Arizona State’s newly-introduced vice president for athletics, Ray Anderson, has a resume that’s as long as it is wide.
On his professional path to Tempe, Anderson has served as the executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League, the vice president for the Atlanta Falcons, the owner of the sports agency AR Sports, and a co-founder for the San Francisco-based sports law firm Heller, Ehrman.
With that said, his previous stops in the industry have never included overseeing a major stadium renovation project — arguably the most important challenge that will be put on his plate during his tenure at ASU.
The athletic program’s 56-year-old football venue, Sun Devil Stadium, was last upgraded in 1989 and is in desperate need of a makeover.
Anderson’s predecessor, Steve Patterson, unveiled a plan for renovation in April 2012 that included removing portions of the upper-deck bowl and adding canopies to cover parts of the stadium’s eastern and western sides in an effort to cool down the facility during late-August and September games.
The plans never got off the ground stages before Patterson accepted the AD job at Texas back in November, leaving Anderson with the task of trying to get the ball rolling again in terms of funding.
When asked at his introductory press conference Thursday about the stadium renovation project and plans to develop the University Athletics Facilities District, Anderson admitted that both made the decision to come to ASU all the more intriguing.
“Those were a big part of the attraction here,” Anderson said. “Those are the things that made it different than a traditional athletic directors position. One of the exciting things that happens in the NFL is that it seems that there is always a new stadium project and new renovations going on.
“While I might not be technically trained and skilled in those areas, I’ve been able to sit in rooms with some of the most technically-sound and advanced folks, listening to them, hearing presentations and seeing presentations about those projects. It’s just incredibly exciting. This gave me the opportunity to come.”
While a guest on The Dan Bickley Show with Vince Marotta Thursday, Anderson did not specify how high the two projects are on his immediate agenda, but he did reiterate during his presser that he’ll have a hand in any future plans.
“I won’t be driving the car, but I’ll be sitting in the passenger seat or in the back seat with some really talented folks like Morgan Olsen and others, who will be driving those projects,” said Anderson. “Driving them in terms of the technical expertise. But, I’ll be able to participate and will participate willingly and aggressively. That’s going to be part of the awesomeness of this whole thing.
“It is a different deal than the typical athletic director post. And very frankly, folks who know me well and folks who I really respected said, ‘Ray, this is an opportunity that could be better than any NFL president or general manager job that you could potentially be in line for. Realize the depth and the breadth of what this opportunity presents to you.’ And I listened to that, and I’m glad I did. I’m going to be involved some really good stuff in the next 10 to 12 years here.”