Central Michigan University announced earlier Monday morning it has hired Michael Alford, current senior associate athletics director for administration and development at the University of Oklahoma, as associate vice president and director of athletics.
Alford was chosen by a special-made hiring committee that featured various members of the Central Michigan community, with Antonio Brown perhaps being the most famous name.
“I’ve said all along we would name an athletics director who is committed to furthering our championship culture, who agrees athletes are students first, and who has an unwavering commitment to upholding CMU's reputation as one of just 13 universities without a major NCAA violation,” CMU President George Ross said. “Michael Alford is a leader who represents all that CMU is, who is an excellent fundraiser and who will be an integral member of the CMU community."
Alford will officially take over the job from interim Marcy Weston on July 3. Alford will replace Dave Heeke, who accepted the same position with the University of Arizona after 11 years at the helm at CMU.
Alford’s specialty is in fundraising and marketing, with previous stops at both the collegiate and NFL levels in a variety of capacities.
Prior to his work in Oklahoma, Alford was the senior director of corporate partnerships and sales with the Dallas Cowboys (2008-2012) and the general manager of Crimson Tide Sports Marketing at the University of Alabama in Tuscaloosa. He has also worked at ESPN, the University of Southern California and the University of Cincinnati.
Alford was in charge of programming at Cowboys Stadium, raising over $400 million in contractual revenue for the Cowboys during his tenure in Arlington. At the University of Alabama, Alford was in charge of media and marketing relations, facility management and assistant to the athletic director, helping negotiate coaching contracts. His tenure with ABC/ESPN from 2003 to 2004 saw him negotiate media rights and stadium sponsorship for the Los Angeles Angels.
Alford is currently responsible for creating development and marketing plans, negotiating corporate sponsorship and manages master plans for facilities at the University of Oklahoma. Alford also oversees the Varsity "O" Association, a lifelong ambassadorship program for former Sooner student-athletes and is the sports administrator for men’s basketball and women’s tennis.
His most recent contribution to the university has been the coordination of raising funds Alford recently planned and managed a $160 million end zone facility project at Oklahoma, and he led several capital campaigns, such as one for a $7 million basketball performance center that will open in 2018.
“I’ve been fortunate to have a broad-based career with championship organizations, and I’ve had the chance to work for the very best people,” Alford said. “Joe Castiglione here at Oklahoma is such a natural leader, and Mal Moore at Alabama is somebody I often emulate. My mentors taught me a lot about entrepreneurship, negotiations and building a championship culture. I’m so excited to be a part of Central Michigan University. The university’s reputation extends well beyond the Mid-American Conference.”
Alford is a 1993 graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he earned a degree in communication arts. Alford also holds a master’s degree in athletics administration from Arkansas.
Alford will be formally introduced as athletic director on June 8, 2017 at the Kulhavi Events Center in Mt. Pleasant.