Leon Costello, who has a comprehensive background in athletic marketing and administration, has been named senior associate athletic director for external affairs at South Dakota State University, and will begin his duties later this week.
"I am extremely excited for the opportunity to join the Jackrabbit family and Brookings community," Costello said. "I look forward to working with the SDSU student-athletes, coaches and administration and contributing to a successful athletic department."
Costello worked in a variety of roles for the University of Northern Iowa Athletic Department the past eight years, most recently serving as the associate athletic director for external relations since July 2008. In that position, Costello oversaw the marketing efforts for the Panther athletic program, directed the Panther Scholarship Club and supervised the men's and women's golf programs. During his tenure, Costello assisted in negotiating a 10-year agreement with Learfield Sports to provide additional marketing resources.
"Leon Costello brings a wealth of knowledge and experience in generating revenue through corporate sponsorships, media sales, ticket packages and marketing," SDSU Athletic Director Justin Sell said in announcing the addition of Costello to the Jackrabbit athletic staff. "He understands the bright future of SDSU and Jackrabbit Athletics, and he wants to be here. He is already familiar with SDSU, Brookings and the State of South Dakota and will be able to hit the ground running."
From 2005-08 Costello served as the assistant athletic director for marketing and promotions, where he assisted with the fundraising efforts of the McLeod Center capital project and coordinated all aspects for the athletic sales and marketing plan, including managing the Northern Iowa Sports Radio Network. Under his direction, UNI also secured two separate cable television agreements and saw a 700 percent increase in membership of the official student athletic group.
A native of Fairbank, Iowa, Costello is a 1998 graduate of Loras College, where he earned a bachelor's degree in physical education and sport science, and was a member of the Duhawk men's basketball team. After working in sales in the private sector for two years, he enrolled in graduate school at Western Illinois University. While completing his master's degree in sport management in 2002, Costello served an internship in marketing and game operations with the Boston Celtics. In the fall of 2002, Costello was hired as athletic marketing and promotions assistant at the University of Northern Iowa in 2002 and was promoted to director of athletic marketing and promotions in January 2003.
"The candidate pool for this position was tremendous and I believe that is a credit to South Dakota State University and the direction we are moving," said Mike Burgers, associate athletic director for development at SDSU and chair of the search committee. "Leon's passion for student-athletes and his strong background in external relations make him a great fit within our athletic department. We are fortunate to add a person of Leon's caliber to our staff."