In the afterglow of Michael Phelps’ crowning 22 career Olympic medals, Team Phelps is enjoying the limelight.
Bob Bowman’s on a sabbatical from his coaching duties at North Baltimore Aquatic Club (NBAC), joining the London 2012 Performance Debrief panel as a high-powered political player for uber sports firm, TSE Consulting.
And Phelps’ Olympic manager, Peter Carlisle, is basking in the success as well, having just been named featured guest and Executive-in-Residence at The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management at the Isenberg School of Management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst (UMass Amherst).
Mark McCormack, for whom the department is named, is a legend and considered the first uber sports agent after building golf pro Arnold Palmer’s career and subsequently the biggest sports marketing company in history, International Management Group (IMG).
This is a big feather in Carlisle’s cap, and well-deserved. The Managing Director of Octagon’s Olympic and Action Sports division is well-respected and liked among his peers. As a point of fact, he is one of the nicest sports agents you’ll ever meet. Well aware of his power in the Olympic niche, Carlisle has invested a lot of personal time mentoring young athletes who have retired and sought careers in the sports industry. On balance, it’s challenging to be critical of Carlisle. He did lose Ryan Lochte as a client, but, from an ecomonic/revenue point of view, Carlisle may not have needed another Olympic swimming star, and Lochte’s personality may not have fit with Carlisle’s Olympic marketing plan. (Janey Miller is also an Olympic manager at Octagon, with many clients, including swimmers Natalie Coughlin, Nathan Adrian and Ricky Berens.)
Carlisle has managed countless Olympic stars aside from Phelps (Apolo Anton Ohno, Kelly Clark and Ross Powers, to name a few) and his go-to corporate partners are A-list in the market: Under Armour, SUBWAY, Speedo, VISA, Omega, AT&T, P&G, Nokia, General Mills, Nike, HP, Disney, Nestle, Hilton, Coca-Cola, etc., etc.
Students, VIPs and other attendees will be in good hands at The Mark H. McCormack Department of Sport Management. Carlisle is the consummate sports insider, with knowledge he does share, unlike many power-brokers. More than anything else, Carlisle can and surely will share the anecdotal stories that make working in the Olympic market so much fun. Case in point: Carlisle recounts his time at the 2008 Olympic Games in Beijing as Debbie Phelps’ security guard against the onslaught of media. “Mel,” he told me, “sometimes the job isn’t about negotiating contracts for high-profile athletes. Sometimes it’s shielding Debbie, ducking and running to the car, over and over again. That’s what I did most of the time back in 2008.”
Not a lot of people know it, but you can follow Peter Carlisle on Twitter here. Peter keeps it low-key.