Former Notre Dame and NFL running back, Darius Walker, has embarked on a successful post-football career and has now joined Nolan Partners, a prominent executive search firm “helping sports, media, and entertainment clients find talented leadership and performance executives”.
Founded in 2006 by Paul Nolan, a former human resources director for the English Football Association, Nolan Partners initially focused on European sports teams and leagues. However, with the addition of Chad Biagini, the firm expanded its operations into North America. Nolan Partners has successfully facilitated executive searches for several high-profile sports organizations, including the Chicago Bears, the U.S. Olympic and Paralympic Committee, and the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.
With his extensive experience in broadcasting, finance, and development, Darius Walker is set to lead Nolan Partners’ sports performance practice in North America. This move comes as a result of Walker’s ability to build relationships and network effectively, and the firm’s recognition of his skills as a high-level athlete and revenue generator.
Darius Walker made a name for himself as one of the top running backs in the history of Notre Dame’s football program before pursuing a professional career in the NFL. Although his NFL stint was short-lived, Walker’s determination and focus on building a successful post-football career led him to achieve remarkable accomplishments in various fields.
Having facilitated over 1,000 executive searches since its establishment in 2006, Nolan Partners boasts an impressive track record. Darius Walker’s role as partner will involve assisting sports organizations in hiring key personnel such as coaches, general managers, CEOs and other pivotal positions within the industry.
Walker’s previous positions at Fox Sports, ESPN, Morgan Stanley, and Notre Dame’s development office have honed his relationship-building skills. These skills will prove invaluable at Nolan Partners, where he will be responsible for persuading sports organizations to engage the firm’s services and identifying ideal candidates for open positions.
While Walker didn’t have previous connections at Nolan Partners, he cultivated a network of successful Notre Dame alumni and business professionals during his time in Los Angeles. His friendship with Michael LaSalle, a partner at Shamrock Capital Advisors, proved instrumental. Shamrock Capital, which acquired Excel Sports Management, the parent company of Nolan Partners, introduced Walker to the search firm.
Chad Biagini, President of Nolan Partners, identified Walker as an exceptional candidate due to his networking abilities, intellect, athletic background, and track record of success. Walker’s experience as a high-level athlete, combined with his ability to sell his vision and generate revenue, aligns perfectly with the demands of an executive recruiter. His curiosity, work ethic, and understanding of sports organizations’ front offices further enhance his credibility and effectiveness in the role.
Nolan Partners is currently engaged in searches for various executive positions, including a chief financial officer for an NFL team, a chief communications officer for an NBA team, and a chief operating officer for a Premier League team. Walker’s expertise will contribute to these searches and enable the firm to expand its reach by assisting with hiring coaches, general managers, and other roles related to player and team performance.
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