Fred Whitfield, the president, vice chairman, alternate governor and minority owner of the NBA’s Charlotte Hornets and a two-time Campbell University graduate, will deliver the commencement address for Campbell’s main campus graduation ceremony on May 14.
The ceremony — for graduates of Campbell’s College of Arts & Sciences, Lundy-Fetterman School of Business, School of Education and School of Engineering — will be held at 9 a.m. that Saturday outdoors at Barker-Lane Stadium.
“Fred Whitfield is one of the most recognizable and successful Campbell grads there is, and we couldn’t be more excited to have him return to campus to address our next generation of leaders,” President J. Bradley Creed said. “But more important than his title is his generosity and philanthropic spirit. Fred is a leader in the Charlotte community, and he’s been a vocal advocate and supporter of Campbell University over the years, as well.”
A two-time graduate of Campbell University (earning both his undergraduate business and MBA in the early 1980s), Whitfield was an All-South, team MVP and basketball team captain for the Fighting Camels and was inducted into the University’s sports hall of fame in 1995. He also earned a juris doctorate degree from North Carolina Central University School of Law in 1988, where he served as president of the Student Bar Association.
A talented sports executive with experience as a player, coach, agent, sports marketer and basketball operations administrator, Whitfield joined Hornets Sports & Entertainment (HSE) as president and chief operating officer in July of 2006, a position he continues to occupy today. In this role, Whitfield oversees all business operations for the Charlotte Hornets, the Hornets Foundation and Spectrum Center. He also is a minority partner in HSE.
Since arriving in Charlotte, Whitfield has overseen the dramatic growth of both the Hornets franchise and the arena. Along with overseeing the team’s rebranding from the Charlotte Bobcats, he led efforts to secure $40 million in renovations for Spectrum Center; the 2019 men’s ACC Tournament, the 2012 Democratic National Convention and the largest donation ever given to Charlotte-Mecklenburg Schools by a professional sports franchise. He also led the efforts to re-secure the 2019 NBA all-star game after the repeal of HB2.
A native of Greensboro, Whitfield’s portfolio includes the Jordan Brand, a division of Nike, Inc.; the Washington Wizards; Nike Basketball; Falk Associates Management Enterprises and a private law practice.
Before joining the Hornets, Whitfield served as director of business and legal affairs for Jordan Brand, where he managed endorsements and sports marketing strategy. From 2000-03, he served as director of player personnel and assistant legal counsel for the Washington Wizards. While there, he was responsible for the team’s salary cap administration, contract negotiations and overseeing player scouting.
Whitfield founded HoopTee Charities, Inc., a North Carolina-based non-profit corporation whose mission is to provide scholarships for disadvantaged youngsters to attend camps and educational programs across the country. He also founded Achievements Unlimited Basketball School in 1984. AU has focused its efforts in teaching fundamental basketball skills, the importance of education and staying drug free to more than 10,000 kids for the past 33 years.
In recent years, Whitfield has received the Thurgood Marshall Award of Excellence, YMCA George Williams Award, and the key to the city of Greensboro. He currently serves on boards of the Charlotte Chamber of Commerce, Charlotte Sports Foundation and Campbell University, as well as the Charlotte Executive Leadership Council.
He and his wife, Mary, reside in Charlotte.