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Ray Anderson on Arizona State University: ‘This is my destination’

SCOTTSDALE, Ariz. — In front of a packed Sonwai Room at the Hyatt Regency Resort, Ray Anderson was formally introduced as the new vice president for athletics at Arizona State University.

As ASU President Michael Crow put it, Anderson is someone who “embodies in every possible way all the things we are trying to achieve with our athletic program and the leader for our athletic program.”

Currently (and soon to be formerly) the executive vice president of football operations for the National Football League, Anderson has also served as the vice president of the Atlanta Falcons as well as a sports agent and attorney.

He’s never been a college administrator, but his resume speaks for itself and Crow is confident Anderson will excel in the four assignments he’ll have, which are to deliver an academic athletic program, win, connect with the community and fundraise.

“He has demonstrated, through a number of roles, his ability to work in sports as a business, to work in sports as an enterprise, to work in a law firm,” Crow said. “To carry out all of those complexities. To help manage a professional sports team and to help manage a professional sports league, the National Football League, where he is today.”

Anderson will not be leaving his NFL post until the league’s playoffs conclude, but when he does head to Tempe for good, the university will be adding a well-respected man who views his new gig as an “awesome opportunity.”

“It was very clear that this was not being positioned as what you would think about in terms of a more typical athletic director’s position,” Anderson said. “It was articulated that you are potentially having the opportunity to join folks that have real vision, they have real passion and they have real commitment to the student-athlete experience.

“And that really resonated with me because I’m a product of that who has been a benefactor of that and its focus, and it really shaped my life.”

Like his predecessor Steve Patterson, Anderson’s experience is in arenas that do not involve college athletics. However, as a three-year letterman at Stanford who played both football and baseball, college athletics have certainly played a large role in his life. Plus, Anderson noted, his previous jobs led to him spending time on campuses and working with with college athletes.

“To come to this opportunity to be able to give back and to be able to essentially reach to our young men and women as student-athletes and hopefully help them to achieve and aspire and just thrive is really exciting for me personally,” he said. “I can’t be more pleased, I can’t be more excited. I’m not a corny type of guy but I can’t be more tingled to be here.

“I am proud to be the new vice president here.”

And, Anderson noted, he does not view this job as a stepping stone to something else. Given that he’s leaving a pretty good job with the most profitable professional league in the country, it’s a pretty believable statement.

“This is my destination,” he said. “I’m going to be here as long as I am effective, as long as I am a teammate, as long as I am a collaborator and as long as my boss to be thinks I am deserving of this honor.”