CSL Daily

October 28, 2014

Alumni Profile-Philip Brown

by Michael Clapper, CSL graduate student

“Almost everything in leadership comes back to relationships.”
– Coach Mike Krzyzewski

Philip Brown has experienced the power of relationships first hand and has benefited from its impact.  In fact, Brown, currently the advertising account manager for Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group, has learned much about building relationships from the author of the above quote.  Philip Brown

A 2006 graduate of the Center for Sport Leadership, Brown grew up with a front row seat to the incredibly successful Duke Men’s Basketball program.  His mother, Gerry, has spent the better part of the last three decades working for the team, including the last 20 years as Coach K’s executive assistant.  He recalls learning a great deal from the Hall of Fame coach.

Just like Coach K, Brown admits, “Relationships are the key in sports, as well as professionally.”

In fact, it was a close relationship with the then VCU head basketball coach Jeff Capel, a former Duke player and assistant coach, that ultimately led Brown to enroll in the Center for Sport Leadership, and join the men’s basketball staff as a graduate assistant.  The global minded Brown was also intrigued by the CSL’s sport focused curriculum and the yearly European Model of Sport trip taken by students each spring.

“What really drove me to VCU was the idea of my master’s being geared towards sports marketing and management.  And I really liked the idea of being able to go overseas and learn how professional teams over there actually market and manage. That was a huge driver for me as well.  When you can broaden your knowledge and horizons that way, especially in the marketing realm, it really makes you very valuable across the board. I’m where I’m at right now because of VCU.”

After returning from the Europe trip in the spring of 2006, Brown began exploring marketing internship opportunities with several NBA teams, but finding the right fit was a challenge.  A CSL administrator approached him about an opening with Disney.  Brown remembers responding, “Well, I’ve always loved Disney.  I didn’t even know this was an opportunity.”

He jumped at the opportunity and accepted a position as Marketing Associate for Premium Events at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando.  Before long, Brown was assigned a tremendous amount of responsibility within the organization.  He managed the marketing and creative strategy for the Atlanta Braves spring training, the PGA’s FUNAI Classic, and the inaugural Old Spice Classic.  In addition, he served as the lead editor for the Disney’s World Wide of Sports Magazine.

While he excelled at the World Wide of Sports, Brown had a strong desire to leave his mark on a global scale.  In April of 2007, he got his chance.  Brown was offered and accepted a job with Disney Destinations as the Brand Manager for Military Sales.  Although the position was not sports related, he felt the change would be the best career move.

“I enjoyed my time in sports, but I also wanted to grow within the company and look for more of a global role.  At that time, sports were only here at Walt Disney World in Florida so I came over to destination sales.”

He currently serves as the Advertising Account Manager for Disney’s Yellow Shoes Creative Group, the award winning in house advertising agency for Disney Parks and Resorts.  In this role, he manages creative strategies worldwide for Disney Meetings and Conventions, Disney Institute, and Disney’s Fairy Tale Weddings.

It’s certainly safe to say that Phillip Brown has achieved his global career aspirations.  Today, his work can be found from Florida to Hawaii, and Paris to Hong Kong.  It’s also safe to say he wouldn’t be where he is today without the relationships he cultivated at the world’s most famous entertainment company.

October 27, 2014

CSL Professor Comments on Hazing Scandal

As a former college football player and coach, Dr. Brendan Dwyer has a unique dwyerperspective on the sport. Recently, Dwyer has been sought out by national media outlets regarding the hazing scandal at Sayreville War Memorial High School in New Jersey. The school district’s superintendent canceled the football season after graphic details were uncovered regarding hazing among players.

Dwyer offered his professional opinion in this Associated Press article.

Dwyer also appeared on the Sports Byline Radio Network for a lengthy discussion on the topic. You can listen to the segment here:



October 22, 2014

Faculty Forum- Support Sytems

by Greg Grennhalgh, Ph.D.

So this is “Take two”. I had already produced my Faculty Forum for this week. I wrote several pages about how Florida State University and the University of Georgia are each handling their star player’s involvement with autographing memorabilia. Specifically, I talked about accountability and the perception of sport leaders holding people accountable within their organization. I even slammed the University of Louisville (my alma mater) because of their hire of Bobby Petrino.  Then, I had a bit of an epiphany during an after-work jog and I changed the whole thing.  photo 1 (24)

I wanted this article to have a positive tone. While I was running, I was thought about one of our recent alums, Lauryn Hutchinson, representing Trinidad and Tobago in the CONCACAF Women’s Championship. Her team beat Guatemala 2-1 at RFK Stadium in Washington, D.C. We are all proud of “Hutch”, but I am also so proud of the two other alums and two current students who went to the game to cheer her on. They even made custom t-shirts. Supporting Lauryn is easy. Actually, I would challenge you to find someone who is more deserving of having people in her corner as she follows her passion in playing the sport she loves. You see, Lauryn actually started a non-profit called “Find Your Passion” where she tries to help others find their path through motivational speaking, camps, and clothing/apparel. This is fitting because you won’t find a more passionate person than Hutch. I remember the unbridled joy I heard on the other end of the phone when I called to let her know that she was accepted into the CSL. Her screams of exuberance must have broken several records for pitch, volume, and duration.  She has supported so many in our program. It’s nice to see others supporting her.

CSL family supporting Lauryn

CSL family supporting Lauryn

That is one of the greatest parts of being involved with the CSL:  seeing alumni support our current students and each other.  In addition to Lauryn’s story, I had two other examples of this take place today.  I spoke with a former student and, right before we said goodbye, the student said, “If there is ever anything I can do at all, for the CSL, or any of the students, please just let me know”.

Then Dr. LeCrom forwarded an email from one of our distance learning students who recently took a job at a NASCAR track. He has only been in his position for a short time. The track is hosting a big race this weekend so he is very excited and very busy. At the end of his email he stated: “You would not believe how much stuff I learned in classes I use almost everyday. Let me know if I can do anything for you guys”.

I know that I am probably not the poster boy for sentimentality. However, I am humbled to see the great things our alumni are doing and how willing they are to give back and help other members of the CSL family.  We are clearly doing something right. Now, I don’t necessarily think reading this article is going to create a situation like the end of the movie Big Daddy.  Remember, they all take out their phones and call their dad and tell them that they love him (in this case you would have to replace dads with fellow CSL alum). However, maybe this will inspire some you to either reach out to someone from your class. Call or email to see how they are doing. Take a second to look at the Alumni Directory on our website to see where some of your colleagues are now.

I guess the real crux of this article is to highlight and possibly remind people in the CSL family that you have a pretty awesome support team. Don’t be afraid to use it.

Dr. Greg Greenhalgh is the director of student services and outreach for the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU.
He can be reached by email



October 21, 2014

Charlotte Trip

On October 16 and 17, CSL graduate students and faculty made their annual trip to Charlotte, North Carolina to meet with leading sports professional and tour some of the most impressive sport venues in America. Check out the video to see how the CSL offers students a real-world view of sports leaders in action.

October 21, 2014

Alumni Profile-Grant Duncan

by Emily Cochran, CSL graduate student

It is an early fall Saturday morning in Blacksburg, Virginia.  duncan_grantThe roads that typically lay empty until mid-morning are lined with cars waiting for the parking lot gates to open. Fans pile out of the cars, displaying their five-star tailgating set up. Looking out over the parking lot, a sea of maroon and orange has taken over Lane Stadium. To many fans, this is just a typical college football Saturday game.  To Grant Duncan, Associate Director of Marketing and Promotion for Virginia Tech Athletics, this is where his dreams come true.

A 2012 graduate of the VCU Center of Sport Leadership, Duncan not only lives for these Saturdays filled with Hokie Football, but this is what his everyday life revolves around. Not many people can say that they devote their entire work life to making someone else’s weekend enjoyable, but Grant can.

“It is all about the fans. We want to push the envelope every year, every season, every game and make the Lane Stadium game experience better than the experience the fans would get in the comfort of their own home,” Duncan states. “It is about creating that memorable experience that fans will never forget.”

Duncan, a Blacksburg native, attended Virginia Tech for his undergraduate degree, graduating in 2010 with a Bachelor of Science in Marketing Management. As he approached graduation he remembered being unsure about where exactly his next step might take him.  The one thing that Duncan was sure about is the fact that sports would be part of his future. He soon discovered the VCU Center for Sport Leadership and he knew it was a great fit. While attending VCU, Duncan was a graduate assistant in the VCU Athletic Department Marketing Office. This is where he found his passion. He discovered an aspect about athletics that is not only about winning and losing, but about the experience. From that day, Duncan set his life goals and has not stop working to achieve them.

While still enrolled in the CSL, Duncan received a job offer from Va Tech as the Marketing Assistant for the Athletic Department. Since working for VA Tech was always a dream job for Duncan, he could not pass the opportunity up. He worked as the Marketing Assistant from 2011 to 2012 while finishing up his degree online.

Reflecting on his own CSL experience, Duncan stated, “It was not your typical sport management program. The Center for Sport Leadership is a well rounded, hands on experience. I knew that I would learn about sport marketing, but what I walked away with was an understanding of not just sports, but an understanding of sports in every aspect.”

After graduating, he was promoted to his current position. He oversees the marketing for women’s basketball, men’s soccer and volleyball, as well as leads the Hokie Facebook page and other various social media sites. To Duncan the greatest reward of his work is the fact that all the hard work and long hours he puts in throughout the week, reveals itself that weekend at the event.

“It is rewarding to immediately see my hard work pay off by filling up the stands at games and putting excitement in the crowd,” says Duncan. In his eyes, the best part about his job is seeing the fans’ eyes light up when they try a new, out of the box promotion. Duncan dreams to one day take a leadership role as an Athletic Director. Virginia Tech Football vs. North Carolina, Homecoming

“I would love to have be in the leadership role of the Athletic Director in the future, but I know I have to work hard every single day to achieve that goal,” Duncan says. “It is about focusing on all the small things to get you to the big picture.”

As you approach your next game experience, Duncan asks just one thing. Take a look around the stadium. Take a moment to take in all the excitement, joy, competitiveness and loyalty floating throughout the stadium and appreciate it. Only then will you understand what Grant Duncan feels every time he walks into Lane Stadium on a “typical Saturday game day”.

October 15, 2014

CSL Alum Ready for CONCAFCA Cup


Center for Sport Leadership graduate Lauryn Hutchinson has always wanted to compete in the highest level of women’s soccer. She’ll get that chance when the CONCACAF Women’s Championship begins Wednesday night in Kansas City.

bamboo selfie #2

Hutch takes a T & T Team Selfie

Hutchinson will be playing for Trinidad and Tobago as they face off against the United States in the opening match.  Hutchinson’s father is a native of T & T.  The tournament, which will take place from Oct. 15-26, features eight countries divided into two groups of four with the top two finishers in each group after round-robin play moving on to the semifinals.  The top three teams will qualify for the 2015 Women’s Wolrd Cup.  

T & T faces Haiti in Bridgeview, Illinois, on Friday and Guatemala in Washington, D.C. on October 20.  Hutchinson is thrilled at this opportunity and shared some thoughts heading into the tournament.


Hutchinson with her father

“Going into our first game against the #1 Ranked USA Women’s team gives me a sense of appreciation and excitement. The fact that my team and I get the opportunity to step on the field with some of the best players in the world is moving. My inspirational college coach Tiffany Roberts Sadayhak played for the U.S. team for many years.  It blows me away that now I get to play against her former team. I would never have thought I would be graced with this miraculous opportunity. As a team, we plan to step on the field  every game and raise heck for any team we face. Our mission is to qualify for the 2015 Women’s World Cup, and we will not let anyone stand in our way. 

 All of my life I have wanted to change peoples lives in a positive way. Playing with TTAF national team has placed me in a position where I have the capability of empowering others through my sport. I am extremely emotional about my experience because I was that child that wasn’t suppose to go to college and be somebody. I was extremely behind in my education development growing up. Through the movement of women’s sports, I was given an opportunity to break social norms and make a difference. Because of soccer, I was able to earn my undergraduate and my masters degree. I feel that’s why any chance I get to connect with the fans or children following my story, I take full advantage of getting to know them. This is not just my experience –  it’s ours. I plan to use my playing experience to motivate and support the youth of tomorrow.”