Chris Lahey joined Saint Leo Athletics in February 2013 as the Associate Athletic Director for External Operations, bringing with him nearly 20 years of experience in both professional and collegiate athletics, including 10 years with ESPN.
In his role as Saint Leo’s athletics administrator supervising all external relations activities, Lahey directs the department’s efforts in communications, corporate sponsorships, development, and special events, as well as the fan experience in the areas of promotions, tickets, and concessions.
Lahey’s first three years at Saint Leo have coincided with the most successful period in the history of Lions athletics; five conference championships, a pair of top 20 results in the Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup standings, and a pair of NCAA national semifinalist finishes – Saint Leo’s best results in NCAA competition – have occurred with Lahey directing the department’s communications, marketing, and development efforts.
Lahey developed the marketing and communications plans for two of the most memorable moments for Saint Leo athletics – a sold-out Saint Leo men’s basketball game versus Lynn University at the Marion Bowman Activities Center that was televised by CBS Sports Network in January 2015; and a Make-A-Wish reveal at a men’s basketball home game in February 2014, in conjunction with the NCAA and the Make-A-Wish Foundation.
As the Associate Athletics Director, Lahey has coordinated communications efforts for Sunshine State Conference championships held on the Saint Leo campus, as well as NCAA regionals in women’s golf (2014) and men’s golf (2015) hosted by Saint Leo at nearby Lake Jovita Golf & Country Club. During his time at Saint Leo, he has supervised the development of the Saint Leo athletics brand, including facility branding, team apparel and uniforms, a licensing and trademark program, and an online merchandising program through third-party vendor Advanced-Online.
Lahey previously served as Senior Director of Corporate Affairs for the Tampa Bay Rays Baseball Club from 2007 to 2010, where he researched and generated corporate partnerships, premium seats and suites, and group and season ticket sales from the club’s sales office in downtown Tampa.
Prior to his time with the Rays, Lahey spent nearly 10 years with ESPN Regional Television at the University of South Florida, including seven years as General Manager. He served as ESPN Regional’s on-site director for all multimedia rights surrounding USF athletics, including sponsorship sales and marketing, game management, radio and television broadcasts, and production and programming. Between 2000 and 2007, Lahey nearly doubled USF’s corporate sponsorship sales to almost $3 million annually, while assisting the USF athletic director and external operations staff with prospect presentations for annual campaigns and major gifts to USF donors, as well as execution of development and hospitality events. He negotiated agreements with local television and radio affiliates and was a member of the management team for game presentation, video scoreboard production, and event management at all USF venues, including Raymond James Stadium.
Lahey began his career in athletics with the Tampa Bay Storm of the Arena Football League in 1995, eventually moving into a position as the team’s Vice President of Sales and Marketing. In that role, Lahey spearheaded the Storm’s marketing, creative production, game presentation, and game day operations. He transitioned into a similar role with the Iowa Barnstormers of the Arena Football League in 1999, managing all aspects of the team’s corporate sponsorship sales and marketing, game day operations and presentation, and marketing strategy. Lahey’s resume also includes stints with sports industry leaders XOS Digital and Outdoor America Images (OAI); the PGA Tour’s 2011 Transitions Championship, where he was a sales and sponsorship consultant; and the National Hockey League’s Tampa Bay Lightning.
A native of Old Town, Maine, and a 1991 graduate of Colby College, Lahey was a member of the Mules’ men’s basketball team. Lahey earned his master’s degree from St. Thomas University (Fla.).