South Florida hires CFP executive Michael Kelly as new athletic director

College Football Playoff executive Michael Kelly is the University of South Florida's new athletic director, the school announced Tuesday.

Kelly, who served as chief operating officer for the CFP since 2012, has extensive ties to the area. He previously served as associate athletic director for external affairs at USF under former AD Lee Roy Selmon from 2001 to '02 and helped the football program transition to the FBS level.

Kelly spearheaded the Super Bowl host committee for Tampa Bay (Super Bowl XXXV) and he was executive director for the 1999 men's basketball Final Four organizing committee, held at Tropicana Field in St. Petersburg. When he was with the CFP, the national championship game went to Tampa Bay in January 2017, when Clemson beat Alabama.

Kelly also previously worked as senior associate commissioner in the ACC.

"Michael Kelly is a proven leader with a wealth of experience across the national collegiate athletic landscape, as well as within Tampa Bay," USF president Judy Genshaft said in a statement. "He has a track record of promoting competitive excellence, building strong community relationships, developing marketing campaigns, reaching fundraising goals and supporting academic achievement. His future-focused vision and high moral character will ensure that our already strong USF Athletics program reaches new heights. I look forward to all that USF and the Tampa Bay community will achieve under Michael's leadership."

During a meeting of the USF search committee on Monday afternoon, committee chairman Bill Sutton said the university wanted a proven leader with local ties, who could also perhaps position USF well should another round of expansion begin in the future.

"No one knows exactly how it's going to play out, but we need somebody who's tuned into that and can get us in the conversation," Sutton said, according to The Tampa Bay Times.

Kelly replaces Mark Harlan, who left to become athletic director at Utah last month.