The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management is proud to announce its newest class of alumni award recipients. The class includes four alumni who will receive the program’s highest honor, the

The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management is proud to announce its newest class of alumni award recipients. The class includes four alumni who will receive the program’s highest honor, the Harold J. VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award, and four alumni who will receive the program’s Steve McKelvey Alumni on the Rise award.

“We’re excited to honor this group of distinguished alumni for their achievements in the sport industry and their continued engagement with our program and our students,” said Department Chair Dr. Nicole Melton. “We’re grateful to have so many loyal alums who continually give of their time and talents to strengthen our program and elevate our student experience.”

The new class of alumni award winners will be recognized at the annual McCormack Awards Banquet on Thursday, May 2, at the UMass Marriott Center. Below are this year’s recipients:

Harold J. Vanderzwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award

Since 1993, the McCormack Department of Sport Management has awarded the Harold J. VanderZwaag Distinguished Alumnus Award in honor of Dr. VanderZwaag’s unwavering dedication and commitment to the department. Honorees are alumni who display professional excellence, outstanding achievement in the sports industry, and dedication to the McCormack Department of Sport Management.

Tiffany Daniels
Tiffany Daniels '98

Tiffany Daniels '98 MS

Tiffany Daniels currently serves as associate commissioner for competition and senior woman administrator for the Southeastern Conference, a post she’s held since 2013. As a member of the conference’s executive staff, Daniels has oversight of the league’s sport administration and championships programs, serving 21 sports.

She’s held previous posts with Georgia State University, the Georgia Dome, the NBA’s Atlanta Hawks and Orlando Magic, the WNBA’s Orlando Miracle, the NHL’s Atlanta Thrashers, and Philips Arena. She’s been recognized by Women Leaders in Sport as the Nell Jackson Nike Executive of the Year and honored in the 11th class of Sports Business Journal’s Game Changers.

Daniels serves on the boards of the Cornerstone Schools of Alabama and the Recursion Program and is a founding member of the Women’s Foundation of Alabama’s Brilliant Black Girl Collective. Tiffany currently resides in Birmingham, Ala., with her husband Donald, two daughters—Tyler, 16, and Payton, 15—and her bonus daughter, niece JaNae, 21.

Sean Ford
Sean Ford ' 92

Sean Ford '92 MS                                                                                   

Sean Ford is in his 30th year at USA Basketball, the last 23 serving as the men’s national team director. Ford is responsible for overseeing the operations of the Senior National Teams, Qualifying Teams, and Junior National Teams. During his time as the director, they have won four Olympic gold medals, two World Cup gold medals, and 26 FIBA Junior Competition gold medals. Prior to heading up the national team, Ford worked as a manager and then director of national team operations.

Before joining USA Basketball in 1995, Ford spent time in marketing at the University of Cincinnati athletic department. He served as the graduate assistant basketball coach at the University of Massachusetts, while earning his master’s degree in sport management. Ford earned his bachelor's degree in 1990 from Villanova University, where he served as a four-year student manager with the men's basketball team. He and his wife Nora live in Ridgefield, Conn., with their 14-year-old daughter Siobhan and 12-year-old twins, Kate and Luke.

Russell Wallach
Russell Wallach '87

Russell Wallach '87

Russell Wallach leads Live Nation Entertainment's global media and sponsorship division, connecting brands to fans through memorable live music events. Wallach and his 400+ person team develop high-impact partnerships across Live Nation's extensive network, spanning 45 countries, 300+ venues, 5,000 touring artists, 45,000 annual concerts, and 200+ global festivals. A partnership with Live Nation gives brands access to more than 120 million fans before, during, and after highly anticipated live music experiences.

 Under Wallach’s leadership, the team has crafted award-winning programs for influential brands like Coca-Cola, Mastercard, Citi, Hilton, Bacardi, PayPal, Dunkin', Snapchat, and more. Additionally, Russell leads investment partnerships with startups, including Liquid Death, TURN, and about-face, among others, to scale products fans want across the live music ecosystem.

 Before Live Nation, Wallach orchestrated major integrated sponsorship deals in entertainment and sports, securing naming rights for stadiums and arenas during his time at Clear Channel Entertainment, SFX Entertainment, and ProServ.

Jeff Mann
Jeff Mann '96

Jeff Mann '96 MS

Jeff Mann has more than 25 years of experience in sports and live entertainment. He is currently the chief operating officer at the Walton Arts Center and the Walmart AMP, where he is responsible for all operations and the day-to-day management of the two venues. Functional responsibilities include marketing, communications, ticketing, programming, strategic and capital planning, as well as the growth and profitability of the organization. 

Prior to arriving in Northwest Arkansas, Mann spent time with Live Nation as the general manager for the Xfinity Center in Mansfield, Mass. Additional past positions include assistant general manager of the Spectrum Center in Charlotte, North Carolina, and the Glendale Arena in Glendale, Ariz., as well as event operations at the TD Garden in Boston, Mass.   

Throughout his career, Mann has worked on some of the premier events in the venue industry including working with NBA/NHL tenants, NCAA Championships in both basketball and hockey, and the US National Figure Skating Championships, and he played a key role in both the 2004 and 2012 Democratic National Conventions.

Steve McKelvey Alumni on the Rise Award

Launched in 2013, this award recognizes alumni who have graduated within the past five to ten years and have demonstrated exceptional achievement within the sport industry while giving back through time and resources to the McCormack Department of Sport Management at Isenberg. In 2022, the award was renamed in honor of Professor Steve McKelvey in recognition of his passion for industry engagement and the career development of McCormack students and alumni.

Tanya Downey
Tanya Downey '14

Tanya Downey '14

Tanya Downey is currently the vice president of brand consulting at Elevate. Before Elevate, she worked with OneTeam Partners as a consultant for their partnerships team and worked with clients in the Web 3.0 and gaming space. She spent over six years at the MLS in the Partnership Management group, where she advised brands such as AT&T, Home Depot, Anheuser-Busch, and others on intellectual property, media, and partnership rights, as well as activation. She also oversaw strategic planning of commercial partnerships across Major League Soccer, Federación Mexicana de Futbol, and the United States Soccer Federation. In 2019, Downey was recognized as an SBJ New Voices Under 30 honoree.

Sheila Meager
Sheila Meagher '13

Sheila Meagher '13

Sheila Meagher is currently counsel in the business and technology group at Major League Baseball. She is responsible for handling matters and negotiations relating to international and domestic events, youth programs, marketing, and licensing. Her career highlight has been bringing baseball to the international stage through her involvement in the World Baseball Classic. Born and raised on Cape Cod, Meagher’s first internship was with the Cotuit Kettleers of the Cape Cod Baseball League. Solidifying her interest in a baseball career, Meagher was then a legal intern for the Boston Red Sox while in law school.

Meagher graduated from UMass Amherst in 2013, and from Boston College Law School in 2016. While at UMass, Meagher was co-president of the Women in Sport Management Club and president of the club softball team. Meagher currently lives in Brooklyn with her partner Patrick and their dog-- Copper-- and enjoys spending time back on the Cape with family.

Reed Fox
Reed Fox '14

Reed Fox '14

Reed Fox has dedicated his life to using sport for social change. Starting as an intern in 2008, he has been involved with Street Soccer USA in many capacities. Street Soccer USA is a national nonprofit that uses the power of soccer to help people of all ages and backgrounds reach their full potential. 

At UMass, Fox founded the Northampton Exercise Club for the Homeless and more recently, the Sport for Social Change Award. In 2015, Fox moved to Tanzania to develop Sports Charity Mwanza. SCM is an international NGO that supports the creation of a sustainable sports infrastructure in Mwanza, Tanzania. Since its inception, SCM has built three sports complexes, hosted 150 international volunteers, and provided sports equipment for over 1,000 schools and sports teams.

Fox is currently the program director for Street Soccer USA - Sacramento, where his organization recently hosted the 20th edition of the Homeless World Cup.

Kaitlyn Greenleaf
Kaitlyn Greenleaf '13

Kaitlyn Greenleaf '13 MS

Kaitlyn Greenleaf is an accomplished and results-driven VP with a proven track record in operations and strategic planning, particularly within the endurance events industry. As the current VP of USA Today Network Ventures, Greenleaf leads a $90 million business unit, overseeing more than 220 events annually.

Promoted to the role in August 2023, Greenleaf now manages endurance events, non-endurance events, and third-party events for Ventures, a subsidiary of Gannett. Greenleaf’s expertise lies in building and leading effective teams, establishing standards and best practices, and driving success in endurance events. While her current position focuses on strategy and financial performance, she will always be an operations person at heart.

When she’s not reimagining the participant experience, she enjoys her time at home with her husband and their three young kids.