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BB&T Distinguished Leaders in Action series: Fred Whitfield, President and COO - Charlotte BOBCATSSeptember 25, 2012 5:30 PM - 6:30 PMKetner Auditorium, McColl School of Business, Queens University of Charlotte
Join Dr. William Sparks, Director of Leadership Initiatives with the McColl School of Business for a leadership conversation with Charlotte Bobcats President and Chief Operating Officer, Fred Whitfield.
A talented sports executive with experience as a player, coach, agent, sports marketer and basketball operations administrator, Fred Whitfield was named President and Chief Operating Officer of Bobcats Sports & Entertainment in July 2006. In this role, Whitfield oversees all business operations for the Charlotte Bobcats and Time Warner Cable Arena.
Since coming to Charlotte, Whitfield has overseen the most dramatic growth in both franchise and arena history. From simultaneously signing an arena naming rights deal with Time Warner Cable and a television broadcast rights deal with Fox Sports, to doubling the number of corporate partners and launching the Cats Care community initiative with the largest donation ever made to Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools by a professional sports franchise, Whitfield has presided over a significant increase in every business metric the company keeps. He is also responsible for positioning Time Warner Cable Arena as the premiere destination for sports and entertainment in the Carolinas, attracting the CIAA, ACC and NCAA Tournaments, global concert tours like Paul McCartney, who made Charlotte one of just 11 stops in North America, and the 2012 Democratic National Convention.
A native of Greensboro, North Carolina, Whitfield brings a portfolio that includes the Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, Inc.; the Washington Wizards; Nike Basketball; Falk Associates Management Enterprises (F.A.M.E.); and a private law practice.
Before joining the Bobcats, Whitfield most recently served as Director of Business and Legal Affairs for Jordan Brand, where he managed endorsements and sports marketing strategy. Jordan Brand's clients include some of the top athletes in professional sports, including Ray Allen, Carmelo Anthony, Derek Jeter, Joe Johnson, Chris Paul and Dwyane Wade. From 2000 to 2003, Whitfield served as Director of Player Personnel and Assistant Legal Counsel for the Washington Wizards. While there, he was responsible for the team's salary cap administration, contractual issues and player scouting. He is widely credited with facilitating the methods to correct the team's troubled salary cap situation, enabling that franchise to rebuild through trades and free agency.
Whitfield served as Director of Player Development for Nike Basketball prior to joining the Wizards. At Nike Basketball, he was responsible for scouting new potential endorsers, negotiating endorsement contracts and overseeing business relationships for more than 150 NBA players. His career in sports began as a player agent representing professional athletes with F.A.M.E. as Director of the Carolinas Region, based in Greensboro. Before joining F.A.M.E., Whitfield established and managed a successful law practice in Greensboro.
Leadership has been a theme throughout Whitfield's life and he has said that sports have taught him how to win and stay humble and how to lose and thrive to be better the next go round. He applies these same lessons in business and considers himself a coach on the business side of the operation, making sure the culture is right, attitudes are right and their desire to win is in the right place.
A graduate of Campbell University, Whitfield was an all-south, team MVP and captain basketball player and was inducted into the school's Sports Hall of Fame in 1995. He earned a B.B.A. degree in economics and then completed his M.B.A. at Campbell in marketing while serving as assistant basketball coach for the Camels. From there, he earned a Juris Doctorate degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law where he served as Student Bar Association President.
Whitfield also formed HoopTee Charities, Inc, a North Carolina based non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide scholarships for disadvantaged youngsters to attend camps and other educational youth based programs throughout the Carolinas. In addition, for the past 28 years he has run the Achievements Unlimited Basketball School in Greensboro and Charlotte serving more than 9,000 kids, including many who attend on need-based scholarships. In addition, most recently, Whitfield received the prestigious Thurgood Marshall Award of Excellence (2011) and YMCA George Williams Award (Volunteer of the Year 2012).
Whitfield and his wife Mary reside in Charlotte.