|Title:||Asst. Director, Development - Athletics/Constituent Support|
Having already put his staple into the athletic development by administering several fund-raising efforts as an intern with UNCP’s Office of Advancement, Brian Russo begins his second season at UNCP as the assistant director of development for athletics and constituent support.
Russo, who spent the 2010-11 academic year as an athletics develop officer intern in UNCP’s advancement office, began his current stint on July 1, 2011. He has assisted in the planning and execution of fundraising events that generated more than $100,000 in gifts in 2010-11, while also creating stewardship pieces for the highest level of University and athletic donors to recognize their gifts.
“I have enjoyed promoting the success of our student-athletes on the field and off,” Russo said. “Athletics has the unique capacity to build the image of a university, and I’m proud to be part of this team. And what could be more fun than talking sports to our fans?
“We had a successful year last year with Braves Club membership and giving increasing. I’m especially pleased that we are keeping our members and friends more connected to athletics and to the university.”
Russo, a native of Charlotte, has already logged extensive time in the athletic realm having completed an internship in 2010 with the Gator Bowl Association as an intern in the ticketing department. While in Jacksonville, he was charged with overseeing the 7-person Fan Accommodation staff for the 2010 Konica Minolta Gator Bowl. He also produced record sales of the game souvenir “THE PATCH” within the discount military ticket program he administered.
Prior to his time in Jacksonville, he served as a compliance apprentice at Flagler College in St. Augustine, Fla., where he networked with campus departments on research for the NCAA CHAMPS/Life Skills program. He also served under a game operations work-grant at Flagler that saw him perform set up and breakdown of the 1,500-seat Flagler Gymnasium, as well as other in-game duties as well. He also has experience as a volunteer with the Tri-Warriors Youth Triathlon, the Beach Blast VI and Spring Fitness Fair and the Jacksonville Jaguars Pepsi Fan Experience.
Under Russo’s direction, Braves Club membership rose 13 percent in 2010-11, and giving increased 23 percent. Russo launched several initiatives last year, including a monthly newsletter titled The Braves Report. The emphasis on communications paid off in the success of the recent Car Cash Bash, which raised $32,000 for athletic scholarships. Russo is already planning the 2012 event and a smaller fundraiser in the Fall.
“The best part of an event like this is everybody has fun, and somebody gets the keys to a new car,” Russo said. “We’re not resting on our laurels. I have many challenges for next year.”
He will also begin a campaign to solicit sponsorships and will coordinate season ticket sales for Braves Football.
Russo graduated cum laude from Flagler in 2009 with a bachelor’s degree in sport management and was also the recipient of the sport management departmental award for academic achievement as well.