Athletics News
Mike Waddell Named Senior Associate Athletics Director For External Relations
Aug. 12, 2014

CHAMPAIGN, Ill. - University of Illinois Director of Athletics Mike Thomas today announced the hiring of Mike Waddell as Senior Associate Athletics Director, External Relations, resuming a decade-long professional relationship that began in the mid-1990s at the University of Virginia and continuing through Thomas' tenure at Cincinnati.

Waddell (@mikewaddellUA) comes to Illinois following one year as a senior associate director of athletics at Arkansas. He will begin his duties at Illinois on Aug. 25.

"Mike has proven himself as one of the most creative and hard-working administrators in collegiate athletics," said Thomas. "He brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in all areas of external relations from each of his stops, including two-and-a-half years as athletics director at Towson. Mike will be a tremendous asset to the UI Division of Intercollegiate Athletics and our staff."

"It's exciting to join Fighting Illini Athletics and to work under Mike Thomas' leadership," Waddell said. "The tradition and passion associated with the University of Illinois, its alumni, fans and partners, along with the power of the Big Ten Conference, makes this an incredible opportunity for our family to be a part of a larger one. I cannot wait to get to work with such an outstanding group of student-athletes, coaches and administrators."

At Illinois, Waddell will oversee external groups including Ticket Services, Marketing and Promotions, Licensing, Communications, Video Services and Digital and Creative Services. He has extensive experience with all of those areas, and was Arkansas' main contact in preparation for the launch of the SEC Network, scheduled for Aug. 14. Waddell also led the reformation of the Razorbacks' digital landscape, launching a comprehensive new platform ( on Aug. 1 with Chicago-based technology leader, Silver Chalice Ventures and their Boulder, Colorado, based subsidiary, Sports Labs, LLC.

Waddell has deep experience in licensing and brand development, most recently working with the Nike Graphics Integration Group in Arkansas' brand refresh in 2014. He served as Arkansas' day-to-day contact with IMG College - the department's multimedia and corporate sponsorships rights-holder - implemented a new grassroots marketing program called the "Razorbacks Caravan" - which will hit all 75 counties in the state annually - and helped create "Razorback Rooftop" - the nation's only in-stadium student club section - inside Donald W. Reynolds Razorback Stadium.

Waddell began his career in collegiate athletics in 1991 as a radio play-by-play voice with the Tar Heel Sports Network at the University of North Carolina before moving up the broadcasting ranks at the University of Virginia (1994-97), Appalachian State University (1997-2000), and the U.S. Military Academy (2000-2001). In 2001, he was named to Thomas' executive team at the University of Akron, where he led all external efforts from 2001-06. After serving as the Zips' Interim Director of Athletics for three months, Waddell joined Thomas at the University of Cincinnati as senior associate director of athletics from 2006-10 until he was named director of athletics at Towson University in October 2010.

A 1991 graduate of Guilford College, where he was a football letterman, Waddell earned his master's degree in sport administration at Ohio University in 2010.

Waddell and his wife, Heidi, have two children: Drew and Caroline.