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TAMUC – Sports

Taylor Phelps named NAADD Rising Star.

CLEVELAND, Ohio – Taylor Phelps, Texas A&M University-Commerce associate director of athletics for resource development and executive director of the Lion Champions Fund, has been named the 2020 Rising Star Award winner by the National Association of Athletic Development Directors (NAADD). 

Phelps, a former men’s basketball student-athlete and Honors College graduate at A&M-Commerce (2014), epitomizes the term “institutional fit.” Phelps is in his third year as associate director of athletics for resource development at A&M-Commerce and LCF executive director. 

He oversees the Lion Champions Fund (philanthropic giving – including major gifts, annual giving, endowments, and former letter-winners’ association), Lion Sports Properties (corporate partnerships), and ticket sales. His primary focus is identifying and engaging alumni and friends who wish to provide a “Best in Class” experience for Lion student-athletes. 

Phelps has continued to lead the remarkable growth of not only the LCF (annual fund for athletics) but also all external revenue streams across the department. His efforts produced overall external revenue of $801,962 in actual cash revenues (this number does not include a gift in kind or planned to give). Overall external revenue has quadrupled in a three-year window, and philanthropic giving is six times where it was just three years ago. Philanthropic cash giving alone was over $414,200 in the 2019 fiscal year. That number was only under $69,000 three years ago. 

Also, Phelps led TAMUC’s Night with Champions event – a silent and live auction – that generated over $99,500 in cash to directly support summer school scholarships and nutrition initiatives for TAMUC’s 444 student-athletes. 

“I am honored and humbled to be recognized by my colleagues as this year’s NAADD Rising Star,” Phelps said. “It is a blessing to wake up every day to improve our student-athlete experience and serve as a steward to help make our donors’ philanthropic dreams become a reality. Thank you to our University President, Dr. Mark Rudin, Athletics Director, Tim McMurray, Vice President for Institutional Advancement, Keturi DeLong, and our entire team at A&M-Commerce for supporting me, and making A&M-Commerce a great place to work!” 

A major reason for the philanthropic success under Phelps is his gift for cultivating relationships on campus with alumni relations, advancement services, the president’s office, and various vice presidents and deans throughout campus. Phelps is a ‘go-to’ person for not only TAMUC’s athletics department but also in his joint appointment in the Institutional Advancement division. Phelps is valued for his performance, perspective, and personal core values. 

“For Taylor to receive this national recognition is a strong testament to his performance and influence over improving our philanthropic culture at A&M-Commerce, as he joins an impressive list of past award winners,” said A&M-Commerce director of athletics and NAADD past president Tim McMurray. “Congratulations to him on this high honor, and to the NAADD Executive Committee on making a terrific choice.” 

Phelps is joined as a NAADD award winner by NAADD Lifetime Achievement Award winner Miles Marks, former President and CEO of the 12th Man Foundation at Texas A&M University, and Fund Raiser of the Year, Tim Folan, senior associate director of athletics, development and alumni relations at the University of Pennsylvania. 

“The NAADD Executive Committee and I want to congratulate this year’s NAADD Award winners. We had a really talented pool of nominees who have all contributed to our industry in tremendous ways,” stated NAADD President Sarah Baumgartner, deputy athletics director at Rutgers University. “NAADD is excited to recognize the award winners at this year’s NAADD Convention in Las Vegas in June. We look forward to celebrating their achievements with our NAADD Convention attendees and guests.” 

Phelps and the other NAADD award winners will be honored Monday, June 8, before the NAADD General Sessions, held in conjunction with the 27th Annual NAADD Convention at the Mandalay Bay Resort in Las Vegas, Nevada.