- Ross Bjork, Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate AthleticsEMAIL ROSS Ross Bjork and his wife, Sonya, have two boys: Payton (11) and Paxton (7). Bjork was announced on March 21, 2012 as the seventh full-time Director of Athletics at Ole Miss and, at the time, was the youngest AD among power five conference institutions. In October 2016, he was named the university’s first Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics. His six-year tenure with the Rebels has produced a new spirit surrounding Ole Miss Athletics. Upon his arrival, Bjork reorganized the external relations structure of the department, headlined by a new partnership with multi-media rightsholder, IMG Properties, and the rebranding of the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation. He also created the unit for Health and Sports Performance, which combined sports medicine, strength and conditioning, nutrition and counseling services and added a local orthopedic sports medicine component that provides primary sports medicine care for all student-athletes. In addition, he appointed executive level administrators for academic support, finance and facilities/game operations. Bjork’s vision in facilities has transformed the athletics footprint on campus. The basketball programs moved into the nation’s finest new arena in January 2016 with the opening of the $94.5 million Pavilion at Ole Miss. More than $65 million was infused into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium including a new north end zone, new field club, new and renovated suites, natural grass playing surface, new sound system, new lights, new entry plazas, and three new video boards. All of these enhancements improved on what was already one of the best gameday experiences in college football while increasing capacity by approximately 4,000. A development plan for the Manning Center saw the facility renamed to honor Olivia and Archie Manning while undergoing a $12.5 million renovation and expansion. A $13 million overhaul of the Gillom Center was completed in 2017, a new $11 million indoor tennis facility opened in January, and a $20 million baseball project will be concluded this year. Ole Miss has enjoyed unprecedented support under Bjork. Football season attendance records have been shattered over the last six seasons, while season ticket sales reached four straight sellouts. Baseball finished second in the nation in attendance in 2017, extending a streak of 12 straight seasons in the top five, while softball also experienced a record-breaking year for attendance in 2017. The athletics budget has risen from $57 to $113 million in just five years, and the Athletics Foundation established a record year for donations with $45.6 million in cash contributions in 2015-16. The Forward Together capital campaign has risen from $62 to $175 million in cash and pledges toward its increased goal of $200 million. Bjork’s leadership has translated to tremendous success in the competitive arena. The Rebels achieved their highest Director’s Cup finish in their history in 2016-17 at 39th among Division I institutions. In 2015-16, Ole Miss was the nation’s only school to win nine regular-season football games, 20 regular-season men’s basketball games and 40 regular-season baseball games, while the 2014-15 campaign saw the Rebels as one of only two to make a “New Year’s Six” bowl and the NCAA Tournament in men’s hoops and baseball. Under Bjork’s watch, the football team was one of just five to make the “New Year’s Six” in each of the first two years of the playoff. Other highlights include the first College World Series appearance in 42 years, as the baseball team reached the final four in Omaha and captured the SEC Western Division title in 2014. After a 10-year absence, men’s basketball has advanced in the NCAA Tournament twice in the last five seasons, including 2013 when it claimed the SEC Tournament Championship. Softball claimed its first SEC Tournament title in the spring and made its second straight trip to the Big Dance after missing postseason each of its first 19 years of existence. Baseball, men’s hoops and softball are among Rebel programs to earn NCAA berths under Bjork’s watch, along with soccer (Sweet 16 in 2015), men’s tennis, women’s tennis, men’s golf, women’s golf, men’s track and women’s track. Bjork’s reign has featured six national championships, including the first golf medalist with Braden Thornberry in 2017. Sam Kendricks took home the pole vault title at both the 2013 and 2014 NCAA Outdoor Track and Field Championships, Raven Saunders won the 2016 outdoor and 2017 indoor crowns in the shotput, and the distance medley team captured 2017 indoor medalist honors. The 2013 SEC West champion men’s tennis team also vied for a national title, as the doubles team of Nic Scholtz and Jonas Lutjen advanced to the final four while the team finished top-10 in the polls. The men’s track program has reached new heights, finishing fourth in the nation in cross country in 2016 and eighth at the outdoor championships in 2013. Off the field, Bjork established the goal of a cumulative 3.0 GPA among the student-athlete population when he arrived, and the Rebels achieved that for the first time in program history in 2015-16 and have since maintained the 3.0 mark. In the community, student-athletes are participating in more than 50 service projects per year, and baseball student-athlete Brady Bramlett has served as Vice-Chair of the NCAA Division Student-Athlete Advisory Committee. Throughout his career, Bjork has placed a great importance on diversity, and in 2013, the athletics department partnered with the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation to launch a community engagement week, which has become an annual event. Bjork has taken a leadership role in the Oxford/University community since his arrival. He is a member of the chancellor’s leadership team and has served on numerous committees, including the search for a new chancellor and the naming of Chucky Mullins Drive. Bjork has traveled the region each spring speaking to alumni clubs on the Rebel Road Trip and visited more than 20,000 fans in the first six years of the caravan. His commitment to the fanbase has also shown through gameday surveys and annual improvements to help maintain Ole Miss as the premier “bucket list” experience in college sports. Bjork arrived in Oxford after a stint as Director of Athletics at Western Kentucky University, where he quickly established an atmosphere of success. After Bjork made a midseason coaching change, the Hilltopper men’s basketball team went on to capture the 2012 Sun Belt Conference Tournament title and advanced to the second round of the NCAA Tournament. Women’s Volleyball won the conference regular season and tournament in 2011 and reached the NCAA tournament each of his last two years, while men’s and women’s cross country each won conference team titles in 2011. WKU’s football program posted the greatest one-season improvement in conference wins in the history of the Sun Belt in posting a 7-1 league mark and second-place conference finish. WKU football also signed the conference’s top recruiting class each of his last two seasons. During his tenure, each of WKU’s men’s and women’s athletic teams exceeded the NCAA required 925 Academic Progress Report Rate (APR), and WKU had more individuals honored for their academic achievements by the Sun Belt Conference than any other institution in 2011-12. For the first time in program history, the overall cumulative average GPA was over 3.0 for all 391 student-athletes and 228 maintained a cumulative GPA of 3.0 or higher. Ten of the university’s 15 athletic programs posted a cumulative team GPA of 3.0 or better. The youngest athletics director of the 120 NCAA FBS programs when hired at WKU, Bjork has an extensive career in intercollegiate athletics with more than two decades of experience as an administrator and student-athlete, having worked on the senior staffs at UCLA, the University of Miami and the University of Missouri. He began his administrative career at WKU as an Assistant Development Coordinator in 1996-97. Bjork, 46, is a native of Dodge City, Kan., and received his bachelor’s degree in recreation administration from Emporia State University in 1995 where he was a two-year starter at fullback. Bjork was honored by Emporia State with the 2017 distinguished alumni award. He earned a master’s degree in athletic administration from Western Illinois University in December 1996. Bjork has quickly established a leadership role in the SEC by serving as Chair of the awards committee and representing the SEC on NCAA men’s basketball oversight committee and the NCAA transfer working group. The Bjork File Age: 46 Hometown: Dodge City, Kan. High School: Dodge City Senior High School College: Emporia State University (B.S., Recreation Administration, 1995); Western Illinois University (M.S., Athletic Administration, 1996) Wife: Sonya Children: Sons, Payton Ross (11) and Paxton Ross (7) Bjork’s Career Timeline 2012-Present: Ole Miss, Director of Athletics/Vice Chancellor for Intercollegiate Athletics 2010-12: Western Kentucky University, Director of Intercollegiate Athletics 2005-10: UCLA, Senior Associate Athletic Director for External Relations 2003-05: University of Miami, Associate Athletic Director for External Operations 2001-03: University of Missouri, Assistant Athletic Director for Development 1997-2001: University of Missouri, Athletic Development Officer 1996-97: Western Kentucky University, Assistant Development Coordinator 1995-96: Western Illinois University, Campus Recreation Grad. Asst./Ath. Dept. Volunteer 1995: University of Tulsa, Marketing Intern 1994: Albuquerque Dukes, Front Office Intern
- Keith Carter, Deputy A.D. for Development & Resource Acquisition/ Executive DirectorEMAIL KEITH
Former Ole Miss Basketball All-American Keith Carter was named Deputy Athletics Directors for Development and Resource Acquisition in February 2018. He serves as the Chief Revenue Officer for the athletics department while continuing to oversee the Foundation and serve as the sport administrator for baseball and men’s basketball. Carter rejoined the athletics department in September 2009 and has served as Executive Director for the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation since June 2012. He received the 2016 Fundraiser of the Year Award from the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD). Under Carter’s guidance, the Foundation has experienced its seven highest years for donations, including a record $45.6 million in cash contributions in 2015-16, and a total of $219 million in cash over the past eight years. During his tenure, commitments to the Forward Together campaign have increased from $62 to $175 million in cash and pledges toward its goal of $200 million. Among the major gifts is a donation of $25 million, which is the largest gift in the history of Ole Miss Athletics. Carter is also responsible for multiple other seven-figure gifts including several tied to the naming of facilities. He has worked with other executive level staff to build the vision for facility growth through the Forward Together campaign, which included plans for the $95 million Pavilion at Ole Miss, $65 million into Vaught-Hemingway Stadium, $13 million toward the Gillom Athletics Performance Center, $11 million toward a new indoor tennis facility, and $20 million into Oxford-University Stadium enhancements. Carter joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation after spending the previous year with the UM Foundation, where he worked in donor relations and meeting the financial needs of the School of Business. He continues to serve with the Ole Miss Radio Network as the color analyst for Rebel hoops games alongside play-by-play announcer David Kellum. Carter joined the Ole Miss Radio Network prior to the 2008-09 season. A four-year starter at Ole Miss, Carter helped the Rebels to a pair of Southeastern Conference Western Division titles in 1997 and 1998 and earned All-America honors after his senior season in 1999. The four-year starter received All-SEC first and second team honors in 1998 and 1999. He also won a gold medal as a member of the U.S. national team at the 1998 Goodwill Games. Carter played professional basketball in Italy from 2001 until 2008. A native of Perryville, Arkansas, Carter lives in Oxford with his wife, Jill, and three children – Drew, Callie and Hayes.
Annual Giving Staff
- Wesley Owen, Associate A.D. for Resource DevelopmentEMAIL WESLEY
Wesley Owen joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in May 2018 as Associate Athletics Director of Resource Development. Wesley’s responsibilities include overseeing annual giving and the ticket office. Wesley has been with Ole Miss Athletics since June 2005, when he started with the athletics ticket office. Wesley was previously had oversight of the athletics ticket office before joining the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation.
Wesley graduated with a B.A. in Biochemistry and a B.S. in Forensic Chemistry from Ole Miss in 2005. Wesley is a native of Batesville, MS.
- Anne Threlkeld, Associate Director of DevelopmentEMAIL ANNE
Anne Threlkeld joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in January of 2015 as Assistant Director of Development and was elevated to her current position as Associate Director of Development in January of 2017. Anne’s responsibilities include assisting in the fundraising efforts of annual giving and priority seating, as well as managing the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation’s communications and donor relations.
Anne comes to Ole Miss after working in the Alexander-Tharpe Fund in the Georgia Tech Athletics Association, first as an intern, then as a Development Assistant. While working at Georgia Tech, she earned her Master’s in Kinesiology- Sport Management from the University of Georgia.
Anne was a member of the Rebel track and cross country teams from 2009-2013, was a 4-year letterwinner, and is a school record holder in the DMR. Anne graduated cum laude from the University of Mississippi in the Spring of 2013 with bachelor’s degree in psychology. Anne grew up in Oxford, MS and is a lifelong Rebel fan. Her parents are both professors at Ole Miss.
- Brady Bramlett, Assistant Director of DevelopmentEMAIL BRADY
Brady Bramlett joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in August of 2016 as External Relations Assistant and was elevated to his current position in October of 2017. Brady’s responsibilities include managing the car dealer program, overseeing fundraising efforts for suites and skyboxes, event planning and annual fund stewardship, as well as assisting in the fundraising efforts of annual giving and priority seating. Brady served as the Chair of the NCAA Division I National Student-Athlete Advisory Committee, and was a member of the NCAA Division I Board of Directors. Along with that, he represented the SEC as a voting member within the Autonomy, Power 5 Conferences.
Brady was a pitcher for the Rebel baseball team from 2013-2016, a 3-year letter winner, drafted by the Oakland Athletics in 2015, then drafted again by the Boston Red Sox in 2016, and is one of few Rebel pitchers to have 20 career wins on the mound. Brady graduated from the University of Mississippi in the spring of 2016 with a bachelor’s degree in biology, and earned his master’s in integrated marketing communications in May 2018. Brady grew up in Bartlett, TN a Rebel fan. He is the son of Bobby and Amy Bramlett, and brother of Bryson Bramlett.
- Hailey Gilleland, Assistant Director of DevelopmentEMAIL HAILEY
Hailey Gilleland joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in January of 2018 as Assistant Director of Development. Hailey’s responsibilities are assisting in the fundraising efforts of annual giving and priority seating for football, basketball, and baseball.
Hailey comes to Ole Miss from Cougar Pride and The University of Houston Athletics where she worked as the Assistant Director of Development for Internal Operations and Stewardship. Prior to her time at Houston Hailey spent the 2016-2017 season with Duke University Athletics/The Iron Dukes as a Development Assistant for Major Gifts and the Iron Dukes Annual Fund; and the 2015-16 season working in the NFL for the Washington Redskins Community Relations Department and Charitable Foundation.
Hailey grew up in Lakewood Colorado and is a graduate of the University of Alabama where she was a member of the Crimson Tide’s Rowing program.
- Da'Ron Brown, Assistant Director of DevelopmentEMAIL DA’RON Da’Ron joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in December of 2017 as Development Assistant and was elevated to his current role in August of 2018. Da’Ron’s responsibilities include assisting in the fundraising efforts of annual giving and priority seating for football, basketball, and baseball.
Prior to joining the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation Da’Ron worked with Troy University Athletics as a graduate assistant in Development/Fundraising. During his time with Troy University, he helped solicitation for the Trojan Warrior Fund and had hospitality and event setup responsibilities.
Da’Ron was a member of Troy University Football team in 2012-2013 and graduated with a Bachelors in Sports and Fitness Management . He also received his Master’s in Public Administration with a concentration in Non-Profit Management from Troy University. He is a native of Deerfield Beach, FL and is engaged to Alexus Cobbs of Decatur, GA. The two have a newborn son Drayson Elijah Brown.
- Zachary Hays, Development AssistantEMAIL ZACHARY Zachary Hays joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation as Development Assistant in October 2018.
Prior to coming to Ole Miss, Hays served as the Ticket Office Assistant at the University of Alabama at Birmingham, where he assisted in all aspects of ticket operations and sales, as well as travel and game day operations for road football games. While he was there, UAB set the school single game attendance record for football and led Conference USA in per game attendance.
In 2016, Hays was the Events & Hospitality Intern for the Jacksonville Sports Council. His duties included supporting in the planning and operations of the Navy vs. Notre Dame football game, Jacksonville Pop Warner Championships, and TaxSlayer Gator Bowl. He also assisted with the Bowl Selection Committee.
A native of Jacksonville, Florida, Hays graduated with a Bachelor’s of Science in Marketing from Florida State University in May 2017.
Major Giving Staff
- Matt Mossberg, Associate A.D. for DevelopmentEMAIL MATT
Matt Mossberg re-joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation staff in July of 2015. After spending three years at the University at Buffalo, including one as Assistant AD for Development/Major Gifts, Mossberg returned to his alma mater as the Associate AD for Development overseeing Major Gifts. While at UB, Mossberg served as Director of Development for Major Gifts before being promoted to Assistant AD for Development/Gifts in 2014. In that role, Mossberg directed UB’s Major Gifts team and served as a member of the athletic department’s senior staff.
A native of Costa Mesa, California, Mossberg spent over a decade in various rolls at Ole Miss prior to making the move to Buffalo. He started as a student-athlete, playing baseball for the Rebels from 2000-03 before returning as the Director of Baseball Operations in 2006. After serving as an administrator and coach for five seasons, Mossberg made the transition to Major Gifts Officer for Ole Miss Athletics Foundation where he brought in several major gifts as part of the Forward Together campaign. During his time on the diamond as an assistant coach, Mossberg was an integral part of the success of the Rebels which garnered several NCAA berths resulting in two regionals, two super regionals and a 2009 SEC Championship. A four-year letter winner for the Rebels, Mossberg also helped lead the Rebels to two postseason appearances in the 2001 NCAA Regional at Tulane and the 2003 NCAA Regional at Rice. The center fielder was known for his defense, but also hit .306 for his career with 24 RBI and notched 24 steals in his career. After earning his B.S. degree in Exercise Science from Ole Miss in 2003, Mossberg earned his M.A. in Sports Management from the University of Alabama, Tuscaloosa in 2008.
Mossberg is married to the former Cheryl Wilson of Birmingham, Alabama, who played volleyball for Ole Miss from 2000-02. The couple have three sons: Jack, Pete, and Roy.
- Matt McLaughlin, Director of DevelopmentEMAIL MATT
Matt McLaughlin joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in October of 2012 and was elevated to his current position in January of 2017. Matt’s responsibilities will be advancing fundraising efforts through philanthropic major gifts to the Vaught Society. The Vaught Society is a key component in support of the Forward Together Campaign, which is a $200 million facilities initiative for Ole Miss Athletics. Prior to his role as Associate Director of Development for Major Gifts, Matt was an Assistant Director of Development for Annual Giving. Matt’s responsibilities were to assist in fundraising efforts for Football, Basketball, and Baseball, which saw three consecutive record breaking years in membership and annual contributions.
Matt graduated from Jacksonville State University in Jacksonville, AL with a Bachelor of Science degree in Political Science and minor in Marketing. He was also a four-year letterman for the Gamecock Baseball Team as an infielder and designated hitter. The Gamecocks won two Ohio Valley Conference titles during McLaughlin’s four year tenure from 2008 to 2011.
A native of Tampa, FL, Matt lives in Oxford with his wife, Brittney, and their daughter, Finley.
- Alex Rankin, Associate Director of DevelopmentEMAIL ALEX
Alex joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in April 2017 as Assistant Director of Development and was elevated to his current role in November 2018. Alex’s responsibilities include the development of philanthropic major gifts to the Vaught Society. Currently, the Vaught Society is helping to fund the $200 million Forward Together campaign which includes a new basketball arena, renovations to Vaught Hemingway Stadium, and improvements for facilities serving all 18 sports at Ole Miss.
Prior to Ole Miss, Alex served as a Development Associate for The Rams Club at the University of North Carolina. His primary role was to assist the Major Gift team in raising funds for capital projects and the athletic scholarship endowment. During his time at UNC, The Rams Club announced its two most successful fundraising years in the foundation’s history.
Alex was born in Indianola, MS and lived in Oxford prior to moving to Hillsborough, NC. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in Psychology from Tulane University and a Masters of Sport Administration from the University of North Carolina.
- Jordie Kindervater, Associate Director of DevelopmentEMAIL JORDIE
Jordie Kindervater joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in November 2018 as Associate Director of Development. Jordie’s responsibilities include the development of philanthropic major gifts to the Vaught Society. Currently, the Vaught Society is helping to fund the $200 million Forward Together campaign which includes a new basketball arena, renovations to Vaught Hemingway Stadium, and improvements for facilities serving all 18 sports at Ole Miss.
Prior to arriving at Ole Miss, Kindervater spent five years with the Blue & White Fund, the fundraising arm for University at Buffalo Athletics. During his time as a Development Assistant, Assistant Director for Development and Major Gift Officer, the BWF experienced three record breaking fundraising years in terms of cash collections and set new standards with former student-athlete giving and overall membership. Most recently at UB, Kindervater oversaw the Shareholders Society, which led the way in delivering a new Fieldhouse, Sports Medicine Center, Football Operations Center and Premium Club Seating to campus.
Before transitioning into development, Kindervater served as the Assistant Men’s Tennis Coach at the University at Buffalo and the University of Central Florida. While at UB, Kindervater was named the ITA Northeast Region Assistant Coach of the Year in 2011 and his teams took home Mid-American Conference regular season titles in 2010 and 2012. During his time at UCF, Kindervater contributed to landing the program’s first top 20 ranked recruiting class in 2012.
A native of St. John’s, Newfoundland, Canada, Kindervater earned his B.S. from the University of Alabama, where he was a four-year letter winner and three-year captain for the men’s tennis team. He also received his M.S.A. from Canisius College in 2012.
Jordie and his wife Sarah reside in Oxford with their two daughters, Claire and Catherine.
- Jenny Johnson, Assistant Director of Development/Stewardship and Prospect ManagementEMAIL JENNY
Jenny Johnson joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in October 2018 as an Assistant Director of Development/Major Gifts after serving two years as an Ole Miss Assistant Director for Marketing and Fan Experience. During her time working in the Ole Miss Athletics marketing department, Johnson oversaw marketing and fan experiences operations, and managed in-game atmospheres for baseball, women’s basketball, soccer and women’s golf.
Prior to returning to her alma mater, Johnson spent five years as an Associate Director for Marketing at Valparaiso University. She coordinated marketing activities for all 19 sports, while managing a team of student workers. While working full time at Valpo, she earned her master’s degree in sports media from the university. In 2011, Johnson graduated from Ole Miss with a bachelor’s degree in business administration. While spending four years as a Rebel student, Johnson worked as a student intern in the Ole Miss Athletics marketing department.
A native of Mt. Zion, Illinois, Johnson resides in Oxford with her husband Mark.
- Kerry Cruse, Operations Coordinator
- Fowler Staines, Chief Financial OfficerEMAIL FOWLER
Fowler Staines joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in August of 2012 after previously working for McGladrey and Pullen, LLP (Washington, DC) and Kinney and Associates (Oxford, MS).
Fowler graduated from Ole Miss in 2007 with a Bachelor of Accountancy and received her Master of Accountancy from the University of North Carolina – Charlotte in 2008. Fowler is a Certified Public Accountant, a member of the American Institute of Certified Public Accountants as well as the Mississippi Society of Certified Public Accountants.
Fowler lives in Oxford with her husband, Billy, and their children Graham, Miles, and Annesly.
- Georgia Russell, AccountantEMAIL GEORGIA
Georgia Russell joined the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation in May of 2017 as an accountant. Prior to joining the Ole Miss Athletics Foundation Georgia worked for Ham Langston & Brezina, LLP (Houston, TX) as a staff auditor. She also interned with the Ole Miss Business Administration office during the spring semester of 2017.
Georgia was a letterwinner on the Ole Miss women’s soccer team from 2012-2016. During Georgia’s time with the program she was an integral part of the Rebels success as they appeared in their first-ever NCAA Sweet 16 appearance. Georgia graduated from Ole Miss in 2015 with a Bachelor of Accountancy, and completed her Master’s in Accountancy from Ole Miss in 2017. Georgia grew up in Tupelo, MS and lives in Oxford as a huge Rebel Fan!
- Tammy Diggs, Donations Manager