NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Vanderbilt Vice Chancellor for Athletics and University Affairs and Athletic Director Candice Storey Lee announced Tuesday that Derek Grice will join the university as deputy athletic director for external engagement and revenue generation. An accomplished administrator with a proven record of steering growth, Grice will play an important role in Vandy United’s new phase, part of the university’s comprehensive $3.2 billion Dare to Grow campaign.
“We are fortunate to welcome Derek to Commodore Nation at such an exciting time for Vanderbilt Athletics,” Lee said. “At Vanderbilt, we are committed to helping today’s student-athletes compete in a championship environment, while also creating a framework for sustainable success. Derek shares this same commitment. His energy, passion and expertise have made him an effective leader in college athletics. I’m excited to welcome Derek and his family to Nashville.”
In addition to helping Lee shape Vandy United’s Dare to Grow phase, which includes enhancements to Hawkins Field, the Frist Athletics Village and other key projects, Grice will direct the Commodores’ marketing and promotional efforts, ticket operations and sales, fan engagement and hospitality, broadcasting and multimedia rights.
“I’m grateful to Vice Chancellor Lee and Chancellor Diermeier for the opportunity to be a part of this prestigious university at such a transformational time for Vanderbilt Athletics,” Grice said. “Serving student-athletes and the alumni and supporters who rally around them and help them grow has been a calling. What we create today for these young people shapes all of our futures. That’s why I’m so excited to come to a place where, with the ongoing and overwhelming support of a campaign like Vandy United just one example, the entire university community is committed to working together to create a student-athlete and game day experience unlike anything else in the country. Vanderbilt is leading the way in reimagining college athletics for a new era, and I can’t wait to start helping Commodores dare to grow.”
Grice most recently served as executive associate director of athletics at San Diego State University, where he was a member of the athletic director’s executive team and responsible for a number of trailblazing capital projects.
As part of the SDSU Mission Valley executive leadership and design team, he worked closely with campus partners and third-party consultants on the plan for a 166-acre campus expansion with an estimated $3 billion annual economic impact. The site encompasses an innovation district with a multipurpose stadium, residential units, mixed-use retail, a hotel and conference center, and parks and green space.
As part of that expansion, Grice was the project executive responsible for planning, design, budget, construction and revenue generation for Snapdragon Stadium, home of SDSU Athletics, Major League Soccer’s expansion San Diego FC, the National Women’s Soccer League’s San Diego Wave FC and Major League Rugby’s San Diego Legion. He also led final negotiations for the stadium naming rights agreements, one of the most lucrative in college athletics, and was instrumental in negotiating a long-term agreement that makes Snapdragon Stadium the permanent home to an MLS franchise.
In addition to executing development plans, Grice comes to Vanderbilt with extensive experience in planning long-term growth. At San Diego State, he helped negotiate a 10-year multimedia rights agreement to increase brand exposure and sponsorship revenue opportunities, directed the department’s facility master planning process and helped develop a strategic plan to guide the department through the next decade and beyond.
The sport supervisor for San Diego State men’s and women’s golf and baseball, he also had oversight for football, men’s and women’s basketball postseason travel. Grice served as the primary team administrator for the Aztec men’s basketball program during NCAA Championships, including oversight of logistics for SDSU’s run to the NCAA Final Four in 2023.
Before San Diego State, Grice was associate director of athletics for facilities, operations and events at Georgia Tech. While in Atlanta, he assisted in the development of the athletic department’s strategic plan while also overseeing day-to-day responsibility for the maintenance and operation budget. He managed or directed a range of construction and capital projects, from facility upgrades to programming for the Student-Athlete Leadership Development Center.
He worked closely with the community at Georgia Tech, developing partnerships with most of the city’s professional sports teams, and helped procure major events. Grice’s team successfully hosted and operated the 2016 NCAA Men’s and Women’s Swimming and Diving Championships and 2018 NCAA Men’s Basketball South Regional Finals.
Grice also served as senior associate director of athletics for facilities and event management at North Texas, where he was the project manager for several major construction and capital projects, and assistant director of athletics for facilities and game operations at Texas State, where he managed multiple major capital projects and was a primary committee member for a comprehensive campaign to elevate the school’s athletics to the Football Bowl Subdivision.
Grice graduated from Southern Mississippi in 2002 with a degree in sports administration and earned his master’s in sports administration from Southern Mississippi in 2003. He and his wife, Shay, have one daughter, Aubrey (12), and one son, Preston (9).