Sports Lawyer Takes the Helm as Next Vanderbilt Athletics Director
Vanderbilt University has named Malcolm Turner as the university’s new vice chancellor for athletics and university affairs and athletics director. Turner, a member of the NBA’s senior leadership team and president of the NBA G League, will join the university on Feb. 1, 2019. He replaces David Williams, the current Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletics Director, who is retiring from the athletic department to focus on the Vanderbilt Law School’s commitment to a program devoted to sports law.
“I set out to find a thought leader with the skill set and vision to manage the next stage of transformation for Vanderbilt Athletics, and that’s exactly what we found in Malcolm Turner,” Vanderbilt University Chancellor Nicholas S. Zeppos said. “Malcolm is a proven executive with deep expertise in multiple business disciplines including management, marketing and development across the sports landscape of teams, leagues, facilities and major events. He also carries a deep and personal commitment to education, evidenced by his own academic achievements and his extensive community service. His exceptional skills, combined with his passion for education and drive for excellence, will bring immense value not only to the Vanderbilt Commodores, but to the rest of the university and to the entire Nashville community.”
Turner’s tenure as president of the NBA G League is hallmarked by growth, expansion and transformation.
Under Turner’s leadership, the NBA G League has enjoyed unprecedented growth across all areas of its business and basketball operations — from record numbers of NBA G League alumni in the NBA, to a first-of-its-kind expanded entitlement partnership with Gatorade, to innovative new player contract types. A champion for NBA Two-Way Contracts (newly incorporated in the NBA’s current Collective Bargaining Agreement) and NBA G League Select Contracts (newly announced as part of the G League’s recently launched professional path), Turner’s vision deepened the league’s commitment to player development.
His hire drew the praise of David Stern, NBA Commissioner Emeritus and one of the most accomplished commissioners in the professional sports history.
“Malcolm is an exceptionally talented executive and an all-around great person,” he said. “The NBA benefited tremendously from his leadership, acumen, and collaborative mindset — he’s one of a kind. He expanded the NBA’s development league in unprecedented ways to form the successful G League, and enhanced the league’s commitment to player, coach and staff development. I have no doubt he will bring that same commitment to excellence and impact to Vanderbilt’s Athletics Program.”
Prior to joining the NBA, Turner worked at Wasserman Media Group, where he helped build the firm’s preeminent Consulting Division as its managing director, creating and managing sports, entertainment, venue and new product launch strategies for leading corporate brands and properties. He went on to help build a multinational footprint for this practice before launching Wasserman’s Golf Division as one of the leading golf management teams representing some of the game’s top personalities and brands. Prior to Wasserman, he served as senior vice president and a member of the leadership team of OnSport, a North Carolina-based sports and entertainment consulting firm (later acquired by Wasserman) that managed strategic initiatives for Fortune 100 brands across the NBA, NFL, MLB, NASCAR, Madison Square Garden, STAPLES Center and other marquee properties. The firm also represented the media rights for prominent rightsholders in the professional and college sports landscape.
Turner graduated from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and went on to earn joint J.D./.M.B.A. degrees from Harvard University.