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Navigating Your Career In College Athletics: Todd Turner and Brad Bates

Guest Brad Bates, Collegiate Sports Associates; Todd Turner, Collegiate Sports Associates
36:43 min watch


Collegiate Sports Associates’ Founder & President Todd Turner and VP of Consulting Brad Bates discuss their experiences and advice in advancing to become an Athletics Director. Turner and Bates chat about career advice, recommended skill sets, building relationships, flexibility and much more. The conversation is moderated by Duke Blue Devil Network Executive Director Dave Harding.


The conversation is indexed below for efficient viewing (click the time stamp to jump to a specific question/topic). There’s also a full audio file at the bottom if you’d prefer to listen to the discussion.

  • - What are some of advantageous traits to having when becoming an athletics director?
  • - When you started your career in athletics, was it always your goal to become an AD or did your career lead you onto this path?
  • - What do you wish you had known before making the jump into the AD chair?
  • - Is there one track that you would recommend people take to becoming an AD?
  • - In the search process, what are some things that will set you apart from candidates in a negative way?
  • - How much emphasis should ADs and senior level administrators put on managing and making relationships with the senior level administrators for the institution? (Turner)
  • - How important is it for an AD to be flexible during the course of their career?
  • - Are there any areas where people may put too much attention into certain aspects of their professional career?
  • - How do you remain in touch with the student-athletes and the people on the ground level within an athletic department when you've got so many different aspects evolving so quickly?
  • - How do you value tenure at one institution versus an individual who has bounced around in making a hire?
  • - Is there one piece of advice that you wish you'd known when you were 35 years old that would have made your careers that much easier and more enjoyable?
  • - How much does have having a resume come across your desk for someone who did play collegiate athletics change your perception of them?
  • - As an AD, how would you appreciate someone that's coming up the race asking you for guidance or to stand in a mentorship position?
  • - What is the hardest part about being an Athletics Director?
  • - Who is the most important campus-based leader to form a relationship with that is not the president or chancellor?
  • - What is one decision you made early in your career that was extremely difficult to make at the time that you were incredibly glad you made?
  • - As an AD, how much time is an amount of time for an individual to be productive in their role?
  • - When you are a senior staff administrator looking to take the next step into becoming athletic director, what are you looking for to make sure you're applying for a job that is right for you?