William R. Knox
Director, Grand Park Sports Campus
Main event: 2021 NCAA Men’s Basketball Tournament
What I do: I oversee the management of one of the Midwest’s largest sports campuses. The 400-acre Grand Park Sports Campus boasts 31 multipurpose fields, 26 diamonds and a 377,000-sq.-ft. indoor events center.
How I got here: Before I transitioned into the position of the director of Grand Park, I was fortunate enough to be a part of the planning committee for the campus through Hamilton County Tourism, where I served as the director of business development and the creator and executive director of the Hamilton County Sports Authority. Prior to joining the Hamilton County Tourism team, I spent 10 years in Bloomington, Indiana, at the Hoosiers Sports Corporation as their executive director.
What I did to assist the sports tourism recovery during COVID: Through a partnership with local university IUPUI and their Sport Innovation Institute, we conducted a nationwide study to learn more about what procedural adaptations and safety guidelines needed to be put in place for people to feel safe returning to sport. Additionally, I worked to compile a task force comprised of influential individuals throughout the state to assist the Indiana governor’s office with the reopening of sports-related facilities in the state. A year later, we conducted a second study where we targeted the same people to try to better understand which adaptations put in place as a result of the pandemic need to remain in place and which ones people felt could cease.
Greatest career accomplishment: One of my biggest accomplishments is bringing to fruition the 10-year annual training camp deal between the Indianapolis Colts and Grand Park.
Impressive stats: We conducted a complete overhaul of the campus’ operation, resulting in a $1.5 million annual savings; grew the staff from three full-time employees to 12 full-time and 15 part-time employees; and had a net positive $680,000 in 2020 in spite of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Favorite sports movie: “Space Jam”
Favorite athlete of all-time: Walter Payton