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Bubba Cunningham
  Bubba Cunningham

Director of Athletics



Parmley has served as interim athletics director since October 14


Quotes From TU Coaches, President Upham On Ross Parmley

Parmley was announced as TU's new director of athletics at a press conference this morning


TU Names Ross Parmley Interim Athletics Director

Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham takes AD position at North Carolina

Lawrence (Bubba) Cunningham was appointed the Director of Athletics at The University of Tulsa on October 7, 2005. He came to Tulsa following three years as the athletics director at Ball State University. Cunningham began his tenure at Tulsa on November 11, 2005.

In his time at Tulsa, Cunningham has guided TU through its infancy of membership in Conference USA. Tulsa shared a league-best four conference championships in its first year as a C-USA member, and equaled that total in the school's second season.

C-USA titles came in the sports of football, women's basketball, men's tennis and softball in the 2005-06 campaign, while men's tennis, women's tennis, men's golf and volleyball captured league championships a year later. In addition, 10 teams have made post-season tournament play in its two years of league membership, including the women's basketball and softball teams making their first NCAA appearances in 2006.

In December 2005, Cunningham spearheaded a ticket campaign that saw over 15,000 Golden Hurricane fans storm Memphis, Tennessee for the 2005 AutoZone Liberty Bowl. In the spring of 2006, he oversaw Tulsa's annual fundraising campaign that surpassed a goal of $2.2 million.

Cunningham has overseen plans for a $20 million renovation of Skelly Field at H.A. Chapman Stadium, which will take place following the 2007 football season. He has also worked towards developing relationships with national sponsors during his short tenure.

Cunningham has implemented and continues developing a strategic plan for personal and professional growth and development for TU's student-athletes, coaches and athletic staff.

Academic success continues to thrive under Cunningham's leadership. Tulsa has had seven ESPN The Magazine Academic All-America selections, while each year over 125 student-athletes were named to Conference USA's Commissioner's Honor Roll. Tulsa has had the most C-USA Scholar Athlete of the Year selections in the first two years of the league with eight, including four award winners each year.

In his tenure at Ball State, Cunningham guided a program with 19 intercollegiate sports and a budget of $12.4 million. In his final year, Ball State completed a $12M campaign to renovate the football stadium. In raising those funds, Cunningham secured the largest single gift in Ball State Athletics history.

Ball State continued its rich academic and athletic tradition under Cunningham's guidance. Cardinal teams had an average Academic Performance Rate (APR) Index of 983 with 12 programs at a rating of 1,000.

He implemented a variety of firsts for the Cardinals. The football team played the first-ever night game in Ball State Stadium and the first-ever weeknight home game in the university's 78-year history in 2003. Cunningham also developed and implemented a marketing plan for a record football attendance mark in 2003. He was able to secure funding exclusively from private donors to have permanent lights installed at Ball State Stadium.

In addition, Cunningham engineered the athletic department's outsourcing of its marketing and corporate sponsorship efforts when he secured a contract with Nelligan's Sports Marketing for the athletics department. The agreement with NSM produced one of the most profitable ventures ever by the athletics department.

Cunningham also assisted the athletics department in creating a relationship with NIKE for all of its athletics gear, engineered plans to enhance the student-athlete experience and hosted the first-ever marketing summit in the athletics department's history.

Prior to his appointment at Ball State, Cunningham spent 15 years working in the athletics department at the University of Notre Dame.

At Notre Dame between 2000-02, Cunningham served as associate director of athletics for external affairs. He renegotiated the school's footwear contract, developed a communications and marketing plan, created marketing teams for all 26 varsity sports, increased corporate sponsorship income by 400 percent, created a financial/equity plan for the department and served as chairman of the NCAA Division I Women's Golf Committee.

Before that, he served as associate athletics director for finance and facilities (1995-2000). In that time, Cunningham was responsible for a $30 million budget and all business affairs.

In that capacity, Cunningham was responsible for developing and implementing an equity plan to meet Title IX requirements, completed the master plan for Notre Dame athletic facilities, coordinated the bid process and negotiation with Westwood for football radio rights and helped plan and complete the $50 million renovation and 20,000 seat expansion of Notre Dame Stadium. He also coordinated the planning and construction of the Warren Golf Course, an 18-hole championship course on the Notre Dame campus.

"The University of Tulsa is very fortunate to have attracted a candidate with such impressive credentials," said President Steadman Upham at Cunningham's introductory news conference. "He has outstanding and well-rounded credentials as an athletic administrator. Bubba's experience in marketing, fundraising and the planning of facilities is well-suited for our university. He has shown a tremendous commitment to enhance the educational experience for the student-athlete."

At Notre Dame, Cunningham also served as assistant athletics director/business manager (1993-95), ticketing and marketing manager (1988-93), and before that was an athletics department intern (1987-88).

Cunningham earned his bachelor's and master's degrees in business administration, both from Notre Dame, in 1984 and 1988, respectively. He played on the Irish golf team in 1982-83.

Cunningham serves on the Gatorade National Advisory Board and is a member of the Rotary Club of Tulsa. He has been a featured speaker at numerous NACDA and I-A institute conferences.

Born in Flint, Mich., and raised in Naples, Fla., Cunningham and his wife, Tina, have four children: Matthew, Michael, John and Sarah