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College of Hospitality, Retail and Sport Management

  • Danny Morrison, Susan O'Malley, Bill Sutton smile in a posed photo

Learning from the best

Three industry icons team up to teach leadership class for sport and entertainment management students

Students in the University of South Carolina’s Department of Sport and Entertainment Management will now have an opportunity to learn from three sport industry legends and numerous other leaders, all in one class.

The new class, "From the Desk of the President," will be co-taught by Danny Morrison, Susan O'Malley and Bill Sutton, all faculty members in the department and longtime friends.

The class will focus on leadership lessons. In addition to planning to share their own expertise, Sutton, O'Malley and Morrison have assembled an all-star team of preeminent figures in the world of sport and entertainment to serve as guest speakers.

"The speakers have been hand-selected by the three of us, and the list includes some real heavy hitters," says Sutton.

Those heavy hitters for spring semester include PGA Tour Commissioner Jay Monahan, Savannah Bananas owner Emily Cole, LA28 CMO Amy Gleeson, Oak View Group CEO Tim Leiweke, ESPN Vice President Programming and Acquisitions Rosalyn Durant, Sports Business Journal Publisher and Executive Editor Abe Madkour, Wasserman Senior Vice President Jez Lubenetski and Merlin Entertainment CEO Scott O’Neil. 

Sheila Johnson will join the class Feb. 19 as well (the first Black female billionaire, a co-owner of several pro sports teams and a leader in the hospitality and tourism industry as founder and CEO of Salamander Hotels & Resorts).

Bill Sutton and Susan O'Malley teach a class together

The three leaders of the class are, of course, heavy hitters in their own right.

Morrison is the current executive director of the Charlotte Sports Foundation and 2023 Charlotte Businessperson of the Year, as well as serving as a professor of practice at USC. He is the former president of the Carolina Panthers, director of athletics at Texas Christian University and Wofford College and commissioner of the Southern Conference.

O’Malley was the first female president of an NBA franchise as well as one of the first women in a major front-office position in major league sports. She is the former president of the NBA's Washington Bullets (now Wizards) and Washington Sports and Entertainment. In her 20-year tenure with Washington Sports, she also ran the Capital One Arena (formerly the Verizon Center), the WNBA's Washington Mystics, and Ticketmaster Washington-Baltimore. She now serves as a senior instructor at USC. 

Sutton is a former NBA vice president and is the founder and principal of Bill Sutton & Associates, a consulting firm specializing in strategic marketing, revenue enhancement and organizational chemistry. His distinguished academic career includes appointments at Robert Morris University, the Ohio State University, the University of Massachusetts – Amherst, the University of Central Florida and most recently the University of South Florida, where he served as director and professor emeritus at the Vinik Sport and Entertainment Graduate program. His consulting clients include the NBA, NFL, Orlando Magic, Phoenix Suns, Miami Dolphins, Philadelphia 76ers, Tampa Bay Lightning and the New York Mets. He currently serves as a professor of practice at USC.

The class filled rapidly, and the students are excited.

Maddi McLean headshot
Maddi McLean, senior

"It is a pretty indescribable opportunity to be able to not only learn from but also to be mentored by three incredible sports industry professionals such as Professor O'Malley, Dr. Sutton, and Dr. Morrison," says senior Maddi McLean. "It is a privilege to go to a university that prioritizes connecting their students with the best of the best and our program through the College of HRSM embodies that perfectly. This class was designed to foster student leaders ready to take the world by storm and I am beyond grateful to have a seat at the table for all that is to come."

The students (seniors and graduate students pursuing degrees in sport and entertainment management) will take part in discussions and write papers reflecting on the lessons shared by each speaker.

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.