Welcome to day two of NEXT UP presented by adidas. You can view day one’s honorees here.
NEXT UP are senior level administrators, handpicked by some of the most respected athletic directors in the industry, who are believed to be ready to take the next step as athletic directors in their own right. Out of those nominated by our panel, we selected 13 NEXT UP recipients from across the country to represent this year’s class. The only limiting factor is that none of the nominees could have served as an AD previously, beyond an interim role.
Over the next few days we are revealing the honorees selected by our panel. Out of respect for those panel members, we are keeping their names anonymous, but we’re more than happy to share a few details on what qualifies them to spot up-and-coming talent.
If you are attending the NACDA Conference in Orlando, we also encourage you to stop by Booth 607 and visit our friends from adidas. We’ll be partnering with them all week to recognize some worthwhile individuals and even give away a little swag.
Without further ado, here are the next three members of the 2017 class of NEXT UP presented by adidas.
JULIE CROMER PEOPLES, ARKANSAS
Associate Vice Chancellor for Athletics, Senior Associate AD for Administration and Sports Programs/SWA
Career to Date: Indiana (2010-2014); NCAA Academic and Membership Affairs (1999-2010)
Strengths: Leadership, Strategic Planning
Why is she NEXT UP?: This year’s NEXT UP would be incomplete without Cromer Peoples on it. She’s become a trusted, highly capable leader in her athletic department, university, and on a national level. To date she has been recognized with the National Association for Athletics Compliance (NAAC) Frank Kara Leadership Award, the Nell Jackson Administrator of the Year award by the Women Leaders In College Sports, and was named by the Northwest Arkansas Business Journal as one of its top 10 “Women in Business.” The most prestigious recognition however, is the praise of Arkansas Athletic Director, Jeff Long. “Julie is a superb leader who is well versed in every facet of intercollegiate athletics. Her knowledge, experience and ability to connect with student-athletes and foster their connection with coaches and staff make her an extraordinary talent. She will be a terrific Athletics Director.”
GRAHAM NEFF, CLEMSON
Deputy Director of Athletics
Career to Date: Middle Tennessee(2010-2013); Georgia Tech (2008-2010)
Strengths: Financial Planning, Management
Why is he NEXT UP?: “Graham’s leadership has had an outsized effect on the positive changes the Clemson athletic program has enjoyed the past few years, and his influence has touched all facets of our department.” That’s high praise coming directly from Clemson Athletic Director Dan Radakovich. Despite a background primarily in finance, Neff has had a meteoric rise in his career because of the direction he provides across the department. “His leadership in facility development, staff organization and program management has helped make Clemson an outstanding athletics program. He is the complete package for today’s modern AD – skilled in finance, adept at social media, creative in revenue generation and a tireless worker. He’s certainly deserving of this recognition by CollegeAD and the 2017 NEXT UP class.”
FRED SMITH, NORTHWESTERN
Associate AD for Development
Career to Date: Santa Clara (2006-2013)
Why is he NEXT UP?: Smith, the current Chair of the NCAA Committee on Sportsmanship and Ethical Conduct, has had a major impact on Northwestern since joining the department in 2013. His leadership has taken the Wildcat fundraising efforts to new heights, and in turn have elevated the department itself. “This is a tremendous and well-earned honor for Fred Smith, who has an exceptionally bright future in this industry,” said Northwestern Vice President for Athletics & Recreation Jim Phillips. “He is deeply committed to providing a world-class experience for our nearly 500 student-athletes, has been a central part of record fundraising success, and is a core part of our senior leadership team. We are extremely proud to call him a Wildcat!”