NEXT UP presented by Teamworks: Day 4

June 16th, 2016 | by CollegeAD
NEXT UP presented by Teamworks: Day 4


We are continuing coverage of College AD’s first annual NEXT UP presented by Teamworks. Day 4 of this five-part series is chocked full of talent with four new honorees. If you happened to miss them, you can look back at Day 1Day 2 and Day 3 by clicking these links.

As a reminder, 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 21 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 five days, June 13th-17th, we are revealing our inaugural honorees.

Out of respect for our seven panel members we are keeping their names anonymous, but we’re more than happy to share a few stats on what qualifies them to spot up-and-coming talent.

Panel Stats

Without further ado, here are the next four members of the 2016 class of NEXT UP presented by Teamworks.



Executive Associate AD

Career to Date: Virginia Tech (2014- Present); Cincinnati -Senior Associate AD (2013- 2014); Tennessee -Senior Associate AD (2008- 2013); San Francisco -Associate AD/SWA (2007- 2008); Fresno State -Associate AD/SWA (2002- 2006); Santa Clara -Associate AD (2002- 2003); San Jose State -Director of Compliance (1998- 2002)

Appointments & Accomplishments: D-I Athletics Director Institute Graduate

Strengths: Operations, Leadership

Why is she NEXT UP?: “Desiree has played an instrumental role in our success at Virginia Tech and is very deserving of this wonderful NEXT UP honor,” says Virginia Tech AD, Whit Babcock. “I lean on her for advice and counsel often and she is an executive leader of our department in her own right. She has my trust and respect, she leads with character and great competence; she does a wonderful job for the Hokies.” But the Hokies aren’t the only ones Reed-Franccois has done an wonderful job for. She has held an associate AD position at the last six universities she’s worked at, and before following Babcock to Virginia Tech, she served as interim AD at Cincinnati. “Thanks to her steadfast approach and commitment, we have developed a very collaborative culture in athletics and an enhanced commitment to excellence across the board,” Babcock continued. “She has made a very positive impact on our department and our student-athletes, while strengthening our relationships on campus and across the country. We are very fortunate that Desiree is leading so many aspects of our team at Virginia Tech.”



Executive Senior Associate AD

Career to Date: Tennessee (2011- Present); Alabama- Associate AD (1995- 2011)

Strengths: Operations, Leadership

Why is he NEXT UP?: Let’s go ahead and hand this one off to Tennessee AD, Dave Heart. “I think this years’ panel has made an exceptional choice to include Jon Gilbert as one who is ready to take that next step as a Director of Athletics.  I have worked with Jon for eight years and hold him in very high regard as a person of the highest quality as well as an outstanding administrator in every respect.  Respect is a word that actually best depicts my feeling for Jon.  He is trustworthy, bright and possesses a great work ethic.  Jon understands the nuances of our profession as well as athletics role within the total university structure.  He is a good listener and communicator and puts the student-athlete above all other priorities.  He is a relationship builder who knows that how you treat people matters.  Most importantly, Jon knows how to lead.  Leaders have courage and operate within their values.  They do not comprise those values or their own integrity.  That is how Jon Gilbert conducts his life.  He very much belongs in the NEXT UP category.  I applaud his selection.”

Teamworks Booth




Executive Associate AD

Career to Date: Virginia (2001- Present); Washington State- Associate AD for External Affairs (1995- 2001)

Appointments & Accomplishments: ACC Finance Committee

Strengths: Operations, Leadership

Why is he NEXT UP?: While every member of our NEXT UP list has been an integral part of their respective departments, few have taken on the level and range of responsibility of Jon Oliver. His purview includes portions of operations, academics, human resources, facilities, marketing and promotions. He’s a Jack of all trades, and Virginia AD, Craig Littlepage makes sure he maximizes Oliver’s talents. “Jon Oliver has had a profound impact on the trajectory of the University of Virginia’s athletics program during the past fifteen years. He’s had a leadership role in all that we do on an ongoing basis. There are few people in intercollegiate athletics that have as good an understanding and as firm a grasp on the college sports enterprise as Jon does. We are fortunate that he is a part of our team at UVA.”



Executive Associate AD

Career to Date: Kansas State (2010- Present); Learfield Sports- Vice President (2003- 2010); Iowa State- Senior Associate Director of Athletics (2002- 2003); Missouri- Assistant AD Development (1997- 2002)

Strengths: Strategic Planning, Leadership

Why is he NEXT UP?: Few of us ever find a career path that takes us back to our root, but that’s what Laird Veatch has at K State. The former Wildcat linebacker left Manhattan after graduation, and after a seven year stint with Learfield where he managed the media rights of his beloved K State and five other Division-I programs, he returned home. Since then he’s thrived. “Without Laird’s strategic thought and execution focus we simply could not have made the progress seen over the last seven years towards our vision of a being a Model Intercollegiate Athletics Program,” says Kansas State AD, John Currie. “As our deputy AD, his national professional experience outside of K-State coupled with his perspective as a Manhattan native and former Wildcat football student-athlete enable him to provide extraordinary leadership throughout the department, including seven straight balanced budgets and $210 million in new facility upgrades completed,”


Make sure to join us tomorrow for our final five NEXT UP honorees, presented by Teamworks.

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