South Florida hires Kelly as AD

The University of South Florida has hired Michael Kelly, chief operating officer for the CFP since 2012, as athletic director.Photo Credit: Aaron Doster-USA TODAY Sports

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Michael Kelly, an executive with the College Football Playoff, has been hired as athletic director at the University of South Florida, the school announced.

Chief operating officer for the CFP since 2012, Kelly previously served as associate athletic director for external affairs at USF under former athletic director Lee Roy Selmon from 2001-02 and helped the football program transition to the FBS level.

Kelly replaces Mark Harlan, who left South Florida to become athletic director at Utah last month.

“Michael Kelly is a proven leader with a wealth of experience across the national collegiate athletic landscape, as well as within Tampa Bay,” USF president Judy Genshaft said in a statement. “He has a track record of promoting competitive excellence, building strong community relationships, developing marketing campaigns, reaching fundraising goals and supporting academic achievement. His future-focused vision and high moral character will ensure that our already strong USF Athletics program reaches new heights. I look forward to all that USF and the Tampa Bay community will achieve under Michael’s leadership.”

Kelly also spearheaded the Super Bowl host committee for the Tampa Bay area ahead of Super Bowl XXXV in 2001, and was executive director for the 1999 men’s basketball Final Four organizing committee, held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg.

While Kelly was with the CFP, the national championship game went to Tampa in January 2017, when Clemson beat Alabama, and he also previously was as a senior associate commissioner in the Atlantic Coast Conference.