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Scott Bigelow | 910.521.6351 | scott.bigelow@uncp.edu
University Communications and Marketing

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Monday, August 8, 2011

Brian Russo hired to build support for athletics

Brian Russo has been named assistant director of development for athletics and constituent support.

Brian RussoHe started on July 1 after working part time in the same role. He reports to Alisia Oxendine, interim director of development.

“I have enjoyed promoting the success of our student-athletes on the field and off,” Russo said. “Athletics has the unique capacity to build the image of a university, and I’m proud to be part of this team. And what could be more fun than talking sports to our fans?

“We had a successful year last year with Braves Club membership and giving increasing,” he continued. “I’m especially pleased that we are keeping our members and friends more connected to athletics and to the university.”

Under Russo’s direction, Braves Club membership rose 13 percent in 2010-11, and giving increased 23 percent. Russo launched several initiatives last year, including a monthly newsletter titled The Braves Report

“The newsletter keeps our supporters informed about scores and highlights, upcoming contests and Braves Club events,” he said. “We surveyed our readership and people seem to like it.

“We have a lot of great things to report about our teams and individual student-athletes,” Russo said. Five UNCP teams went to NCAA tournaments in 2010-11, women’s soccer, men’s basketball, men’s and women’s golf and baseball, and individuals competed for NCAA championships in cross country, track and field and wrestling.

“Our athletes were just as successful in the classroom, winning back-to-back President’s Academic Awards this year for the highest cumulative grade point average in the Peach Belt Conference,” he continued. “I’ve been fortunate to have a lot of good things to share with our fans.”

The emphasis on communications paid off in the success of the recent Car Cash Bash, which raised $32,000 for athletic scholarships. Russo is already planning the 2012 event and a smaller fundraiser in the fall.

“The best part of an event like this is everybody has fun, and somebody gets the keys to a new car,” Russo said. “We’re not resting on our laurels. I have many challenges for next year.”

He will also begin a campaign to solicit sponsorships.  “Sponsors are very important to our program, and we can offer them athletic venue signage, webpage banners and scoreboard promotions,” Russo said. “Sponsors also provide promotional giveaways to build fan enthusiasm during games.”

This summer, Russo is coordinating season ticket sales for Braves Football. With better than 80 percent renewal so far, it is going well.            

“The pieces are in place to have another great year, and the Braves Club will be in the thick of it,” he said. “I’ve enjoyed getting to know the UNCP community, and I’m ready to hit the ground running this year.”

For more information about the Braves Club or supporting athletics at UNCP, contact Brian Russo at 910.775.4339 or email him at brian.russo@uncp.edu. For football ticket information, go online to www.uncpbraves.com.

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