A new deputy athletic director for external operations and relations

Yulander Wells, Jr.

Photo courtesy of Harvard Athletics

3 min read

Yulander Wells, Jr. has been named Harvard’s deputy athletic director for external operations and relations, Erin McDermott, the John D. Nichols ’53 Family Director of Athletics, announced this week.

In his role, Wells will provide strategic leadership and be responsible for broad supervision of the athletic department’s external units, which includes communications, business development, ticketing, marketing, multimedia, alumni relations and development.

“Yulander is a proven leader with the talent, presence and vision to align our external efforts and execute mission-driven priorities and strategies,” McDermott said. “I am thrilled to welcome Yulander and his family to Harvard and look forward to them joining the Crimson community.”

Wells will be charged with developing and executing strategies to help strengthen the Harvard Athletics brand, while also looking to maximize revenue potential and increase opportunities for engagement among the many external constituencies.

“I am humbled and excited to be given this opportunity to work with Erin McDermott and the Harvard University community,” Wells said. “The chance to be part of a world-class institution whose values align with my own, and partner with a great group of coaches and staff that will serve tirelessly to provide an unrivaled experience for all Harvard University scholar-athletes is such an honor. My family and I are delighted to join the Harvard University family.”

With more than 12 years of athletic administration experience, Wells is set to arrive in Cambridge from Tampa, Florida. A former two-sport athlete, Wells was the University of South Florida’s (USF) senior associate athletic director for business and finance/chief financial officer for three years before being elevated in September 2017 to senior associate athletic director for administration. Then in 2018, Wells added development to his title and list of duties.

In his most recent role as senior associate athletic director for administration and development, Wells helped USF reach all-time highs for total dollars raised in a single year — more than $14 million — and more than 3,800 Bulls Club donors, while assisting the department in surpassing for the first time the 100 Iron Bull mark, which represents the highest annual giving donor level. He additionally managed all football scheduling and led metric tracking, meetings and implementation of USF’s strategic plan.

During his time at USF, Wells oversaw all aspects of the department’s financial and business operations strategy, focusing on football and both basketball programs. Under his leadership, USF successfully transitioned from the Big East to the American Athletic Conference, and oversaw a budget growth from $43 million to $49 million.

A respected leader at USF, Wells served as the co-advisor for its Black Student-Athlete Council and on the USF President’s Black Employee Steering Committee.

Before USF, Wells was the assistant controller for the University Athletic Association, Inc., at Florida (2008-13). Wells was also a liaison to the University of Florida Foundation, Inc., assisting with the review of gift agreements and processing, endowment requests, disbursements and tax related issues.

A native of Chicago, Wells earned his bachelor of business administration-finance degree in 2001, and his master of business administration-management degree from North Central College in 2005. Yulander and his wife Janelle Wells, have three sons.