By Annie Rhoades
Most Rebel fans are familiar with all things SEC, particularly when the fall football season rolls around, but perhaps none more familiar than Charlie Hussey (BBA 99), associate commissioner for SEC Network relations.
An Oxford native, Hussey was a Rebel sports enthusiast at an early age.
“I’ve always loved sports,” said Hussey. “I probably had aspirations to work in sports or athletics, but I didn’t necessarily know that it would be the SEC.”
The son of an Ole Miss chemistry department chair and Oxford High School librarian, Hussey was embedded in all things Ole Miss for as long as he can remember.
“My parents took me to Ole Miss games at an early age,” said Hussey. “I remember the visiting team locker room at Vaught-Hemingway Stadium used to be on the opposite side of where it is now and you had to walk up these steps. I remember Herschel Walker, Bo Jackson and all these great players walking down those steps.”
Hussey graduated from Oxford High School in 1995 and enrolled in the Ole Miss Business School.
“I knew going to Ole Miss that I was very interested in marketing and business,” said Hussey. “I thought that no matter what career path I chose, having a business background would be beneficial.”
The summer after his junior year at Ole Miss, Hussey’s lifelong interest in sports urged him to pursue an internship in athletics.
With the help of Dr. Robert Khayat (BAEd 61, JD 66), chancellor emeritus, Dr. Max Williams (BA 61, MA 64) and David Wells (BAEd 67, MSS 68), former associate athletic director, Hussey was able to make his dream a reality.
“They were all very helpful to me as I got going in athletics,” said Hussey. “I visited with Chancellor Khayat and we talked about the Southeastern Conference office. He made a call to then commissioner, Roy Kramer, and it all worked out.”
After spending the summer interning at the SEC ticket office, Hussey knew he had found his niche. A member of Sigma Nu Fraternity, he returned to Ole Miss in the fall to finish up his senior year and promptly began applying for positions with the SEC.
“After graduating I was working at University Sporting Goods trying to think about the next step,” said Hussey. “I thought about law school for a little bit, then I got a call from the SEC office. An assistant commissioner was going on maternity leave and they asked if I could work for a few months while she was out.”
The rest is history. After that initial job, Hussey went on to establish a career with the SEC starting out in the ticket office in 2000, eventually working his way up the ranks to his current position.
Hussey couldn’t be more thrilled with his new appointment and the future of the SEC Network, slated to launch on Aug. 21, 2014. The national network will serve all SEC fans within the conference footprint, which includes 11 states, as well as fans across the country.
“We worked with ESPN and decided that we had enough content and interest to create a network,” said Hussey. “The network will result in more SEC programming, content and coverage for all the schools, including Ole Miss, than ever before. We’ll have over 1,000 events shown annually between television and digital.”
While working in the sports industry is a dream come true, Hussey finds his day-to-day interactions most rewarding.
“The best part of my job is all of the different people I get to interact with and talk sports with, whether its our schools, television partners or our sponsors,” said Hussey. “I just enjoy talking sports and being involved with those folks.”
Hussey will be busy traveling across the country over the next several months preparing for the launch of the network, however he still plans to get back to Oxford to spend time with family and friends and cheer on the Rebels when they face LSU in October.
“I wish I was getting ready to enter Ole Miss with the incoming freshman,” said Hussey. “It was a great place.”