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“We educate and inspire through athletics” – that¬† mission statement for UNC-Chapel Hill’s department of athletics is a result of a recently completed strategic planning process developed by Director of Athletics Bubba Cunningham.¬† Cunningham is in his second year as director.

“Our number one priority is for athletics to be part of the educational experience of all students at the University, those who compete in our 28 varsity sports as well as those who do not,” says Cunningham. “Athletics provides academic and competitive opportunities for more than 700 students, and is part of a unifying spirit for thousands of other students, faculty, staff and alumni.

“Through competition and achievement, our programs can be a source of inspiration for the student body, the community, our alumni, donors and future generations of Tar Heels.”

Early in his tenure as director of athletics, Cunningham appointed a group of executive staff members that began developing a strategic plan that will guide the athletic department’s decision-making over the next four years.

Dr. Paul Friga, associate professor of strategy and entrepreneurship at Carolina’s Kenan-Flagler School of Business, led UNC’s strategic planning process. Friga teaches management consulting and strategy, researches strategic decision-making and consults on management and strategy for numerous companies across the country. He is the director of S.T.A.R. (Student Teams Achieving Results), domestic business practices and consulting concentrations.

“Strategy is critical to an organization’s success,” says Friga. “Strategic planning sets the stage for moving an organization forward to a new, positive direction. A strategy speaks to the employees, and also speaks to the external constituents about whom we are and where we’re going. The goal is to have the decision-making of everyone in the organization to be particularly aligned with the mission, values, vision and priorities of that organization. That’s when you know strategy is effective.”

The planning team identified four core values for Carolina Athletics- Responsibility, Innovation, Service and Excellence.

“Our values are at the heart of what we do every day, whether you are a coach, a student-athlete or an administrator who supports our programs,” says Cunningham. “Number one, we must do what is right. If we make good choices and smart decisions based on what is the right thing to do, then we will be successful on and off the field. We must be creative and encourage people to find a better way, whether that is devising a better strategy to win an event, seeking new financial solutions to budget for 28 sports or identifying the students who have the best chance to succeed academically and athletically at an outstanding university.”

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Published January 10, 2013.