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Keli Zinn – Executive Deputy AD/COO, Louisiana State University

2024 SOAR Symposium Attendee & Guest Speaker

Keli Zinn headshot

Keli Zinn brings a powerhouse blend of leadership, innovation, and a passion for sports to her role as Executive Deputy Director of Athletics and Chief Operating Officer at LSU Athletics. With a historic tenure as the first woman to head the athletics department at West Virginia University and a trailblazing journey marked by remarkable achievements, Zinn has become a driving force in shaping the landscape of collegiate athletics.


Since assuming her role at LSU in July 2022, Zinn has spearheaded the daily operations of the athletics department with precision and vision. Collaborating closely with university leadership, senior athletics administration, and various stakeholders, she has played an instrumental role in propelling the Tigers' growth and success to unprecedented heights. Under her guidance, LSU witnessed a monumental year, capturing two national championships in baseball and women’s basketball, and securing a remarkable presence in postseason competitions across the board.


Zinn's strategic prowess extends beyond the field, as she has masterfully negotiated partnerships and initiatives that have not only elevated the profile of LSU athletics but also significantly boosted revenue streams. Through innovative approaches to fan engagement, strategic partnerships, and pioneering ventures such as the groundbreaking NIL-focused documentary series "The Money Game" on Amazon Prime Video, Zinn has positioned LSU as a trailblazer in the rapidly evolving landscape of Name, Image, and Likeness (NIL) rights.


Before her illustrious tenure at LSU, Zinn honed her expertise over nearly two decades in Power Five athletics. Her journey began at West Virginia University, where she served in various capacities, including as Deputy Athletics Director and Interim Athletics Director, leaving an indelible mark as a transformative leader and breaking barriers as the first woman to helm WVU's athletics department.


Recognized as a trailblazer and a rising star in the industry, Zinn's achievements have earned her prestigious accolades, including being named to the Forty Under 40 honors by the Sports Business Journal and being selected as one of SBJ's Game Changers. A proud alumna of West Virginia University, Zinn holds a bachelor's and master's degree in sport management and continues to inspire future generations through her unparalleled dedication to excellence in athletics administration.


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