earned a BA in political science from Stanford in 1976 and a juris doctorate degree from Harvard Law School in 1979. He was an all-league high school quarterback and shortstop, and a three-year football letterman and two-year baseball letterman at Stanford.
Anderson co-founded the sports law practice at Heller, Ehrman, a prominent San Francisco firm, in 1980 and entered the sports agency business in 1984 when he opened the West Coast office for Sports Advisors Group. In 1987, he launched his own agency, AR Sports, specializing in the representation of NFL coaches and players and later adding Major League Baseball players. Anderson merged his agency with Octagon in 2001.
As an indication of the high regard in which Anderson is held, he was appointed to the NFL Committee on Workplace Diversity and was named to Sports Illustrated’s list of the "101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports." He was also named to the prestigious "100 Black Men of Atlanta, Inc.", a group dedicated to providing support and improving the quality of life for African-Americans, and to the Board of Governors of the Georgia World Congress Center Authority.
In April 2014 it was announced that Anderson would be a professor of practice in ASU’s new sports law and business program, a collaboration of the highly ranked Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law and W. P. Carey School of Business.
He and his wife, Buffie, have one son, Bryant, and one daughter, Kimberly.
SUN DEVIL DIRECTORS OF ATHLETICS
Fred M. Irish, 1896-1913
George Schaeffer, 1914-1916
George Edwin Cooper, 1917-1921
Ernest Wills, 1922
Aaron M. McCreary, 1923-1929
Ted Edwin Shipkey, 1930-1932
Rudolf M. Lavik, 1933-1949
Donn Kinzle, 1949-1952
Donald R. Van Petten, 1952-1954
Clyde B. Smith, 1955-1971
Fred L. Miller, 1971-1980
Joe Kearney, 1980
Dick Tamburo, 1980-1984
Frank Sackton (interim), 1984-1985
Charles S. Harris, 1985-1995
Dr. Christine K. Wilkinson (interim), 1995-1996, 2000, 2005
Dr. Kevin White, 1996-2000
Gene Smith, 2000-2005
Lisa Love, 2005-2012
Steve Patterson, 2012-14
Ray Anderson, 2014-present