Don Staley’s career has been marked by success on the soccer field and as well as in the sports tourism consulting industry. His 23 year career record of 324-257-38 as a soccer coach was good enough to garner four “Coach of the Year” awards in two different leagues at the Division 1 collegiate level. In 2004, he became only the fifth coach in NCAA soccer history to reach the 300 win mark. In business, Staley’s dedicated efforts to the sports tourism industry were recognized by his peers in the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) as they named him “Sports Tourism Executive of the Year” at their 2015 annual symposium.
Born in Pittsburg, Pennsylvania, Staley earned his bachelor’s degree in General Studies/Sports Management from Radford University in 1992. He began his career as the head coach at Radford University (Virginia). Staley first came to Tuscaloosa in 1994 where he started the University of Alabama’s soccer program, also serving as its first head coach.
After leaving the coaching ranks, Staley played a pivotal role in the formation of the Tuscaloosa Sports Foundation in 2007, becoming the commission’s Executive Director of Sports from 2010 to 2014. His major achievement during his tenure was to lure the prestigious Super Six High School Football Championships to Bryant Denny Stadium in 2009. The event delivered a profound economic impact to the community. Working with the AHSAA and the city of Auburn, the championship has alternated sites between Auburn University and the University of Alabama each year since, serving as a major revenue producer for both cities by boosting lodging, dining, and shopping as it brings in thousands of high school football fans and visitors.
Staley left Tuscaloosa in 2014 to serve as Executive Director of the Foley Sports Tourism Complex. There, he helped guide the branding and implementation of the $32 million venue into a national sporting event destination, resulting in a substantial increase in tourism and revenue for the area.
On June 23, 2017, Staley returned to the city where he built his career. He was elected President and CEO of the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission by a unanimous board vote. In the years since his return, Staley and his team have produced innovative new projects such as The Druid City Music Festival and The Tuscaloosa Virtual Music Experience. The group has significantly grown existing events such as The Druid Arts Festival and has lent its support to major projects such as Tuscaloosa’s Bicentennial Celebration and The Tuscaloosa Civil Rights History Trail. In addition, the organization has successfully recruited other conferences and sporting events to significantly expand the economic impact to the community.
Staley’s dedicated efforts to the sports tourism consulting industry were recognized by his peers in the National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC) as they named him “Sports Tourism Executive of the Year at their 2015 annual symposium. Rick Hatcher, Executive Director of the Treasure Coast Sports Commission, and the former chairman of NASC has high praise for Staley. Hatcher, who is also a board member of the Florida Sports Hall of Fame, put it simply by stating, “Don Staley is one of the best in the industry.” In 2014, the Alabama House of Representatives recognized Staley for his outstanding record of public service in the sports and tourism industry.
Staley’s athletic experience encompasses far more than just coaching. He served on the 1996 Birmingham Olympic Committee, and has supervised SEC and NCAA athletics events and championships. His experience includes managing budgets, facilities, and personnel administration. In 2013 he served on the Mississippi High School Activities Association, where as a consultant, he aided in bringing the Mississippi High School Football Championships to Mississippi State University, University of Mississippi and University of Southern Mississippi.
He was named to the University of South Alabama University Education Advisory Board in 2016. In 2018, he began serving on the West Alabama Chamber of Commerce Economic Advisory Board. In that same year he was named to the Tuscaloosa 200 Bicentennial Committee Board of Directors, as well as to the Alabama State Tourism Committee.
Staley’s hobbies include golf, pickleball, and he is an avid fan of the Alabama Crimson Tide, Pittsburgh Penguins, and Steelers. He is married to the former Kimberly McCall. They have one son, Tyler.
As a sports tourism consultant for the Mississippi High School Athletic Association, Staley helped secure the Mississippi High School Football Championships at Mississippi State University, the University of Mississippi, and the University of Southern Mississippi.
Staley was in charge of opening the Foley Sports Tourism Event Center in 2017, and, after moving to Tuscaloosa as CEO and President of Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports, supported the opening of the Tuscaloosa Civil Rights Trail. This included providing the Civil Rights Trail brochures, app, markers, and tours, with a dedicated full time staff member for the project period.
Sign up to get the latest news on our sports tourism consulting services, athletics, and more!