Burton, a Bowling Green native who was a member of the Western Kentucky University tennis team from 1984-87, was named the school’s Associate Athletic Director for Marketing and New Business Development by Director of Athletics Dr. Wood Selig Thursday.
Burton’s responsibilities on the Hill will include increasing season, single game and group ticket sales; increasing student attendance at WKU athletic events; overseeing the school’s radio and television networks as well as licensing and Internet properties; and, developing new corporate partners and stewarding existing corporate relationships.
He will begin work on July 1.
Since earning his degree from WKU in 1988 in recreation and park administration, Burton has been on the athletic staff at Virginia Commonwealth. After serving as Director of Special Projects and Assistant to the Athletic Director, he was named Assistant Athletic Director of Marketing and Promotions in 1995. Burton was promoted to Associate Athletic Director in 2000.
“This is such an exciting opportunity, both professionally and personally, to return to my alma mater and hometown. It is quite an honor to be selected to oversee the marketing and sales departments at WKU,” said Burton. “For the last 18 years, I have been fortunate to work with a fantastic athletic director in Dr. Richard L. Sander at VCU and I look forward to reuniting with another visionary athletic director in Dr. Selig. It is obvious that Dr. Selig and the rest of the Hilltoppers have created something special in Bowling Green, and I am eager to be a part of the WKU family.”
In his role with the Rams, Burton oversaw a staff of six that was responsible for marketing all 16 VCU sports. He was in charge of the design and sale of both corporate sponsorship and group sales packages, overseeing all television, print and radio advertising, and was part of the event management group for men’s basketball, baseball and men’s and women’s soccer. Burton also managed the VCU/Charles Barkley Celebrity Golf Tournament — which has raised $30,000 annually over the past 11 years — marketed outside events at the school’s Stuart C. Siegel Center and oversaw the Rams’ pep band, cheerleaders and dance team.
Burton helped negotiate a 10-year agreement with Alltel Communications for the naming rights of VCU’s new basketball arena that opened in 1999, which generated $2.4 million in revenue, and in one of his last efforts is working with Pepsi Cola on an 11-year contract extension that will gross over $1.1 million for the school’s athletic department when it is signed. Over the last seven years, VCU’s sponsorship revenue has increased by more than $450,000.
In addition to serving as tournament director of seven NCAA Championship events since 1993, Burton has been a member of the NCAA Division I men’s tennis committee the last three years.
“WKU is very fortunate to be able to attract a seasoned professional such as B.J. Burton to join our athletic department,” Selig said. “B.J. knows college athletics from the perspective of a student-athlete and administrator, and he is very familiar with our athletic program and its prominence in our local community from his playing days on the Hill. We welcome B.J. back to Bowling Green and look forward to the energy and marketing and sales expertise that he will most certainly add to our department.”
A four-year letterwinner for the Hilltoppers, Burton won more than 40 singles and 30 doubles matches during his WKU career. As a sophomore, he posted a career-best 17-8 singles mark — including going 13-5 at the No. 5 position — while combining with four partners for 11 victories. Burton was 9-4 in doubles play his senior season, adding seven singles wins. His efforts helped the Toppers win 39 matches during his career, which included posting a 10-5 mark his senior campaign.
“I have always been impressed with B.J.’s enthusiasm and commitment to his job,” said the legendary Jimmy Feix, who was athletic director on the Hill during Burton’s playing days. “He is excited about collegiate athletics and the role it plays in life, and he is committed to that mission. More than anything, B.J.’s enthusiasm has always impressed me.”
A 1984 graduate of Russellville High School, his father Don coached at Warren Central High school for three years before moving to Russellville High.