Most football fans who come to Neyland Stadium probably do not worry if the concession stands have enough ice, but that is the kind of detail that David Elliott and his staff think about on game day.
Elliott is the University of Tennessee assistant athletic director for event management. He oversees game day logistics of men’s and women’s athletic events.
Elliott and the event staff, which consists of five full-time employees and four student workers, work year-round to coordinate travel accommodations, staffing, tickets and other logistics associated with hosting more than 100,000 fans on football Saturday. The staff takes care of the Volunteers and the many details for the visiting teams as well. Elliott’s office coordinates with the opposing teams’ athletes, cheerleaders, marching bands and dignitaries.
During football season, regardless of kickoff time, Elliott’s game day starts at 5 a.m. and ends about three hours after the game is over. Away games require even more time. Elliott travels ahead of the team, making sure that all the team’s arrangements are in order.
While Elliott loves that his job allows him to meet new people, he said that it can be hard on his wife and two kids.
“My kids don’t really understand where I am on game day; they just know that I am at work. It is exciting though, when they get to come to the games,” he says.
Elliott is no stranger to UT Knoxville or the athletic department. He received a bachelor’s degree in finance in 1990, and a master’s degree in sport management in 1992. As a student, he served as a student trainer and graduate assistant. He began working for the athletic office full-time in 1993 and has served in his current role for the past two years.
This football season brings many changes to Big Orange Country. Lane Kiffin is in his first year as the head coach, and millions of dollars of renovations to Neyland Stadium have just been completed. Elliott says he’s seeing an exciting mix of new innovations and beloved traditions in the program.
“I think that the university has done a great job implementing change, while preserving the traditions and pageantry that the fans have come to love,” he says.
While Elliott and his staff are excited for the new season that’s just under way, they are already working hard on the details for the 2010 season. Negotiations for accommodations and various other contracts are already in the works.
“Event management means always staying on top of the logistics for the next game, because there’s always a next game,” Elliott says.