SAN DIEGO -- The American Athletic Conference is losing one of its most respected staff members, as senior associate commissioner for football and marketing, Nick Carparelli Jr., is leaving for a job with Under Armour.
Carparelli served as the head of football for the Big East and American Athletic Conference for nearly 12 years, leading the league's football programs through two major realignment overhauls.
He'll be the senior director of college sports at Under Armour, serving as the lead liaison to the more than a dozen athletic departments whose teams wear Under Armour. He'll also oversee corporate sponsorship opportunities at Under Armour in the collegiate space. Under Armour has emerged as a major player in football in the past few years, as programs like Auburn, South Carolina and Notre Dame have switched over.
"I feel fortunate to join a team like Under Armour," Carparelli said in a phone interview. "It's one of the great modern day business success stories."
One of Carparelli's strongest assets to the American Athletic Conference was scheduling, back-loading key games to give the conference relevant late-season moments. Nothing epitomized that more than the back-to-back Thursday nights in 2006 when games featuring Louisville and West Virginia and Louisville and Rutgers did blockbuster ratings and signified a revived Big East.
Carparelli also spearheaded the creation of the Pinstripe Bowl and Miami Beach Bowl, which is slated to start next season.
"I'm proud to have been associated with the Big East Conference," he said. "I grew up a Big East fan and the Big East will go down in history as being one of the great success stories in sports. It was 30-plus years of success, despite the odds."
Carparelli's departure will leave a big void for the American, which is again trying to find its footing in football after the latest flurry of departures, including Pitt, Syracuse, Rutgers and Louisville. The league did have a successful inaugural season, highlighted by UCF's blowout victory over Baylor in the Fiesta Bowl.