Michael Alford joined the University of Oklahoma in November 2012 as senior associate athletics director for development. Alford enters his 20th year working in intercollegiate athletics and professional sports. He joined OU from the NFL's Dallas Cowboys where he served as senior director of corporate partnerships and sales since 2008.
Alford oversees the ongoing efforts of the Sooner Club, the principal fund-raising arm of OU Athletics. The University of Oklahoma Athletics Department is one of only a handful of entirely self-supporting athletics programs in the nation, meaning OU receives no state funds and does not rely on any student fees. Under Alford's leadership, the Sooner Club set annual giving records for donations in 2013 and 2014 and membership increased to all-time high of over 10,600 members. He also established the Sooner Club’s “Young Alumni” program to increase ticket sales and enhance membership as that group continues to help talented student-athletes receive a world-class education while competing at an elite level in the athletic arena.
In addition, Alford's team coordinates capital campaigns and other special projects ensuring that the continued generosity of donors helps OU maintain its standard as a model for other athletics departments across the country. Most notably, he is coordinating the capital campaign for a $370 million renovation and modernization of Gaylord Family – Oklahoma Memorial Stadium.
A myriad of other administrative roles also fall under Alford's purview at OU. He directs the efforts of the Varsity "O" Association, engaging former Oklahoma student-athletes as lifelong ambassadors for their alma mater. Alford also serves as the sport administrator for men's basketball, as well as men's and women's tennis. During the fall 2013 semester, the men’s basketball program set an all-time record with a cumulative GPA of 3.03.
The operations of the University of Oklahoma Tennis Club fall under his jurisdiction, as well. One of Oklahoma's premier tennis clubs offering memberships, the club is comprised of the Headington Family Tennis Center and the Gregg Wadley Tennis Pavilion, the same facilities where the OU men's and women's tennis teams practice and play.
During his tenure with the Cowboys, Alford cultivated corporate relationships that resulted in over $400 million in contractual revenue for the club. He managed all aspects of programming for Cowboys Stadium, a state-of-the-art facility that opened in 2009, and has hosted numerous college football contests, concerts and other marquee events, including Super Bowl XLV.
Alford oversaw the management and day-to-day operations for the marketing and sales department for the Dallas Cowboys and the Dallas Cowboys Cheerleaders. In addition, he managed inventory and new business development for the Cowboys' television and broadcast assets, and was also responsible for oversight of all facets of sponsorships, publications and internet, as well as the broadcast and telecast media departments for the Cowboys.
Alford served as the general manager of Crimson Tide Sports Marketing from 2004-2008, a joint venture between the University of Alabama Department of Athletics and ISP Sports/Learfield Sports. During his tenure in that capacity, he managed all aspects of marketing and media rights agreements. He also served as an assistant to the director of athletics, where his duties included the negotiation and implementation of coaching contracts.
His responsibilities at Alabama included strategic planning, as well as the recruitment, management and training of the marketing and promotional staff. He was also part of a senior management team that planned and implemented improvements to numerous athletics facilities, including Bryant Denny Stadium and Coleman Coliseum.
From 2003-2004, Alford worked as a sports sales manager for ABC, where he developed the media rights sales plan for the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim and oversaw media and stadium sponsorships. He spent four years at the University of Southern California from 2000-2003 where he was involved in sponsorships, merchandising and contract negotiations, as well as the development of the Galen Events Center.
Alford's initial foray into professional sports came with the Cincinnati Bengals from 1997 to 2000. He served as director of group sales and corporate entertainment and as a corporate sales executive, securing sponsorships, in addition to managing suite and club seat sales for Paul Brown Stadium. He began his career in collegiate athletics as the assistant director of marketing at the University of Cincinnati from 1996-97.
A graduate of the University of Alabama at Birmingham, Alford earned a bachelor's degree in communications arts in 1993 and completed a master's degree in athletics administration at the University of Arkansas in 1995. He and his wife Laura, have three daughters, Audrey, Ashley and Anna Leigh.