July 25, 2012
University of Minnesota director of Athletics Norwood Teague added a key piece to his senior management team Wednesday, naming Mike Ellis as senior associate athletics director for administration.
A veteran administrator who rose through the ranks at Virginia Commonwealth University, Ellis played a critical role in the growth of the Rams' athletic department over the past decade. He also brings the added perspective of a coach, serving 13 years on the VCU men's basketball staff prior to moving into administration.
"Mike is a talented individual who was an unbelievable asset to the athletic department at VCU," Teague said. "He has worked on both sides of the equation throughout his career, as a coach and then as an administrator, and brings a unique perspective to the job that has proven to be very valuable."
Ellis was promoted to deputy director of athletics at VCU in May of 2012 and oversaw the daily administration and management of the Rams' external areas - development, corporate sales, marketing, ticketing and athletic communications. Prior to that, Ellis spent three seasons as VCU's associate athletics director for administration. In that role his focus centered on fundraising and development, including negotiating VCU's apparel with Nike. He also served as the primary sport administrator for women's basketball and women's soccer, shared oversight of men's basketball program and supervised both the sports medicine and equipment units.
Ellis' stint at Virginia Commonwealth began in 1988 as an assistant men's basketball coach. During his time with the Rams' basketball program, Ellis served as the Rams' top assistant before moving into a role with the VCU Center for Sports leadership in 2002. A year later, he rejoined the VCU Athletic Department as an assistant athletics director and from 2003-09 he worked on a number of major gift projects while overseeing the athletic communications office. Ellis also worked as a radio/television color commentator for men's basketball during his time at VCU.
In addition to his duties at VCU, Ellis is the founder of the groundbreaking Villa 7 consortium and one of the most influential individuals in college basketball. Villa 7 is a concept that brings the top men's and women's assistant college basketball coaches together with athletic directors for networking and career development. This consortium is a partnership with Nike and is held each year on the Nike campus in Beaverton , Ore. Vila 7 has become a major force in college basketball as more than 90 Villa 7 alums are now head coaches at the division 1 level.
A native of Butner, N.C., Ellis graduated from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill with a bachelor's degree in secondary education. At UNC, Ellis served as a manager for the men's basketball team under the direction of the legendary Dean Smith. Following graduation, he worked as an administrative assistant with USA Basketball, working with both the men's and women's 1988 Olympic teams that competed in Seoul, South Korea.
Ellis and his wife, Terri, have a son, Michael, and daughter, Caroline.