UGA Alumni Sports Industry Council
The UGA Alumni Sports Industry Council is an external advisory board that serves the student population in the UGA Sport Management and Policy program. The Council is a group of sport industry veterans that foster important links between the program and the sports business community. The Council provides student support in the areas of professional mentoring, and internship and employment placement. The Council also provides a number of services to the program including guest lecturing and scholarship support.
Listen to a 33N83W Podcast about the Council
- Current: Sr. Director of Partnerships at Punchh, Inc.
- Previous Experience: Coca-Cola, Visa, Symantec
Michael Cheney provides proven leadership in developing business strategy, developing and negotiating comprehensive commercial agreements, developing integrated marketing plans and building cross functional teams while creating value for internal and external relationships. Mr. Cheney has developed partnership marketing and sponsorship strategies and activation plans for Coca-Cola, Sprite, PowerAde, Evian, Visa, Symantec, Norton, BMW, and Wyndham, among others. He has negotiated with the IOC, NBA, NFL, NHL, MLB Media, and multiple sports teams across all major US Sports, the US Open, Pebble Beach, IMG College and many more.
Current: Chief Operating Officer / Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., (MGM) & Chair / USA Swimming
Previous Experience: Latham & Watkins
Christopher Brearton, Chief Operating Officer of Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Studios Inc., (MGM), joined the company in February 2018 and oversees MGM’s global business operations as well as the legendary studio’s business development and strategic growth initiatives.
Brearton came to MGM from the entertainment powerhouse law firm, Latham & Watkins, where he was the Managing Partner of the firm’s Century City office. His tenure there saw Brearton build an internationally acclaimed Entertainment, Sports and Media practice focused on mergers and acquisitions, strategic joint ventures, complex financing transactions, media rights licensing, and overall business and operational counseling.
Brearton has been recognized for his work with many accolades over his career, such as The Hollywood Reporter’s “Power Players,” Sports Business Journal’s “Elite” list as well as their “Forty Under Forty” award, and has been recognized as one of Variety’s “Hollywood’s Top Dealmakers,” and on their “Game Changing Entertainment Attorneys” list.
He is Chair of USA Swimming, the national governing body for the sport of swimming in the United States.
Brearton received his J.D. from the University of Virginia and his bachelor degree from the University of Georgia, where he was also a student athlete and competed as a collegiate varsity swimmer.
- Current: Play-by-Play Announcer / Atlanta Braves & Fox Sports South
- Previous Experience: Orlando Magic, Orlando SunRays, TBS, WGN, Chicago Cubs
Chip is a nationally recognized sports broadcasting veteran and current play-by-play announcer for the Atlanta Braves on Fox Sports South. Chip previously served in a similar capacity for Braves games broadcast on TBS Sports. He has called postseason and World Series games on FOX as well as national games on TBS. Previous to his time in Atlanta, Chip was the play-by-play announcer for Seattle Mariners and Chicago Cubs broadcasts.
- Current: Senior Vice President of Account Services / MELT
- PreviousExperience: Atlanta Dream, Coca-Cola
Sarah Davis has extensive event and account service experience working with both brands and properties across sports and entertainment. Ms. Davis is widely known for her creativity, execution, and leadership, especially in the sports marketing space. At MELT, Ms. Davis manages and oversees MELT’s full roster of clients, events, experiential programs, and brand initiatives. She had the opportunity to work locally in Atlanta to help launch the Atlanta Dream franchise, though her accounts and activities have taken her around the world.
- Current: CMO / Thompson Tractor Company
- Previous Experience: Caterpillar, Synovus Financial, Lawler Ballard Van Durand Agency, Coca Cola
Brian Doud is the exclusive distributor of Caterpillar Equipment in Alabama and NW Florida, and the largest distributor of Hyundai Forklift Equipment in Georgia. He is responsible for the strategic planning for customer strategy, communication process and execution, advertising, and all other marketing and promotion-related functions for more than 20 brands and product lines. Mr. Doud provides world-class counsel on sponsorship marketing and marketing services which include college sports, video games, theme parks and spectacular signage.
- Current: Director, Digital & Fan Experience at Seattle Kraken
Becca Elliott leads mobile app creation and digital innovation for the Seattle Kraken. Overseeing the design and product teams, she is responsible for identifying areas of the fan experience that can be improved with technology and strategizing digital content innovations that will engage fans more fully. As the product lead, Becca serves as the interface between the fans, executive teams, and the software engineers building the digital solutions offered to Kraken fans.
- Current: Vice President of Marketing and Communications / Chicago Bulls
- Previous Experience: Boston Red Sox, MLB Office of Commissioner, American Red Cross
Susan Goodenow is responsible for developing and managing the team’s branding strategy and marketing efforts, coordinating and integrating all team communication, and directing the team’s community outreach efforts. Susan oversees broadcasting, BullsTV, community relations, corporate communications, creative services, digital, entertainment, marketing, and public & media relations and also works closely with Chicago Bulls Charities.
- Current: Managing Partner / Adjacency Partners
- Previous Experience: GoPro, Nike, UFC, Adidas-Salomon
Bryan Johnston is a proven executive leader with world class product development, global brand marketing, digital and social strategies, and sales & distribution expertise.
- Current: Agent / Creative Artists Agency (CAA) Sports
- Previous: UGA Athletic Association, MELT, CSE
David Koonin is an Agent in CAA’s Sports Media practice, where he represents more than 45 sports media talent clients, including Fox’s Erin Andrews, YouTube superstars Dude Perfect, ESPN’s Adam Schefter, Dan Orlovsky, Rece Davis, Doris Burke, Jalen Rose and Field Yates; Turner/CBS’s Grant Hill; Turner’s Allie LaForce; and NFL Network and CBS’s Scott Pioli, among others.
In his dual role as Head of Endorsements and Marketing for CAA Sports Media, he oversees a team of three Agents who work on behalf of CAA’s roster of more than 200 clients. This role includes managing the endorsement and commercial portfolios of his own clients, in addition to such sports media stars as Mike Greenberg, Desmond Howard, Adrian Wojnarowski, Malika Andrews, Laura Rutledge, Mina Kimes, Marty Smith and Joe Buck, to name a few.
Koonin is a native of Atlanta, Georgia and has worked out of the CAA New York office for the past six years. Koonin is a graduate of the University of Georgia and earned a Master’s of Sports Administration from Ohio University. He lives in New York City with his wife Jessica and their daughter, Vera.
- Current: Manager, Partnership Marketing / Pittsburgh Penguins
- Previous Experience: Georgia Bulldogs Sports Marketing, Georgetown Sports Properties, Charlotte Knights, Gwinnett Braves, United States Senate, United States House of Representatives
Patrick Lally’s primary responsibility as a Partnership Marketing Manager with the NHL’s Pittsburgh Penguins is to generate revenue by managing, retaining and growing key corporate partnership accounts, including multiple Founding Partners. Prior to joining the Penguins in March of 2022, Patrick worked in a similar capacity at Georgia Bulldogs Sports Marketing, Georgetown University Athletics (Fox Sports College Properties) and several stops in Minor League Baseball. Before pursuing a career in the sports industry, Patrick worked in government, serving as a Congressional Aide in the United States House of Representatives and as a Senior Adviser in the United States Senate. Patrick earned a BA in Political Science from the University of Massachusetts-Dartmouth and an M.S. in Sport Management & Policy from the University of Georgia. A native of Winthrop, Massachusetts, he currently resides in Pittsburgh, PA.
- Current: Founder, Chairman, CEO / MELT Atlanta
Vince Thompson was named one of Atlanta Business Chronicle’s “Most Admired CEOs.” He is an award-winning brand builder and one of the country’s top sports marketers. He found MELT and has grown the company into one of the nation’s largest sports/culinary/entertainment marketing agencies. MELT represents the Coca-Cola Company and has activations for the Final Four and ESPN’s College GameDay. MELT works with major sports properties such as COPA, FIFA, MLB, MLS, NASCAR, NBA, NFL, NHRA, PGA and the Olympics.
- Current: Vice President / Kia Motors America; Chairman / Chick-Fil-A Bowl Board; Board of Trustees / Chick-fil-A Corporation
- Previous: Ford, Hyundai
In 1995, Percy Vaughn opened the Southern Region for Kia Motors America where he was the Executive Director, and now serves as the Vice President of the Southern Region. Mr. Vaughn also serves as the Board Chairman for the Chick-Fil-A Bowl. He oversees the Board of Trustees and Board of Directors which manages the Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl, Chick-fil-A Kickoff Game, Chick-fil-A Peach Bowl Challenge Charity Golf Tournament, and the Bobby Dodd Coach of the Year Award. In recognition of his contributions, Mr. Vaughn was inducted into the 2018 class of the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl Hall of Fame. Mr. Vaughn was also named the 2013 Father of Year by the American Diabetes Association and was awarded the Martin Luther King Unity Award in 2018.
- Current: Senior Director of Multi-media Sales / SEC Network
- Previous Experience: ESPN, Turner Broadcasting, Atlanta Braves, St. Louis Cardinals, Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears
Scott Williams is a successful media executive for ESPN’s SEC Network. He was a member of the 1980 UGA Football National Championship team.