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Washington University Names Anthony J. Azama Director of Athletics

Washington University Names Anthony J. Azama Director of Athletics

From Washington University Athletics

Washington University in St. Louis Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Lori White announced Tuesday that Anthony J. Azama has been named the John M. Schael Director of Athletics. 

Azama arrives on the Danforth Campus after spending the past two years as the Senior Associate Athletics Director for External Operations at Columbia University in the city of New York. He was responsible for the strategic direction, oversight, coordination, leadership and active participation in the revenue generation and external functions while at Columbia.

"We are excited that Anthony will be joining Washington University as the John M. Schael Director of Athletics," said White. "Anthony impressed us with his vision, enthusiasm, strong background in marketing and communication; his deep support for the overall development of students and his commitment to diversity."

In less than a year, Azama restructured the External Operations units – Marketing & Promotions, Communications, Sponsorship, Ticketing, Memberships, Licensing, Branding and Merchandising to create double digit growth in each of its revenue streams while taking the department through a rebranding process. 

He led the rebranding of Columbia Athletics beginning with a new mission and values statement in 2016. Columbia's "Only Here" concept was created and designed to promote the university's extraordinary location in New York City, its unparalleled career and lifetime opportunities that the university affords its students, its superb athletics support performance program and its elite level status as an Ivy League institution. To tell the story, he spearheaded the enhanced environmental graphics at both the Dodge Fitness Center and the Campbell Sports Center, overhauled the athletics' website for relaunch and negotiated a deal for a new online Lion Store partnership with Barnes & Noble. 

"I want to thank Chancellor Wrighton, Provost Thorp, Vice Chancellor White, and the search committee for this tremendous opportunity to work with dedicated coaches and equally talented scholar-athletes," said Azama, who starts at WashU on July 1. "I am also grateful to Athletic Director Peter Pilling and the Columbia Athletics family for a wonderful experience in the Ivy League."

In addition, the Lions ticket office generated its highest revenue totals ever in a fiscal year. Five of the men's basketball's seven Ivy League conference games were sold out, while football season tickets increased by nearly 40% in 2016. Sponsorship revenue is at Columbia's highest level since its inception over a decade ago as Dodge Fitness Center experienced a resurgence in membership sales revenue to over $1.5 million. Licensing royalties were also at record-high levels for Columbia Athletics.

A 1998 cum laude graduate of Vanderbilt University, Azama was a three-year letterwinner on the Commodore football team and received his bachelor's degree in human and organizational development. In 2015, he received his master's degree in business administration from Miami.

He was also selected to the 1998 All-Southeastern Conference (SEC) Scholar-Athlete Academic Team, the SEC Good Works team and was on the Vanderbilt Dean's List three times from 1995-97. Following graduation, Azama was inducted into the Mid-Tennessee Chapter of the National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, Inc., a scholar-athlete award for his academic achievement, school & community leadership and football performance.

"Anthony's experiences at both the collegiate and professional sports level, and the positive impact he has made as a leader in athletic administration throughout his career, makes him the perfect choice to be the athletic director at Washington University," White added.

He spent nine years working at Miami University (Ohio) prior to his two-year stint at Columbia serving as the Director of Marketing and Sales from 2006-11 before being promoted to Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing, Sales & Licensing.

Azama spearheaded the RedHawks' Graduating Champions branding campaign and the redesign of athletic marks that increased royalties and licensed vendors. He also contributed to game day presentation through the development of FanFEST, in-game promotions and fan experiences. In addition, Azama increased game day merchandise sales by more than 50 percent.

He assembled Miami's first ticket sales department and the developed unique ticket products (Football Foursome, McFlex Plan and All You Can Eat Seats), which generated six-figure revenue in ticket sales. He led an external operations team of more than 40 people that included communications, IMG, broadcasting, development, game operations, Aspire and the ticket office.

Azama also has experience working with Florida Citrus Sports (FCSports), a sports marketing and management organization responsible for staging over 100 events including the Capital One Bowl, Champs Sports Bowl and the Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game. Azama joined Florida Citrus Sports in June 1998 as the Associate Director of the Gridiron Classic College All-Star Game. 


Anthony is a leader who knows college athletics from the inside out. Throughout his stellar career as an athlete and a professional in the field of sports marketing and management, he has engaged with institutions that value the same things we do – the overall experience of true scholar athletes and the health and wellness of the entire student body. I am delighted to have him as a colleague and look forward to many years of visionary leadership. 


We are thrilled to welcome Anthony to WashU. His experience in intercollegiate athletics and exciting vision for increasing the impact of Bear sports have energized us all.


I am incredibly excited for Anthony Azama to be Washington University's next Director of Athletics. His passion for success, vision for the department, and contagious energy are inspiring and match everything WashU athletics embodies. I am thrilled to have the opportunity to be a Bear under his supervision and cannot wait to see the improvements he brings to the department!