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Adidas, College Football Playoff execs headline Niagara University summit

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Mon, Feb 6th 2017 12:35 pm

By Niagara University

When Jeremy Darlow was in college, he set a goal to be the head of brand marketing for football at Adidas or Nike. It was a lofty ambition, for sure, but one that he has since realized. He's now the director of brand marketing for Adidas.

Less than a year after Gina Lehe was named senior director of communications and brand management for the College Football Playoff, she helped stage the first-ever CFP national championship game. It was a monumental undertaking for the organization, and one for which Lehe played a significant role in bringing to fruition.

Darlow and Lehe headline a "who's who" list of industrious industry experts from amateur, intercollegiate and professional sport participating in Niagara University's Sport, Recreation & Tourism Summit on Feb. 25.

The keynote speakers - Darlow, Lehe and University at Buffalo athletic director Allen Greene - and panel members possess a wealth of experience in marketing and brand management, media relations, communication and digital content, intercollegiate athletics and sport events and tourism.

Lehe previously spent 16 years working in the college football bowl industry, most recently as the director of media for the Rose Bowl. She also served in similar capacities for the Fiesta Bowl and Insight Bowl. The University of Arizona graduate is a member of the Association for Women in Sports Media, College Sports Information Directors of America, Football Writers Association of America, National Football Foundation and College Hall of Fame, and public relations and media committee for the Football Bowl Association.

An Oregon State University alumnus, Darlow joined Adidas as a digital marketing manager in October 2008. During his time with the global sportswear manufacturer, he has worked with schools that include Notre Dame, Michigan and UCLA, and athletes such as Jimmy Graham, Dwight Howard and Lionel Messi.

Greene became one of the youngest athletic directors in the NCAA Division I ranks when he was elevated to his position in November 2015 at age 38. Prior to being named UB's AD, Greene served as deputy director of athletics and senior associate athletic director for administration. He came to Buffalo from the University of Mississippi, where he served as assistant athletic director for development and priority seating. Greene holds a bachelor's degree from Notre Dame and a master's degree from Indiana University South Bend.

A series of seven breakout sessions will focus on topics such as event and facility operations, brand management, social media and women in sport, among others.

Sponsored by the Hyatt, the conference is being co-chaired by Dr. Patricia Millar and Dr. Patrick Tutka, assistant professors of sport management at Niagara University.

"We are extremely excited to be able to host such a dynamic lineup of executives from some of the foremost brands in the world," Tutka said. "This event presents an excellent opportunity for sport management students and seasoned professionals to network with and learn from leaders in the sport industry."

Registration for the daylong event is $50, or $40 for NU students. It includes access to all keynote and panel sessions, breakfast and lunch, and a copy of Darlow's book, "Brands Win Championships."

Only 125 registrations will be accepted. Additional information is available at www.nusrtsummit.com.

NU's College of Hospitality and Tourism Management offers undergraduate and graduate programs in sport management. To learn more, visit www.niagara.edu/hospitality or call 716-286-8279.

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