Davidson College Athletic Director Chris Clunie

Chris Clunie graduated from and played basketball at Davidson College. He starts the conversation off by sharing the thought process of taking the Athletic Director job after his initial resistance to the idea. Discussing his interview preparation, Clunie explains how he knew the place as an alum, but that he didn’t yet know the job of being an AD. His prior experiences working in the NBA, most notably handling international basketball operations, the draft combine, and All-Star weekend, helped him learn how to communicate and work with so many different personalities and stakeholders. When asked about balancing different personalities in regards to coaches across an entire athletic department, Clunie shares his philosophy of instilling shared ownership with his coaches at Davidson. The conversation discusses NIL confusion and risks surrounding international college athletes and how institutions can really only educate and make an attempt to seek clarity on their behalf. Clunie sits on the senior leadership team for the president and shares how he sees it as his job to keep a pulse of different college department happenings on campus and not allow athletics to operate in a silo, but instead serve as a part of a cross-functional institution. Being a new AD at the time, Clunie talked about the benefit of having his predecessor to lean on early in his tenure, but to also know how to chart your own path as a department looking forward. It took almost 30 minutes before we talked about Steph Curry’s time at Davidson. Clunie explains his quote about wanting to move from the national story flashpoint to a sustainable and established athletic program. Clunie shares his two concerns in higher education (tuition ROI) and athletics (pay-for-play) and expands about the benefit for Davidson being in the non-athletic scholarship Pioneer League for football while still being at the D1 level. To close the conversation, Clunie talks about his own education at Columbia for his master’s degree and how it made him become more intentional and focused on critical thinking, economics, and management.

0:30 Institutional Profile
2:55 Basketball Alumnus Becomes Athletic Director
6:38 Transferring Skills from NBA Business Operations to the AD Chair
12:15 International Name, Image, and Likeness
17:27 Who Helped Create Davidson NIL Policy
19:55 Staying Involved w/ Everything Davidson College Outside of Athletics
24:15 Deciding When to Lean or Not Lean on His AD Predecessor
27:45 Moving From a National Story “Flashpoint” to an Established Program
33:45 Under the Radar Top Concerns in D1 Athletics
40:20 Master’s Degree in Public Affairs at Columbia

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