News and Announcements

Long time sports administration faculty member and distinguished alumnus Jim Kahler to transition from full time executive in residence to emeriti director role at semester’s end

The Ohio University (OHIO) AECOM Center for Sports Administration announced today that long time faculty member and Master of Sport Administration’s (MSA) Charles R. Higgins Distinguished Alumnus recipient (1994) Jim Kahler will step away from his full-time responsibilities and transition to an Emeriti Director role within the AECOM Center for Sports Administration at the end of the spring semester.

Kahler's 17 years of faculty service to the College of Business and Department of Sports Administration are marked with numerous accolades and accomplishments. Chief amongst them, he was a part of transitioning the storied MSA program into the College of Business, leading the MSA program, and serving as the inaugural director of the AECOM Center for Sports Administration. During his tenure, Kahler has been instrumental in helping build the MSA program to where it stands today, SportBusiness’ #1 global ranking for 8 of the award’s 10 years. He also played a key role in helping to launch the Professional MSA (PMSA) online master’s degree program, where he led the recruiting effort of the first three cohorts. In 2021, Kahler was honored and admitted to the Commission on Sport Management Accreditation’s (COSMA) Hall of Fame for his success in partnering with organizations from the sport industry to fuel valuable experiential learning opportunities for OHIO’s sports students at all levels.

Kahler returned to his graduate program alma mater in 2005 after spending four years at Arizona State University, where he launched their sports administration program within the W.P. Carey School of Business. Prior to entering academia, Kahler spent 11 years leading as Senior Vice President of Sales and Chief Marketing Officer for the Cleveland Cavaliers and was influential in Cleveland’s successful hosting of the NBA All-Star game in 1997. He also served a three-year term on the NBA’s Marketing Advisory Committee and additionally provided sales consulting services to several professional sports teams and companies.

Kahler has long served on the National Sports Forum’s Steering Committee and also serves on the advisory board for In Stadium Advertising (Chicago, IL) and Navigate Research (Chicago, IL).

AECOM Center for Sports Administration Executive Director and MSA Director Matt Cacciato offered the following regarding Kahler’s career at Ohio University.

“Jim Kahler’s passion for and dedication to Ohio University’s sports administration students, alumni and faculty are unparalleled. The success of the program over the past 17 years is directly attributable to the great efforts Jim put forth on a daily basis. Further, the volume of authentic and mutually beneficial relationships Jim built over his years provided hundreds of successful student placements, highly visible marketing exposure and critically important revenues to allow our AECOM Center to grow,” Cacciato said. “My ability to transition into the roles previously held by Jim while he was here allowed me to learn firsthand from his deep institutional, industry and alumni knowledge. Finally, Jim will continue to provide support in the newly created role of Emeriti Director for the AECOM Center for Sports Administration.”

Kahler received his BSBA from Xavier University and went on to receive his master’s degree from Ohio University. He and his wife Katie have lived in Athens for the past 17 years and they are proud parents of Peter (PMSA ’20), Meaghan (PMSA ’16), Jimmy and Caitlin, and also became grandparents for the first time in 2021.

February 9, 2022
Staff reports