DRI Names Sports Practice Leader

August 6, 2019 – The sports industry is thriving. With an estimated size of $539.7 billion in the U.S. alone, sports business jobs surrounding college athletic departments, professional sports leagues or other athletic franchises are in demand.

Recently, Solon, OH-based Direct Recruiters Inc. (DRI) appointed Brett Wallace as director of its sports and entertainment practice.

Mr. Wallace brings to Direct Recruiters 10 years of leadership experience with the Cleveland Cavaliers, Philadelphia Eagles, Cleveland Browns and most recently as assistant athletic director at Syracuse University. “Brett’s combined experience in the NCAA, NBA, NFL and AHL will allow him to partner with his clients to solve complex human capital solutions in the dynamic sports and entertainment industry,” said the firm.

“Because sports franchises and college athletic programs now compete as global entertainment brands, we have seen a large uptick in the demand for executive search in this industry,” said Robert Cohn, managing partner at Direct Recruiters. “With Brett’s experience and track record of success combined with DRI’s 36 years of experience working with organizations to achieve their goals, we are uniquely positioned to serve our clients in this space.”

DRI’s sports and entertainment practice sources, recruits, acquires and retains individuals for leading organizations within the sports and entertainment industry. The firm has placed sports and entertainment professionals within universities, professional sports leagues and other organizations.

Serving Over 25 Vertical Markets 

DRI provides customized employment solutions for clients, working in over 25 vertical markets. The firm recently announced an integration with its sister company, Direct Consulting Associates. The integration is designed to provide project-based, professional staffing and consulting support to Direct Recruiters’ client base. Direct Consulting Associates currently provides recruiting services to the hospital IT and general IT space. Moving forward, the companies will be known as Direct Recruiters Inc.

In addition, DRI recently appointed Cherie Shepard, Jason Herbert and Norm Volsky as partners. All three have “demonstrated leadership, dedication, integrity and a standard of excellence within the search industry,” said DRI.

“Speaking on behalf of the existing partners, we are thrilled to congratulate Cherie, Jason and Norm,” said David Peterson, managing partner. “All three exemplify our four core values and demonstrate leadership to our team each day. Their expertise and dedication to the industry will continue to drive the DRI team towards long-term success.”

Retention Guarantee

DRI backs up its executive searches with a retention guarantee of its placements for one to two years. Direct Retention, as the firm calls its new product offering, revolves around a thorough evaluation of candidates by DRI as well as expert independent partners.


Sports and Entertainment Expansion Elevating Search Business

Over the last 25 years, the sports sector has grown into a formidable global industry. Historically, professional sports teams operated on a relatively modest level, with league officials, team owners, managers, and coaches surrounding themselves with people they knew and trusted from their own small worlds. College sports teams relied on in-house search committees and word-of-mouth recommendations. That has all changed.

Teams with huge followings like the Dallas Cowboys, Real Madrid and Manchester United have seen their valuations soar into the billions of dollars. That’s attracted search firms – big time. Seasoned recruiters now provide strategic planning advice, in addition to talent identification services, with the capability of applying their findings to speed along the process in the hunt for talent. Here’s some further reading from Hunt Scanlon Media.


Direct Retention’s team approach is thorough and well integrated, the firm said. It starts with a client company having an initial consultation call with each of the firm’s consultants. “From there, together we come up with a candidate profile to include cultural fit, a proper compensation plan and parameters around a relocation package,” said Dan Charney, DRI’s president and CEO. “We also can include our law firm partner early in the process to come up with a strategy if we feel it is likely the selected candidate has some type of restrictive covenant.”

DRI also has a partnership with PRADCO, a talent assessment, development and management company. “With the ongoing data-driven environment we are experiencing, our partnership with PRADCO assists us in our goal of providing customized solutions that help our clients hire top talent for mission-critical positions,” said Mr. Charney. “PRADCO set themselves apart from their competitors because they share in our belief that talent acquisition is not a one-size-fits-all proposition.”

Contributed by Scott A. Scanlon, Editor-in-Chief; Dale M. Zupsansky, Managing Editor; Stephen Sawicki, Managing Editor; and Andrew W. Mitchell, Managing Editor – Hunt Scanlon Media

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