Kevin Warren was named Chief Operating Officer of the Minnesota Vikings on February 12, 2015. Warren’s extensive experience in all business facets of the organization create the perfect foundation for him to lead the business operations of the organization. Warren will continue to create strategic efforts for all departments and, along with Mark Wilf and Zygi Wilf, set the strategic vision for the business components of the franchise. Warren enters his 18th NFL season and 12th with the Vikings in 2016.
Since being promoted to COO, Warren has continued to play a critical role in all business, legal and operational facets related to U.S. Bank Stadium. Warren has been involved in every aspect of the design, construction, business, legal and operational components of the new stadium. Warren has also played a key role in the design, development and planning of the new Minnesota Vikings headquarters in Eagan.
Under Warren’s vision and leadership, the Vikings restructured the organization, hiring or promoting 10 employees to Vice President, 3 of which are women, specifically focusing on creating departmental synergies and collaboration, improving communication, developing leadership initiatives, implementing a platform focusing on women’s initiatives and building a world-class franchise focused on the tenants of hard work, ethics, community service and a “best-in-class” mentality.
Warren is the highest-ranking African-American executive working on the business side for a team in the NFL and is the first African-American COO in NFL history. In September of 2013, Warren’s reputation and NFL experience were recognized when he was named a member of the NFL Committee on Workplace Diversity, which is committed to enhancing and promoting diversity at every level of the NFL.
Prior to joining the Vikings, Warren worked with the international law firm of Greenberg Traurig from 2003-05. He spent 2001-03 with the Detroit Lions as Senior Vice President of Business Operations & General Counsel.
Before joining the NFC North, Warren worked from 1997-2001 with the St. Louis Rams and was with the organization when they won Super Bowl XXXIV. During his tenure with St. Louis, Warren served as Vice President of Football Administration in 2001 after working as Vice President of Player Programs & Football Legal Counsel from 1997-2000.
Warren’s first exposure to sports law came after he graduated from Notre Dame Law school. He worked at a law firm that specialized in representing universities charged with NCAA violations. Warren also later worked as a sports and entertainment attorney/agent, representing various professional athletes, entertainers and broadcasters as the founder of Kevin Warren and Associates.
As a freshman on the University of Pennsylvania basketball team, Warren was a member of the Quakers’ Ivy League championship team in 1982. A native of Tempe, AZ, Warren subsequently enrolled at Grand Canyon University in Phoenix, where he earned his undergraduate degree. While at Grand Canyon, he excelled both in the classroom and on the basketball court. Warren scored 1,118 points during his career at Grand Canyon and earned GTE/CoSida Academic All-America honors as a senior along with NAIA Academic All-America honors and NAIA District 7 Basketball Team honors as both a junior and senior. In March 2012, Warren was inducted into the Grand Canyon University Athletics Hall of Fame, the 16th individual inducted and only the 5th basketball player to earn the prestigious honor in the University’s history.
Warren earned his bachelor’s in business administration from Grand Canyon University in 1986, his MBA from Arizona State University in 1988, and his Juris Doctorate degree from the University of Notre Dame School of Law in 1990. Warren is a licensed attorney with the State Bar of Kansas, Michigan, Minnesota (House Counsel-Rule 10), and the District of Columbia.
Several members of Warren’s family have helped fuel his life-long passion for sports, including his father, the late Dr. Morrison Warren, Sr., who played professional football for the Brooklyn Dodgers in 1948 during the era of the All-American Football Conference, before the league was merged with the NFL. The senior Warren would go on to be the first African-American President of a major college bowl game when he was named President of the 1982 Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors and was recently named one of Arizona State University’s 50 Greatest Football Players. Warren’s oldest brother, Morrison, Jr., was one of the first African-American scholarship athletes at Stanford, playing football for the Cardinal in the early 1960s, before a severe knee injury cut short his promising athletic career.
Philanthropy is an integral part of Warren’s life and he and his wife Greta are active members of the Minneapolis-St. Paul community. In December 2014, Kevin and Greta created Carolyn’s Comforts in conjunction with the University of Minnesota Masonic Children’s Hospital and are donating $1 million to honor the legacy of his sister Carolyn Elaine Warren-Knox who passed away of brain cancer in October of 2014. Since the inception of Carolyn’s Comforts, nearly 100 financial grants have been made to families in need.
In 2012, the Warren family “adopted” Lucy Craft Laney Community School in Minneapolis, which is predominantly African-American and has 98% of its student population coming from underserved communities. Over the past four years, the family has donated nearly 3,000 backpacks filled with school supplies for the entire school year to every student. In addition to the backpacks and school supplies, the family has also purchased basketball uniforms for both the boys and girls basketball teams, school uniforms for some individual students and donate their time mentoring students at Lucy Laney.
Warren places a priority on civic leadership and engagement, serving on several boards throughout the Twin Cities and has been recognized for his leadership in the business and charitable community. Twin Cities Business Journal has honored Warren with the Corporate Counsel Award for Private Company-Large in 2015 and in 2006 as a Minority Business Leader. Warren has been recognized four times with the Vikings by the Fritz Pollard Alliance with their Salute to Excellence Award. His professional associations include serving on the Super Bowl LII Host Committee and the Board of Directors of Grand Canyon Education, Inc. (NASDAQ: LOPE). He is a member of the Notre Dame Law School Advisory Council. He also serves Of Counsel at the international law firm of Norton Rose Fulbright. In March 2016, Warren was asked by President Eric Kaler to serve as a member of the selection committee to hire the next Athletic Director at the University of Minnesota. His civic roles include being on the General Board of the YMCA of the Twin Cities, the Page Education Foundation and the University of Minnesota’s Medical Foundation Board of Directors along with the UofM’s Medicine and Health Board of Overseers. Warren is a Life Member of the Fiesta Bowl Board of Directors.
Warren and his wife, Greta, who holds a bachelor’s degree from Kansas State University, have a daughter, Peri, a student-athlete at Occidental College, and a son, Powers, a student-athlete at Minnetonka High School. The Warren family resides in Chanhassen, MN.