A friend of a friend-Mike Racy and Josh Looney-March 30

One thing I have learned is that good friends have other good friends. This is a series of stories about “friends of my friends”. The post below is the story for March 30, 2015.

My goal in 2015 is to learn or get re-acquainted with 365 people and doing a daily post on the “the friend of a friend” is helping me get closer to my goal.

There will be lots of focus this week on the city of Indianapolis, Indiana as it gets ready to host the NCAA Division I Final Four. The games should be good with four excellent teams in Michigan State, Duke, Wisconsin, and undefeated Kentucky all set to battle. Indianapolis is the headquarter city to the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).

From 2006 to 2013 I had the great privilege to serve on a number of Division II NCAA Committees including Legislation, Nominating, Infractions Appeal, and Management Council. The NCAA is a large organization and I was fortunate during those seven years to meet a lot of great leaders who worked on those committees or were part of the national office. Today I get to call a lot of them friends. Some of those friends/leaders are destined to become college or university presidents one day in my opinion.

In 2012 I met a new employee of the NCAA and over the next year we developed a friendship. In September of 2012 Josh Looney joined the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) as the Associate Director of Division II. Josh was a former Division II student-athlete in the sport of football at Washburn (KS). Josh new position had him working with more than 300 membership institutions on the NCAA Division II strategic positioning platform.

Prior to arriving at the NCAA Josh was employed by the Kansas City Chiefs in the NFL. He spent seven years with the Kansas City Chiefs serving as the team’s primary online personality and as a broadcaster for the team’s in-house production arm, 65 Toss Power Trap productions.

In 2012, Josh was a member of the Chiefs Preseason Broadcast Team as a sideline reporter pairing with Paul Burmeister (play-by-play) and former Chiefs quarterback Trent Green (analyst).

On KCChiefs.com, Josh brought fans inside the Chiefs organization by delivering breaking news and providing a round-the-clock insider perspective in columns, blogs and video features. He also hosted a magnitude of live programming including Chiefs LIVE! with Josh Looney, a Telly-Award winning web show centered around fan interaction, and carried a significant presence on the team’s official Facebook page. Josh was an excellent communicator and very personable leader.

Josh graduated cum laude from Washburn University with a BBA in finance and holds an MBA with emphasis in organizational leadership from the University of Missouri – Kansas City. He is currently working on his doctorate through Creighton University’s Interdisciplinary Ed.D. Program in Leadership. Josh was a college football player at Washburn and proudly wore #39.

Josh Washburn Football Days

In his role as a member of the Division II leadership team, Josh worked very closely with the Division II governance structure including Management Council which I was part of. Josh would update our committee on the division’s external outreach, identity initiatives and enhancement of the student-athlete experience. Josh is also in charge of the Division II national television agreement with CBS Sports Network and I had been lobbying hard for three years to get a UNC Pembroke football game on National TV so Josh when he got hired became someone I spoke to often.

In September 2013 UNC Pembroke hosted nationally ranked Winston-Salem State to open the Division II football season on CBS Sports thanks to Josh’s influence. Excitement was at an all-time high on campus for this nationally broadcast game and UNCP won 25-21. The game was witnessed by a standing room only crowd of nearly 8,000, pretty good for a stadium that only seated 3,500.

Picture below (l-r) Steven Bourquin-UNCP Math Professor, Dan Kenney, and Josh Looney at end of WSSU at UNCP game.

2nd Picture CBS Control Room for broadcast.

Josh Dan Endzone

Control Truck

My wife Mira and I were happy that during the days surrounding the broadcast from UNC Pembroke  that Josh stayed with us for a couple of nights. I had already formed the opinion that Josh was going to be a future leader on a college campus someday from being with him in Indianapolis. Getting to see him interact with students, faculty, staff, and our chancellor on campus convinced me beyond a shadow of a doubt that Josh Looney could be a future college president one day.  Josh also is friends with another leader who I believe will become a college president one day soon and that is Mike Racy.

The Friend – JOSH LOONEY  2nd photo at Pacers Game with Josh’s wife Jenna

Josh LooneyJosh and Wife Jenna

The Friend – MIKE RACY


The Washburn Connection

Mike Racy and Josh Looney both graduated from the same university-Washburn University in Topeka, KS. Josh got hired at the NCAA in September 2012 and at the time of his hire Mike Racy was the Vice-President for NCAA Division II. Mike joined the NCAA in November 1993 after having worked at the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics and a Kansas City law firm. As an NCAA legislative assistant, he served as special liaison to the NCAA Presidents Commission for Governance Restructuring, which eventually developed legislation that led to a new membership structure for the NCAA in 1997.

In 1996, Racy was named assistant chief of staff for Division II (the equivalent of a Division II director in today’s terminology). He was named Division II chief of staff (subsequently retitled as vice president) in 1999, succeeding Nancy Mitchell.

Mike served in that role until he left the NCAA in 2013 to go to University of Central Missouri in Warrensburg, Mo where he currently the Vice President for Law, Policy, and Strategy. The president at Central Missouri is Chuck Ambrose who is the former president at Pfeiffer University (NC).

Mike legacy at the NCAA is impressive. He was responsible for Division II developing and implementing a groundbreaking strategic-positioning platform; he help create a National Championships Festival series; and passed landmark “Life in the Balance” legislation that reframed the educational and athletics experience for Division II student-athletes, coaches and administrators.

In addition, Division II student-athletes became the first to create a national charitable outreach through their association with Make-A-Wish. Division II also identified and then followed through on a need to build stronger bonds among Division II athletics programs, their institutions and the communities in which they are located.

Prior to going to University of Central Missouri Mike was selected to be part of a year-long ACE Fellowship. The ACE Fellows Program is the nation’s premier higher education leadership development program. It prepares senior leaders to serve American colleges and universities. I know first-hand working for a university that becoming an ACE Fellow is highly competitive and unbelievable training to become a college president/chancellor.

Don’t know what is in the Washburn water but I am convinced that Josh Looney and his friend Mike Racy will one day be college presidents.


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