Next up in our profile series is a candidate from the school that got us into this whole mess to begin with: Chris Iacoi of the University of California, Los Angeles.
Who is he?
Chris Iacoi is currently the CFO at UCLA and Boston College grad (Class of 2001, MBA 2005).
Iacoi began his athletic department career at none other than Boston College, beginning as an undergraduate student worker and rising through the ranks to become the department’s Assistant Athletic Director for Business Operations in 2010. He joined UCLA as CFO in 2014, where he manages Business activities, Human Resources, Team Travel, Game Management, Equipment Operations, Facilities, Capital Projects, and Information Technology. He was also part of the negotiation team that signed UCLA’s IMG and Under Armour contracts, both the largest in the nation in their respective areas when signed.
Chris is also an active member of the College Athletic Business Management Association (CABMA), where he served on the Executive Committee from 2011-2016, was the association’s President for 2014-2015, and was named CABMA Manager of the Year in 2017.
Why It Makes Sense
This hire just works for so many reasons:
First off, he has nearly two decades worth of major athletic department experience and is one of CollegeAD’s rising stars (He’s kind of like Jarmond in this way). The only knock would be that he’s never been the head Athletic Director before, but quite frankly he’s worked in nearly every possible section of an athletic department so it’s not like he doesn’t understand how these organizations function.
Secondly, he’s not only an Eagle but also a born and bred New Englander. He knows the turf, he knows what the fans want, and he knows where this city stands on college sports and what it would take to break through. One could also assume that those roots would mean that he’s more likely to stick around if he’s successful. And while that last part shouldn’t be a major motivating factor in his hire, it’s an added bonus that could push him above other equally qualified candidates.
And third, he comes from the business side of the front office. In a world of financial uncertainty for higher education and college sports, there is an advantage to having a guy who knows the numbers inside and out. Iacoi’s background also makes him an enticing candidate for continuing the momentum Martin Jarmond had behind the Greater Heights Campaign.
To me, Iacoi would be kind of like the Jeff Hafley coaching hire, where it just makes too much sense when all the considerations are laid out on the table. It’s certainly not a stunning, out-of-nowhere hire, but it isn’t a safe and sleepy Brad Bates redux.
I know I’d be very pleased if Chris Iacoi comes home, what do you all think? Let us know in the comments!