UNCG hires Brian Mackin from Conference USA as new athletics director – Greensboro News & Record

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Mackin said his leading priority is to create new fundraising platforms and bring in new revenue streams.
UNCG will count on Brian Mackin’s background as an athletics director, a college conference administrator and a leader in a financial institution to help it navigate the sports landscape.
Mackin, 61, a deputy commissioner for Conference USA, was introduced Monday at UNCG’s new athletics director, and he’ll begin work Jan. 4. He’ll earn $230,000 annually as part of a four-year contract. He succeeds Kim Record, who was ousted just before Labor Day after 12 years in the role.
To help fulfill the vision of Chancellor Franklin D. Gilliam Jr., in not only winning conference championships but games in NCAA postseason play, UNCG will need to find more funding. And besides a 100-day plan of listening to and learning from various parts of the UNCG community, with trustees and boosters among the gathering at his introductory news conference, that is the first thing on Mackin’s mind.
Brian Mackin, a former deputy commissioner of Conference USA, is introduced as the new athletics director at UNCG.
“My No. 1 goal is to create that fundraising platform and expand what we have to bring in new revenue streams,” the former athletics director at Ala.-Birmingham said. “Obviously competing for championships is very important to me. It’s very important to the chancellor. It’s very important to the university as a whole. But as you win championships and you go into the postseason and you start winning in the postseason nationally, then the attention and the spotlight comes on your program and that will help fundraising as we go into the future.”
UNCG reported athletics spending of about $17.5 million (revenues of $18.4 million) for the 2019-20 fiscal year to the U.S. Department of Education. Gilliam, during a meeting with UNCG’s trustees on Oct. 1, touted success by other mid-major universities in NCAA Division I, including Gonzaga with its NCAA Tournament runner-up men’s basketball program plus Coastal Carolina, Virginia Commonwealth and James Madison.
According to the Knight Commission on Intercollegiate Athletics, student fees account for about $11.2 million, of 62 percent, of the revenue in UNCG’s athletics budget. Donor contributions totaled about $1.53 million, or 8 percent.
Those are all areas Mackin will seek to strengthen. In short, he’s going to be new to Greensboro, and he’s coming to town with a hand out.
“I have no problem asking for money for the right reasons,” Mackin said. “… This is a mature athletics department that has been funded but needs new additional funds to go to that next level. So I have no problem going into the community, going to the existing donors, and asking for money for the right reason. And this is the right reason.”
Mackin went to the Conference USA office in 2017; he also had 13 years on his resume at Ala.-Birmingham, including eight as the AD. But Mackin also has worked with PNC Financial Services Group, Vulcan Materials twice, Southern Ready Mix and Dunn Construction.
“It’s the lifeline of a program and a university,” Mackin said of funding. “So as we go into the arms race, as it is, you have to be able to have the funds to compete. And I think it’s just a very different landscape now than it was 20 years ago. There’s only about 20 programs in the NCAA members that make money. The rest of them are subsidized. …
“When I was in business, I dealt with so many different people, so many different levels, whether it be blue collar, whether it be CEOs of companies, whether it be CFOs of companies. That was very important to me, to understand people.
“And No. 2, being fiscally responsible. I had to manage budgets. I had to run a portion of the asphalt paving business when I was at Dunn Construction Company, and it was very important to to be fiscally responsible with the operating budget that I had to work with, which affected the bottom line.”
Mackin’s exit as AD at his alma mater, then his move to PNC, followed a decision late in 2014 by university president Ray Watts to kill UAB’s football, rifle and bowling programs, although the football program was reinstated for 2017. The Blazers, still coached by Mackin hire Bill Clark, defeated No. 13 Brigham Young on Saturday in the Independence Bowl, the fifth straight postseason game to which UAB has been invited.
“Brian did a really good job (as AD) really with both hands tied behind his back,” Tommy Brigham, an original board member of the new UAB Athletics Foundation, told the Birmingham News in 2017. “Even on the sideline, he continued to be an honorable champion for UAB. Conference USA’s gain is Birmingham’s loss.”
And now Mackin is UNCG’s and Greensboro’s gain. He’ll try to fundraise and build UNCG’s program in a city known for hosting ACC and NCAA men’s and women’s basketball tournaments, one that is home to fans of not only the league’s Big Four members and those of other Division I universities but in particular A&T on the opposite side of downtown Greensboro.
“Very similar to my background at UAB,” Mackin said. “We have the SEC headquarters in Birmingham. We hosted NCAA championships in basketball. We had to go out in the community and recruit non-UAB alums, very similar to what we will have in Greensboro.
“You have to go out and you have to be a part of that community. And you have to be the home team. And you have to have that community rallying around our home team. It’s OK to go to a Spartans game. They are the home team. It’s very similar to what I had to do at UAB, so I’ll follow that footprint.”
Eddie Wooten is sports editor of the Winston-Salem Journal and the News & Record in Greensboro.
Have something to say? Email Eddie at eddie.wooten@greensboro.com or ewooten@wsjournal.com. Follow him on Twitter at @EddieWootenNR.
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Brian Mackin, a former deputy commissioner of Conference USA, is introduced as the new athletics director at UNCG.
Mackin said his leading priority is to create new fundraising platforms and bring in new revenue streams.
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