USA Volleyball has gone outside the sport for its new leader.
The national governing body announced Tuesday morning that Jamie Davis, sports media, marketing and business executive, as its new CEO of USA Volleyball.
“I love a challenge and I love growing organizations,” Davis said Wednesday morning from Los Angeles. “I’m very entrepreneurial. I’ve launched television networks in my career. So I think entrepreneurially. Which means being scrappy and making do with what you have and fighting to win at all costs. Because that’s my mindset I love taking an organization that I think has massive potential and seeing how to tap that potential and really let it grow.
“And that was the most attractive thing to me.”
Davis, 50, grew up in Glencoe, Ill., near Chicago. He is a graduate of Colgate University and has an MBA from New York University. His resume includes helping launch the NFL and NHL on Fox and then spending 12 years in Asia for News Corporation where his jobs included launching new networks and running channels. He was president of News Corp China.
“I think this is going to be exciting, it’s going to be challenging and I think it’s going to be a hell of a lot of fun,” Davis said.
He ran cross country and track in high school and also wrestled and admits to being a volleyball neophyte.
“When the board approached me, I was the first to say I’m not from a volleyball background,” Davis said. “They were very clear to explain to me that’s not necessarily what we’re looking for in this role. We’re looking for someone in a sports business marketing background who can take our sport to the next level.
“And that was very intriguing to me. I saw a lot of opportunities to take a different approach or come at this with a fresh set of eyes and take what’s already a very solid base and try to grow it. I’m all about trying to grow participation and membership.
Davis and his wife of 22 years, Annie, have three children, 19-year-old Amber, 18-year-old Jonathan and Andrew, who is 16.
“I am really pleased to welcome Jamie Davis to USA Volleyball. He is a tremendous asset for us moving forward and he’s going to take us into new areas of business on a global level in sports,” USA Volleyball board of directors chair Lori Okimura said.
Davis went to L.A. Tuesday to meet with Okimura and others in USA Volleyball before heading later this week to the organization’s headquarters in Colorado Springs, where he’ll be moving from Philadelphia.
He was set to meet with USA women’s coach Karch Kiraly on Wednesday. USA men’s coach John Speraw is at a tournament at Ohio State with his UCLA team. Davis also said he plans to eventually meet with representatives of all USA Volleyball regions.
“I want to work closely with them so we understand their needs better all with the goal of growing the participation in the sport and making it the sport of choice for our youth,” Davis said. “Right now, on day two, I would tell you I’m in that research stage. My goal is to do that quite quickly.”
Okimura was excited to have Davis on board.
“We used a CEO search committee comprised of many board members and outside notables and then worked directly with an executive search firm. Jamie stood out from all the candidates primarily because of the depth of his business experience,” Okimura said.
“He’s someone who’s already been a chief executive on many levels. He’s someone who’s done business globally, primarily in key markets, Asia, Europe, the United States, all markets that the sport of volleyball is looking to be more saturated in.
“And his personality, quite frankly. High energy, very efficient thinker and he showed a lot of passion for volleyball for someone who comes from outside our small community and our world.”
According to USA Volleyball, Davis becomes the seventh CEO of USA Volleyball and the first to come from outside the existing USA Volleyball lay leadership. He replaces Doug Beal, the former great player who coached the USA men to the 1984 Olympic gold medal. Beal was the CEO last 12 years.
Davis founded his own company, Jomadrew Sports and Entertainment, LLC, after leading Fanatics, Inc., the world’s largest online retailer of officially licensed sports merchandise.
He previously was the president of the TV network Versus (now the NBC Sports Network), along with several roles within News Corporation such as president of China and managing director of ESPN STAR Sports.
“He is from the professional world of sports on many levels, e-commerce, technology, primarily with broadcast media,” Okimura said. “While he is not a former volleyball player or coach, he is very familiar with the sport from the commercial side of things. So he sees us with a very different lens and sees a lot of potential in USA Volleyball in particular. He sees a lot of areas in which we can expand our reach.
“He’s very interested in working with the 40 regions to strengthen some business opportunities that we have collectively at the national level but also to to try some opportunities that might be relevant locally. He’s a big thinker.”