Florida Atlantic University

Brian White
Director of Athletics

Brian White

Brian White was named Florida Atlantic University Vice President and Director of Athletics on March 3, 2018. Since that time White has wasted no time initiating the culture of #WinningInParadise in Boca Raton while helping the program grow in stature and national prominence.

White oversees an athletics department that is committed to Winning for Life, providing student-athletes with all the tools necessary to be successful in competition, in the classroom, in the community and in their lives after sports.

He was instrumental in one of the more influential changes to FAU Athletics in the fall of 2021, when FAU announced it would accept an invitation to join the American Athletic Conference, which took effect on July 1, 2023.

FAU has also seen facilities upgrades under White’s leadership. The Schmidt Family Complex for Academic and Athletic Excellence, a $72 million project, opened to rave reviews in 2020. The Schmidt Family Complex houses the football program and the department’s academic support staff. The Schmidt Family Complex features one of the most spacious strength and conditioning spaces in the state of Florida. Every student-athlete at FAU is impacted by the Schmidt Family Complex, which serves as one of the crown jewels of FAU Athletics’ facilities.

At FAU Stadium, there is a new football gameday locker room, training room and equipment room. Brand-new, state-of-the-art locker rooms for the men’s and women’s basketball teams debuted in 2022. New LED lighting has been added to FAU Baseball Stadium and there are numerous renovations that will touch nearly every at the newly announced Hagerty Family Athletics Village. These renovations include a brand new track for the track and field complex, and remodeling the Tom Oxley Center, the Olympic sports hub. Also underway is full renovation to the newly named Eleanor R. Baldwin Arena.

With a background in fundraising and external relations, White was able to help FAU make immediate strides in those areas during his first year on the job. FAU rebranded from the Owl Scholarship Fund to the Paradise Club and was able to increase giving to 275% compared to the previous year while also growing membership by 25% in 2018-19. Overall, FAU saw giving increase to 630% of the previous year. In 2019-20, Paradise Club giving grew to 300 percent of the previous year’s fund-raising total. White’s team launched the We Believe In Paradise initiative in December of 2020 and the initiative led to a 30 percent increase in donor participation in the Paradise Club in just four months. In addition, two separate gift commitments of more than $2 million were pledged to FAU Athletics in 2020.

That success has continued throughout White’s tenure. Fiscal year 2022 saw overall giving to athletics grow to just under $7.2 million, a significant increase from the previous year. In addition, Paradise Club giving increased by more than double, to nearly $1.3 million. Since White took the helm in Paradise, FAU Athletics has generated 30 six- or seven-figure gifts, including eight in fiscal year 2022 alone. Those 30 gifts are the most of that amount in any five-year span of FAU Athletics’ history. The historic 2022-23 athletic season saw over 15.3 million in giving, which is more than double the total gifts from the prior year and was made possible by 503 new donors.

FAU Athletics’ culture of academic success has continued to grow under White’s leadership. FAU student-athletes have put together a streak of 16 consecutive semesters (as of Spring 2023) with a department-wide grade-point average of 3.0 or better. Owl student-athletes continue to graduate at a higher rate than their peers in the general student population.

Athletics reached new heights in 2022-23. In the fall of 2022, a national football head coaching search spearheaded by White culminated with the hiring of Tom Herman, an elite winning program builder. Just months after Herman joined the staff, Dusty May, White’s first hire, and his basketball team led Florida Atlantic, the Boca Raton Community and the nation on a run to the Final Four. That run united FAU faithful and exposed the world to a program that exuded an unmatched togetherness, drive and spirit. White then completed a contract extension that secured May, the 2023 CBS Coach of the Year, to “Paradise for the next 10 years”. That same time span saw Brandon Shepherd garner CCSA Men’s Diver of the Year honors, Alicia Mora gained a berth in the NCAA National Swimming Championship, and Aniya Hubbard was named the Conference USA Freshman of the Year. In May of 2023, the beach volleyball team made their second-consecutive trip to the NCAA postseason tournament after capturing their first Conference USA title. First year head softball coach Jordan Clark, who White hired from Ohio State, finished with a 35-20 record in 2023 and mentored the C-USA Pitcher of the Year in Gabby Sacco, who also garnered NFCA All-Region honors. All attention then turned to the 2023 MLB draft, where C-USA Player of the Year, Nolan Schanuel, was taken in the first round by the Angels and was the 11th pick overall. Schanuel, a five-time All-American as well as an Academic All-American, became the highest FAU student-athlete draftee in any sport.

With record success came record ticket sales. The men’s basketball team ended the 2022-23 season with seven-consecutive sellouts. Ticket sales for the 2023-24 season are up 634% compared to the previous year. Women’s basketball experienced a 29% growth in 2022-23. As the university’s profile continues to grow, increased ticket sales continue in all sports, including a 34% football season ticket increase compared to 2022.

The 2021-22 year was once again very successful across the board for FAU Athletics. The Owls’ beach volleyball team reached the NCAA Championship tournament for the first time, defeating No. 9-ranked Stanford in the first round and finishing the season with a program-best ranking of No. 8 nationally. The late Capri Grotowski was named the C-USA Coach of the Year, while then-assistant coach and current head coach Steve Grotwoski was named the AVCA National Assistant Coach of the Year. The men’s basketball program put together a fourth-consecutive winning season, a first for the program. In addition, the Owls earned a bid in the postseason and Dusty May has emerged as the winningest coach in program history. Women’s golfer Leitizia Bagnoli was named C-USA Golfer of the Year and won the C-USA Individual Championship, while the team finished third in C-USA, climbing all the way up the standings from 11th in 2018. The men’s golf team finished stroke play in first place at the C-USA Championships, just four short years after finishing 12th, and earned its highest national ranking ever. Swimmer Rateb Hussein was named the CCSA Men’s Swimmer of the Year, winning three individual events at the CCSA Championships. The men’s tennis team recorded the program-best national during the season. The men’s soccer program advanced to the C-USA Championship game, defeating defending national champion Marshall in the process.

Despite many challenges in the 2020-21 year, the Owls still enjoyed success in competition. The football program was undefeated at home under new head coach Willie Taggart and advanced to its third bowl game in the past four seasons. The men’s and women’s basketball teams advanced to the C-USA Championship quarterfinals in the same year for the first time ever. The beach volleyball program earned its first-ever conference title and finished the season ranked No. 12 in the nation.

White’s first two years at FAU saw many accomplishments for the Owls in competition. The football team won its second Conference USA Championship in three years in 2019. Women’s soccer scored back-to-back C-USA regular season titles and baseball earned the 2019 C-USA regular season championship. There was history made on the track in 2019, as Natalliah Whyte became the first FAU track and field athlete to reach the NCAA Outdoor Championships in the 100m dash.

White, who has an extensive background in collegiate sports administration, hit the ground running upon arriving in Boca. He immediately built a strong administrative staff and spearheaded several initiatives including Paradise Pricing and the Paradise Pride Program. In 2019, under White’s leadership FAU added a new premium seating area at FAU Stadium — Paradise Field Cabanas in the south end zone. The field cabanas were so popular, White and his team added eight new bar cabanas to the north end zone of Howard Schnellenberger Field in 2022.

The Owls have made an impact in the community during White’s tenure with more than 15,000 hours of community service.

White came to FAU from the University of Missouri, where he was named senior associate athletics director in 2015 before becoming deputy athletics director for external relations in 2016. He also served as Missouri’s sport administrator for football and men’s basketball.

At Missouri, White oversaw all external units, including development, marketing, ticket sales, strategic communications, Mizzou Sports Properties, and the Mizzou Network. He managed the university’s relationship with Learfield Sports, which also partners with FAU to maximize FAU’s brand awareness and royalty revenues.

White led fundraising efforts that set the single-year Missouri athletics department records of more than $50 million (more than doubling the previous year) and 11 seven-figure gifts. In addition, the department secured the necessary donations that allowed the Board of Curators, which oversees the University of Missouri system, to approve a funding model for a $100 million expansion of Memorial Stadium set to be completed before the 2019 football season.

In leading the athletic department’s external teams, White implemented a strategic marketing and ticket sales approach that increased the men’s basketball season ticket revenue by 57 percent and sold-out Mizzou Arena’s season ticket offerings for the first time in school history.

Prior to his time at Missouri, White was the associate athletic director for development and chief development officer at Army West Point. He also oversaw all athletic fundraising efforts at the University of Tulsa in 2014 and was associate athletic director for external affairs at Louisiana Tech University from 2012-2014. Before moving into athletics development and administration, White spent 2007-12 as an account executive at IMG College, a leading collegiate sports marketing company.

White’s family is highly respected in collegiate athletics. His father, Kevin, recently retired from his role as Duke University’s vice president and director of athletics; his oldest brother, Mike, is the head men’s basketball coach at the University of Georgia; brother, Danny, is director of athletics at the University of Tennessee.

White earned a bachelor’s degree from the University of Notre Dame (2006) and a master’s in business administration from Ohio University (2008). White and his wife, Paige, have two daughters, Callahan and Emerson and a son, Eamon.