Commissioner – Dr. Marc Williams
Over the past 25 years, Dr. Marc Williams has been widely regarded as a Sports Marketing Pioneer and worked for three of the largest Sports Brands in the world: Champs Sports, Footaction, Reebok and led a team to help Champs Sports become a billion dollar brand. Today, he is considered one of the leading educators in the world in STEAM Education and the host of award winning Linkedin show: “Dr. Marc’s Masterclass.”
CNN named Dr. Williams as one of the Top 20 Inspirational Speakers in the World. His insights have been featured in media outlets such as CBS Evening News, BBC World News and CNN.
Currently, Dr. Williams is the Global Scholar Practitioner at Florida Memorial University. He is creating an innovative STEAM Major that will provide students careers in technology, augmented reality, virtual reality, animation, esports, sports, communications, entreprenuership and marketing.
Dr. Williams work in Sports Marketing is well documented. He was instrumental in many first the Athletic Retail industry. He negotiated the industries first Hip Hop apparel deal with Grammy Award winner artist Eve and record label Ruff Ryder, the first videogame product placement deal with Activision/Blizzard for their “Streethoops” Basketball game and was the Co-creator of one of the most successful grassroots basketball tours: “The AND1 Mix Tape Tour..
Throughout his illustrious career he negotiated product placement in 120 Music Videos, 50 Videogames and 75 Feature Films- including Oscar Award winning film “Sideways.” In addition, he worked with legendary icons, such as Michael Jordan, Beyoncé, Jay Z, Aaliyah, Venus Williams, Maroon 5 and Will Farrell to name a few.
Dr. Williams is the author of 2 books: Defeating Cancer: A Holistic Approach to Living an Empowered Life and The Art of Networking
Dr. Williams earned his Bachelors in Sociology from William Paterson University, a Masters in Sport Management from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst and earned a Doctorate in Education from West Virginia University.
Associate Commissioner/General Manager – Rod Chappell
Roderick “Rod” Chappell has been serving Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU) and other Minority Serving Institutions (MSIs) for nearly 25 years. His programs have led to significant exposure for administrators and students at HBCUs/MSIs as they desire to build capacity at their universities and in the lives of their students. Chappell currently leads Partnerships and Sustainability, one of four pillars within NASA’s Minority Research and Education Project (MUREP) providing annual funding opportunities to HBCUs/MSIs.
Chappell is also a 20-year entrepreneur veteran in the marketing, promotions and communications arena. In 2001, he revolutionized the promotions marketplace by forming Grassroots Promotions (GP), a full-service marketing strategy firm specializing in targeted events and promotions. In 2002, GP partnered with Black Entertainment Television (BET) to launch the multiple award-winning BET Black College Tour creating awareness for Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCU’s) to international audiences for 13 years. The Tour touched over 100,000 HBCU students and reached millions of viewers annually.
In 2010, Chappell went deeper into the world of Historically Black Colleges & Universities to launch an affiliate agency, HBCU Direct, LLC (HD). The mission of HD is to aggregate the buying power of all
HBCU's to increase revenues and/or reduce costs while providing career advancement opportunities.
Companies formed within the HBCU Direct brand cluster include:
- HBCU Startup Labs
- HBCU CEO
- HBCU Booking
- Official HBCU Gear
- HBCU Stream TV
- HBCU Direct Gaming
Chappell has also led major events reaching HBCU audiences including the State Farm Bayou Classic reaching 70,000+ attendees annually and airing live to millions on NBC television as well as the McDonalds Heritage Bowl which was officially sanctioned by the NCAA as an official football classic. He has supported partners of the CIAA basketball conference for many years.
As the owner of the Albany Panthers indoor football franchise, Chappell led the organization to back-to-back championships with over 70% of the roster consisting of former HBCU players.
Chappell holds a B.A. from Morehouse College’s Department of Business and an M.B.A. from Duke University’s Fuqua School of Business. Chappell travels the nation as guest speaker for various business workshops and conferences, speaking about principles he founded entitled “In Your Place Marketing” and “Advancing Your University Enterprise”. He currently serves as a consultant and advisor for many current and future CEO’s. He is also penning a book entitled "HBCU CEO: Passion To Purpose To Profit."