Director of Athletics/Chairman and
Chief Executive Officer of the
Southern Miss Athletic Foundation
Since Richard Giannini was named Director of Athletics in 1999, his vision, leadership and
unwavering work ethic has transformed the face
and landscape of Southern Miss athletics that will
have lasting effects for years to come.
A tireless and innovative administrator,
Giannini brought outstanding intercollegiate
athletic experience to Hattiesburg, including five
years as director of athletics at Louisiana-Monroe.
While working for the NCAA in the mid-1970s,
Giannini’s responsibilities included serving as
executive producer of the ABC Football Highlight
Shows, as well as NCAA Tournament basketball
games not aired by NBC. He also arranged and
produced the first national telecast of the College
Baseball World Series for HBO, and produced
numerous conference football highlight films. He
was also director of licensing for the NCAA.
He served as assistant sports information director at Florida (his alma mater) from 1966 to 1970,
was sports information director at Duke from
1970 to 1973, before becoming assistant athletics director at Duke in 1974. After working for
the NCAA in 1976 and 1977, Giannini returned
to Florida as senior associate athletics director to
oversee external affairs.
He left Florida in 1986 to enter the private
sector, taking over as CEO and co-owner of
Raycom Management Group in Charlotte, N.C.,
a subsidiary of Raycom Sports, where he developed numerous sporting events, including the
Blockbuster Bowl, the most successful first-year
bowl in NCAA history.
Giannini’s successes have not gone unnoticed.
He was inducted into the University of Florida’s
College of Health and Human Performance Hall
of Fame in March of 2004 and the Saint Leo
University Athletics Hall of Fame in February of
2005. The Golden Eagle athletics director was
a track athlete, competing in the weight events,
at St. Leo and Furman; and graduated from the
University of Florida in 1966.
His knowledge and insight into the world of
collegiate athletics has allowed him to serve on
several Conference USA committees and currently
is the chairman of the Football and Scheduling
Committees. He was chairman of the C-USA ath-
letic director’s committee in 2001-02 and 2008-09.
He completed a term on the NCAA Championships
Cabinet and is serving a four-year term on the
NCAA Football Issues Committee, which governs
all bowl games. He has one of the longest tenures
of any athletic director having served several other
four-year terms on the postseason football com-
mittee. He served as its chairman two years from
2006-08. He also represented C-USA Athletics
Directors BCS meetings for a four-year period.
During Giannini’s Tenure
• Graduation rates of USM student-athletes
have been recognized as one of the best in the
nation. Last year, the NCAA graduation success
rate for all athletes was 85 percent, while football was 84 percent. The APR rate continues to
improve with each of the University’s 16 athletic
programs and baseball has been publicly recognized twice by the NCAA as having a Top 10 percent ranking in APR among Division I programs.
• Southern Miss has had 17 ESPN The
Magazine Academic All-Americans, 17
Conference USA Scholar Athletes of the Year, 280
Conference USA Academic Medalists ( 3. 75 GPA
or higher) and 1,059 Commissioner’s Honor Roll
( 3.0 or better), including 130 for the 2010-11
• The school has won the Halbrook Award
seventh consecutive times for the men’s department - eighth overall - and once for the women’s
department during his tenure. The purpose of the
Halbrook Award is to recognize colleges and universities in the state of Mississippi that maintain
and achieve high academic standards for student
athletes, thus encouraging high graduation rates.
• Created and established the Southern Miss
Athletic Foundation and has spearheaded efforts to
raise more than $68 million in capital projects. In his
tenure, he has raised approximately $100 million,
which includes cash and endowments as well as the
development of the Circle of Champions program, a
group who have each committed $100,000, and has
grown since its inception to over 140 members.
• Solicited the largest ever one-time cash
gift in the history of the University of Southern
Mississippi athletics of over $5 million.
• Responsible for doubling the department’s
operating budget from $9.5 million in 1999 to
over $20 million in 2011.
• Introduced and implemented a new athletic
department logo in 2003, which has tripled the
amount of licensing revenue for the department.
• Doubled the amount of endowed scholar-
ships to over 97, worth a total of $3.95 million,
and raised the athletic giving from $750,000 to an
excess of $5 million annually through the Athletic