Aug. 23, 2012
BERKELEY -Dr. Phil Esten, who has spent the past eight years at the University of Minnesota, most recently as president and CEO of the school's alumni association, has been named Executive Associate Athletic Director for Advancement at the University of California.
In his new role at Cal, Esten, 40, will oversee all advancement efforts, including the annual fund, capital and endowment giving, major gifts and donor relations, for Cal's 29 intercollegiate sport programs. Additionally, he will be responsible for creating and implementing a multiyear strategic plan in order to expand and steward the athletic department's donor base and increase giving participation levels to support all of Cal Athletics. He will serve as a member of Director of Athletics Sandy Barbour's Leadership Team and play a vital role in the external efforts of the department. Esten will begin his duties on Oct. 5.
Esten has overseen the Minnesota Alumni Association since 2010, working alongside a 49-person national Board of Directors and managing a 25-person staff, a $4.7 million annual budget and serving its 60,000 members and more than 400,000 alumni. He previously worked for six years in the Golden Gophers' athletic department.
"To say that I am thrilled that Phil has accepted the offer to join our team at Cal, is an understatement." said Sandy Barbour. "Phil is a true professional, who brings incredible passion, intellect and experience to our department, university and community. His experience and skill set, both in intercollegiate athletics and with broader university advancement, will serve the Cal community well as he takes on this important leadership role in Cal Athletics. Phil brings both a strategic approach to our philanthropic efforts, as well as a dedication to student-athletes that I know our community will embrace. Phil's an exceptional fit for Cal."
As an Associate Athletic Director before moving to the Minnesota Alumni Association in March 2010, Esten managed the overall strategic plan for intercollegiate athletics, which included 25 sports and 225 employees. He was the department's point person for the university's new on-campus football stadium, TCF Bank Stadium, that opened in 2009, serving as the liaison for all design, construction, operations and management of the $288.5 million project. Esten also was instrumental in stadium fundraising, an effort that included more than $45 million in funds for academic programming for the university.
"I am humbled by the opportunity to work at one of the most prestigious universities in the world and alongside some of the best in intercollegiate athletics," said Esten. "Cal is a special place and has a wonderful story to tell, and I look forward to working with both internal and external partners to deliver on that story. Sandy and other leaders at Cal have worked hard to provide an extraordinary experience for student-athletes and fans. The renovation of Cal's Memorial Stadium and the addition of the Simpson Center put Cal among the top when you look at facilities and services for all stakeholders. There is great momentum in Berkeley, and I'm ready to dig in as we look to provide a great experience for our generous donors and other alumni and friends."
Esten, who has a doctoral degree in kinesiology from Minnesota, has taught graduate level courses as an adjunct professor in the university's kinesiology department. He earned his master's degree in sports management from Ohio State in 1999 and received his bachelor's degree in corporate fitness/business from the University of St. Thomas in St. Paul, Minn., in 1995. Esten worked at Ohio State from 1997-2000, leaving as Assistant Director of Athletic Ticketing and Events.
Esten will be moving to California with his wife, Dani, and their three young children - Lucas, Cooper and Hannah.
"My family and I are excited to be part of the Cal community, one that has time and again displayed a commitment to diversity, culture and the advancement of research and education," said Esten. "Athletics serves the university community in a unique way, and I am thrilled to have the opportunity help advance development opportunities for student-athletes while extending the university's strong brand with pride and spirit and a commitment to our fans."