Alumni and sports industry luminaries celebrate Mark H. McCormack’s 50th birthday Sports Management Department at UMass Amherst : UMass Amherst

AMHERST, Mass. – The McCormack Department of Sports Management at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst celebrated its 50th anniversary with a special event-filled weekend June 10-12. The celebration included a golf outing, dinner banquet, several gatherings and presentations, including a roundtable discussion between high-profile alumni and industry leaders on Title IX.


Title IX is the Federal Civil Rights Act passed as part of the Education Amendments of 1972 that prohibits discrimination on the basis of sex in any school or other educational program that receives federal government funding.

“We are thrilled to celebrate this milestone with many current and former friends, graduates, and faculty members of the department,” said Steve McKelvey, professor and current chair of the department. “A big part of the success of the McCormack Sports Management Department is our strong and extensive network. Our community includes sports industry superstars who are always willing and enthusiastic to mentor, advise and engage with students and young alumni. This reunion event is a chance to bring everyone together on campus to reminisce about our school days while talking earnestly about the challenges of the sports industry.

Since its founding as a Department of Sports Studies in 1971 with a focus on the history, philosophy, psychology and sociology of sport, the department has evolved over the past five decades to fully embrace the affairs of sport and is now housed at the Isenberg School. of the management. Its faculty members are known for conducting award-winning research and its students value the commitment to experiential learning. McCormack alumni remain engaged and involved with the school and include many sports industry executives in leadership positions.

Sports industry executives who attended the meeting events included:

  • Dr Bernie Mullinwho spearheaded the evolution of the “sport studies” program towards a sport business course
  • Glenn Wanglong-time department head
  • Bill HubbardChairman of Tokio-Marine HCC, the world’s largest insurer of major sporting events
  • Jeff PriceChief Commercial Officer, PGA
  • Burke MagnusPresident, ESPN
  • Nancy Gonsalves, Associate Director, United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee
  • Adina ErwinExecutive Vice President, BSE Global
  • jeffrey pollackmost recently President and CEO, XFL
  • Jeff TwissVice President, Boston Celtics

The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sports Management was founded in 1971 by Professors Harold VanderZwaag and Guy Lewis as the Department of Sports Studies. Over the past 50 years, the department has evolved to encompass sports business and was among the first sports management programs to be housed within a business school.

The program began to develop its business orientation in the late 1970s, when Professor Bernie Mullin was hired to teach marketing and other business-related courses in 1977. Professor Glenn Wong, who chaired the Department of 1987 to 1998, was recruited in 1979. to teach the program’s first sports law courses, and some were the first of their kind for the sports industry. In 2001, the department created a first MBA-master’s degree in sports management. In 2002, through the efforts of then department chair Lisa Masteralexis, the department moved to the Isenberg School of Management. In 2010 it was renamed the Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management after the founder of IMG.

The department’s history, academic programs and alumni networks were recently highlighted in a special Sports Business Journal supplement.