One current and one future Big Ten athletic director are among the nominees for the athletic diretor of the year award presented by Street & Smith’s SportsBusiness Journal and SportsBusiness Daily.
Northwestern AD Jim Phillips and Rutgers AD Tim Pernetti are among the five nominees for athletic director of the year. The others are Louisville's Tom Jurich, Alabama's Mal Moore and Oklahoma State's Mike Holder. Michigan State athletic director Mark Hollis was last year's recipient.
The Sports Business Awards take place May 22 in New York, and recognize achievements in sports business from March 1, 2012-Feb. 28, 2013.
Phillips came to Northwestern from Northern Illinois in April 2008. He spearheaded the school's first wide-ranging marketing campaign -- complete with the "Chicago's Big Ten team" slogan -- in June 2010, and last fall announced a plan to build a $220 million state-of-the-art on-campus facility that will house the football program. Phillips worked out a 10-year contract for football coach Pat Fitzgerald in 2011 and announced a partnership with the Chicago Cubs that will bring several future football games to Wrigley Field, where Northwestern hosted Illinois in 2010.
Pernetti, a former Rutgers tight end, became the school's AD in February 2009 after working for CBS Sports Network. He has secured the first two naming rights partnerships in Rutgers history and landed a $5.2 million shoe and apparel deal for all 24 varsity sports with Nike. Pernetti's longtime friendship with Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany played a role in Rutgers' move to the Big Ten. Arguably no school will take a bigger step up in league realignment than Rutgers, which moves from an extremely shaky Big East to the nation's richest conference.
It's no surprise to see both Phillips and Pernetti on this list. Both have improved their respective programs in recent years, both embrace marketing/branding and both have been very visible. They have some tough competition, though, particularly in Louisville's Jurich.