CLEVELAND  The National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) announced the creation of the Robert Vecchione Corporate Partner Award, in recognition of Chief Executive Officer Emeritus Bob Vecchione and his three decades of service to the Association. The award was established to recognize a corporate individual, organization, sponsor or company that has displayed unwavering support to NACDA and its members, exhibiting a commitment to the betterment of intercollegiate athletics through their tireless efforts and professionalism.

Vecchione retired December 31, 2022, after serving NACDA as CEO since 2011 and multiple senior roles in the organization since 1992. Prior to taking over as CEO, Vecchione was responsible for orchestrating the growth and management of the Association, both internally and externally. One of the cornerstones of his career with NACDA is the establishment of NACDA’s corporate sponsorship structure that has been significantly enhanced over the past three decades.

“Since his arrival at NACDA, Bob’s expertise in the corporate partner space has laid a solid financial foundation for the Association to be able to provide unparalleled professional development opportunities for its members across the country,” said current NACDA CEO Pat Manak, who worked alongside Vecchione for nearly his entire tenure at NACDA. “We are proud to recognize Bob’s tireless efforts and contributions to this industry through the Corporate Partner Award named in his honor.”

As a tribute to one of its most loyal partners during Vecchione’s time with the Association, NACDA has announced LEARFIELD as the inaugural winner of the Robert Vecchione Corporate Partner Award. LEARFIELD has been a dedicated corporate sponsor for NACDA on an annual basis as well as specifically surrounding the Convention since 2007. In addition, several organizations under the LEARFIELD umbrella have also served as valuable partners for NACDA and its Affiliate Associations, providing unwavering support throughout the highs and lows of the collegiate athletics landscape.

“Our LEARFIELD team is humbled and proud to be receiving this NACDA award named after Bob Vecchione, who dedicated his career to supporting current and future leaders in the college sports industry,” said LEARFIELD CEO Cole Gahagan. “LEARFIELD strives to provide resources and solutions – like our longtime support of NACDA and its affiliates – to help our partner institutions deliver top-notch athletic competition, athlete experiences, and fan engagement, and we look forward to sharing more exciting, innovative initiatives with NACDA and its member institutions well into the future.”

“To have an award established in your name is surreal and extremely humbling, especially when it recognizes valuable teammates across this wonderful industry in which we are all so fortunate to work,” Vecchione said. “I am appreciative of my NACDA friends who have become family, both athletics administrators and sponsors alike. Congratulations to Cole and LEARFIELD on this well-deserved honor – NACDA is grateful for your longstanding partnership and innovative leadership.”

LEARFIELD will be formally recognized as the inaugural winner of the Robert Vecchione Corporate Partner Award in conjunction with the 2023 NACDA & Affiliates Convention in Orlando, Fla., at the beginning of the Association-Wide Featured Session on Monday, June 12, starting at 4 p.m.

More information on the Convention can be found at and in the #NACDA23 mobile app.

To view the release online, click here.

About LEARFIELDLEARFIELD is a media, data, and technology services leader in intercollegiate athletics. The company unlocks the value of college sports for brands and fans through an omnichannel platform with innovative content and commerce solutions. LEARFIELD services include licensing and collegiate sports properties’ multimedia sponsorship management; publishing, audio, digital and social media; data analytics and insights; ticketing software; and ticket sales, premium seating, and fundraising services; branding; campus-wide business and sponsorship development. Since 2008, it has served as title sponsor for NACDA’s acclaimed LEARFIELD Directors’ Cup, recognizing athletics departments across all divisions.

About NACDA: Now in its 58th year, NACDA is the professional and educational Association for more than 22,000 college athletics administrators at more than 2,200 institutions throughout the United States, Canada and Mexico. NACDA manages 18 professional associations and four foundations. In addition to virtual programming, NACDA hosts five major professional development events in-person annually. The NACDA & Affiliates Convention is the largest gathering of collegiate athletics administrators in the country. For more information, visit