About Mark McCullers
Mark McCullers, the President of the Columbus Crew, has provided more than 15 years of dedicated service to the Black & Gold, a tenure that began in December 1998. McCullers came to Columbus to oversee the development of Crew Stadium, the first major-league stadium built specifically for soccer in the U.S. He was promoted to Executive Vice President of the club in Jan. 2001 and then became the Crew’s third General Manager in club history, a position he served as for nine seasons beginning on an interim basis on July 9, 2004 before earning the position outright on January 19, 2005. After the hiring of Head Coach and Sporting Director Gregg Berhalter on November 6, 2013, McCullers relinquished his title of General Manager in a related restructuring move to focus primarily on the club’s business operations as club President and to provide Berhalter the opportunity to implement his vision for the Crew’s soccer operations.
McCullers remains the winningest GM in club history, and in his time with the club has steered the organization to substantial growth and progress on and off the field.
The club has reached the pinnacle on the competition side under his direction, winning three MLS Supporters’ Shield titles in the last seven seasons and storming to its first MLS Cup championship in 2008. The championship capped a three-year rebuilding plan that was sparked by the signing of Argentine superstar Guillermo Barros Schelotto in 2007. That move brought the club increased international attention and raised its profile on the global soccer stage, as Schelotto went on to win 2008 League and MLS Cup MVP honors.
The Black & Gold became just the second club in league history to win back-to-back Supporters’ Shields, in 2008 and 2009, and it advanced to the CONCACAF Champions League championship round in consecutive seasons, as well.
McCullers also initiated the launch of the organization’s youth development program, which includes the Crew Soccer Academy, Crew Juniors and Crew Juniors affiliates, and has grown to approximately 3,000 players in less than five years. It was ranked No. 8 in the country by Soccer America in 2010, on the strength of its incredible run to both the Under-20 and U-19 national championships that summer. The U-20s repeated as USL Super-20 champs in 2011. In fulfilling Major League Soccer’s youth development mandate, the Crew has established a youth player experience unparalleled in its region, punctuated by the elite Crew Soccer Academy, the professional club’s no-fee player development arm that implements a curriculum developed by the Crew technical staff.
Off the field, McCullers’ vision has led the organization’s multiple enterprises to significant revenue growth over the past six years. In that time, the Crew has significantly increased gross ticket revenues, while ranking among the top five MLS clubs in paid ticket growth, season ticket renewal rates, partial plan sales and individual game sales. Crew Stadium revenue has increased by more than 60 percent and corporate sponsorship revenue has grown tremendously, as well, buoyed by the first two jersey sponsorships in club history, including Barbasol’s new five-year deal.
In 2011 McCullers launched a community pride campaign under the “Dare to be Massive” rallying cry, a key component of which is “Goal 10K,” which emphasizes the importance of returning the club’s season-ticket base to 10,000.
Throughout his 21-year career, McCullers has maintained a taste for high-impact projects, and facility improvements remain a priority moving forward. Under his leadership, capital investment in the stadium and OEC campus has exceeded $10 million. One such project is the permanent amphitheater-style stage completed in 2008 that has spurred significant growth in the organization’s concert business, fueled by the Rock on the Range festival that celebrates its fifth anniversary this year. Rock on the Range has enjoyed 125 percent net revenue growth over its first four years.
Another major accomplishment on that front was the completion of a project in 2010 that resulted in the addition of more than 3,000 new paved parking spaces, following a diligent and lengthy quest to secure state funding for parking lot upgrades. Other capital projects have included the renovations of stadium suites, concession stands and the Upper 90 Club.
In addition to his duties as President, McCullers oversees the efforts of the club’s charitable arm, the Crew Soccer Foundation, as President of its Board of Directors. Among other accomplishments, he spearheaded the development of CSF’s innovative Referee Scholarship and GOALS for KIDS programs, which helped the club and foundation earn Business First Corporate Caring Awards for Education in 2008 and 2011.
He also serves on the Boards of the Buckeye Ranch Foundation, Nationwide Children’s Hospital Foundation, Recreation Unlimited Foundation and Experience Columbus, as well as the Greater Columbus Sports Commission Advisory Board.
As General Manager of Crew Stadium, opened on May 15, 1999, McCullers was a key contributor in the historic venue’s development and construction and he has been instrumental in luring a succession of marquee events to the facility. Among them are six World Cup Qualifiers, including the coveted USA-Mexico final-round qualifier in each of the last three cycles (2001, 2005 and 2009), the 2003 FIFA Women’s World Cup, the 2000 and 2005 MLS All-Star Games, MLS Cup 2001 and the 2001 and 2003 NCAA Men’s College Cups.
Prior to joining the Crew, McCullers served nine years at the D.C. Sports and Entertainment Commission, first as Event Manager for RFK Stadium and the D.C. Armory and then as Assistant Stadium Manager at RFK. During his career at RFK, he helped produce some of the most significant soccer events held in the U.S., including the 1994 World Cup, 1996 Olympic Soccer and MLS Cup 1997.
Born August 19, 1962, McCullers earned a BS in Computer Science from the University of Kentucky and a MS in Sports Administration from St. Thomas University (Fla.). He and his wife, Candy, have three children, Corey, Camryn and Carson.