Michael Kelly was named vice president of athletics on June 26, 2018, returning him to the Bay area where he had previously served as an associate athletic director for USF and led efforts around a Super Bowl, the College Football National Championship and the NCAA Men’s Final Four played in Tampa Bay. He was named the chair of the The American’s Athletic Directors Executive Committee in June of 2020 and also joined the conference’s Racial Equality Action Group.
Kelly oversaw the launch, and then expansion, of just the second digital radio network in college sports as USF partnered with local sports giant WDAE and iHeart Radio to create Bulls Unlimited and Bulls Unlimited 2 stations carrying USF Athletics 24 hours a day and for WDAE to serve as the flagship station of USF Football. Kelly also initiated USF’s membership in the Green Sports Alliance (GSA) and the implementation of green initiatives throughout the department and its athletic facilities and saw to the return of the USF Athletic Hall of Fame and, in 2019, the first new inductions since 2013, while also reigniting the Bulls Fest annual donor auction.
Kelly came to USF after serving as the chief operating officer for the College Football Playoff (2012-18) and playing an instrumental role in launching the highly successful playoff. He previously served as associate athletic director for external affairs at USF under former director of athletics and Tampa Bay legend Lee Roy Selmon. Kelly returned to the university with nearly 25 years of experience in college and professional athletics.
A founding board member of the Collegiate Event and Facilities Management Association (CEFMA), Kelly currently serves on the President’s Board of Advisors for St. Thomas University (Miami Gardens, FL), the Board of Trustees for St. John’s College High School (Washington, D.C.), the Board of Advisors for the University of North Carolina’s Center for Research in Intercollegiate Athletics and the National Sports Advisory Committee for the American Arbitration Association.
A passionate supporter of the sports administration and event management industries, Kelly has served as an adjunct faculty member at the University of Tampa and St. Thomas University, and has lectured at dozens of colleges around the country. In 2006, Kelly was named to the Sports Business Journal’s “Forty Under 40” and was presented with St. Thomas University’s Distinguished Alumnus Award.
Kelly, 50, earned his bachelor’s degree from Wake Forest University, graduating Magna Cum Laude, and earned a master’s degree in sports administration from St. Thomas University in Miami Gardens. The Washington, D.C., native began his career in sports as an intern for the Florida Marlins during their inaugural season while attending graduate school.
He and his wife, Lisa, have two daughters, Cara and Seana.