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Brian Mann named W&M Director of Athletics

New AD brings leadership experience from UC Berkeley, Rice and Dartmouth

William & Mary announced today that Brian Mann, senior associate athletics director at the University of California, Berkeley, will be the university’s new director of athletics.

Brian MannMann, who has 18 years of experience in intercollegiate athletics, the private sector and professional sports, was selected after an extensive national search. 

Mann begins at W&M July 9 as special assistant to the president for athletics while he transitions to Williamsburg. He will become full-time director of athletics Aug. 9. He succeeds interim Athletics Director Jeremy P. Martin, who will resume his former post as chief of staff to William & Mary President Katherine A. Rowe.

Mann will be introduced to the W&M community at noon Thursday. Members of the public are invited to watch the press conference via live stream at TribeAthletics.com/ADWelcome.

“With the selection of Brian Mann as William & Mary’s next director of athletics, the university will benefit greatly from his exceptional professional and personal leadership experiences in intercollegiate athletics. He has a wonderful habit of exceeding goals at top institutions, which also is a hallmark at William & Mary,” said Rowe.

“I commend our search committee of alumni, faculty, staff, students, trustees, current and former student-athletes and coaches for successfully and expeditiously completing a highly competitive search. We all share added appreciation for Jeremy Martin for his exemplary leadership of W&M Athletics as interim director.”

Mann will be responsible for the daily operations of the athletics department and its approximately 500 student-athletes and 120 coaches and staff. He will oversee a departmental budget of nearly $30 million and the university’s 23 Division I varsity sports.

While he officially becomes the leader of W&M Athletics in a few weeks, Mann is not a newcomer when it comes to William & Mary. “Many years ago, I toured the campus with a friend. I fell in love right then and I’ve been keeping an eye on William & Mary ever since,” he said. “I am so grateful to President Rowe and the search committee for giving me this incredible opportunity.”

The impact of a student-athlete’s experience is intensely personal, said Mann. “While my parents weren’t able to secure their degrees, they instilled in their five children the importance of higher education. I know how difficult it is to earn a college degree, especially at an institution with the rigorous standards of a Public Ivy. Being a former student-athlete, I also understand the commitment, discipline and hard work the Tribe’s student-athletes demonstrate every day.”

“There are challenges ahead for all public institutions,” he continued, “but what I truly believe is that William & Mary is doing the hard work now that will position us for a strong and successful future. Words cannot describe how excited I am to be part of that future.” 

According to Rowe, Mann’s extensive experience as an athletics administrator at three top tier academic institutions positions him well as he assumes leadership of Tribe athletics. He will report directly to President Rowe as a member of her executive leadership team and cabinet.

“William & Mary’s storied program in intercollegiate athletics, along with every other Division I program, faces extraordinary challenges as we enter a new era in sports management and competition. Our institution must ensure gender equity consistent with Title IX, develop a sustainable, long-term financial model while providing our student-athletes with the right tools to be highly competitive in the Colonial Athletic Association and beyond. Brian has the strategic insights and know-how to get us to where we need to go,” Rowe noted.

Rector John E. Littel, who serves as the chair of the Board of Visitors, also welcomed Mann to William & Mary. “On behalf of the Board of Visitors, we congratulate the university’s new Director of Athletics Brian Mann as he joins the W&M community in support of the university’s values and vision. With this appointment, we look forward with renewed commitment to a promising future for William & Mary Athletics.” 

Mann’s selection as athletics director was the culmination of several months’ work by the 13-member search committee. The committee was co-chaired by Matthew T. Lambert ’99, vice president for university advancement, and interim Athletics Director Martin Ph.D. ’12, MBA ’17. In addition, the president named a group of special advisors to assist the committee. The search committee was managed and staffed by W&M search consultants. Craig Littlepage of Collegiate Sports Associates assisted in recruiting candidates. 

“Jeremy and I owe a debt of gratitude to the members of the committee,” Lambert said. “Not only did we find the best candidate to serve as the next athletics director for William & Mary, but the search was comprehensive and timely. The pool of applicants was impressive. It is affirming to see the number of quality candidates who recognized this as a tremendous opportunity.” 

As chief development officer/senior associate athletics director at UC Berkeley, Mann was the architect for the athletics department’s $350 million portion of the university’s $6 billion campaign. He helped orchestrate a $12.5 million gift to create a new student-athlete development program, a $10.8 million bequest in support of women’s athletics and the first-ever head coach endowment for a women’s sport at Berkeley. He had sport oversight of the men’s basketball team and was a key contributor to the department’s ongoing strategic plan.

According to Jim Knowlton, director of athletics at Berkeley, “Brian has been a critical leader in Cal Athletics during his time with us in Berkeley. He is an exceptional teammate whose values and vision truly embody what Cal Athletics and UC Berkeley are all about. We are excited for this opportunity for Brian, Hilary and their young son, Russell, and we know that he is truly going to bring excellence to William & Mary. William & Mary is lucky to have a leader of such quality.”

Prior to his stint at UC Berkeley, Mann was chief development officer and senior associate athletics director at Rice, where he was responsible for all fundraising for the Owls’ athletics programs. He also was the single contact between athletics and the office of admission for all 16 sports.

“William & Mary has made an outstanding choice in Brian Mann,” said Rice Director of Athletics Joe Karlgaard. “He has the temperament, intellect and judgement to be a transformational athletics director. I’m thrilled for Brian and his family, and I’m excited for the future of William & Mary Athletics under his leadership.”

Mann got his start in athletics at Dartmouth College, his alma mater, where he served as director of football operations and began his work in fundraising. Mann holds bachelor’s and master’s degrees from Dartmouth, where he played quarterback. His 5,912 career passing yards are third on the Big Green’s all-time list. Before beginning his career in academia, Mann played professional football for the L.A. Avengers of the Arena Football League.

Mann will be joining an athletics department that has demonstrated excellence in both the classroom and in competition.

The university’s 23 varsity sports have won 143 CAA championships, more than any other member of the conference. Individually, a W&M athlete has been named All-America in their sport every year since 1967-68, with a total of 570 All-America honors coming to Williamsburg since 1930.  

William & Mary has posted the highest Federal Graduation Rate among public college and university athletic departments each of the last 16 years, and athletes have earned Academic All-America honors for eight years running. In 2019-20, W&M earned eight NCAA Public Recognition Awards for teams that ranked in the Top 10% of their sport nationally in the Academic Progress Rate (APR), the most in the CAA and in the state of Virginia, and among the top 25 departments nationwide.

Interim Director Jeremy Martin said Mann emerged during the rigorous search process as the ideal person to lead W&M Athletics forward.

“The more we learned about him during our very thorough process, the more impressed we were with his experience, leadership presence and ability to build relationships,” Martin said. “Brian cares deeply about the success of our student-athletes and a sustainable future for the department. We’re as excited to welcome him, his wife, Hilary, and their son, Russell, into our community as they are to join our Tribe.”