Vikings Chief Operating Officer Kevin Warren has been honored along with five other leaders in the sports industry by Sports Business Journal / Daily.
The publication announced recently its class of Champions: Pioneers & Innovators in Sports Business for 2019. The following was written of Warren, who is the youngest individual ever to be honored as an SBJ/SBD Champion:
The highest-ranking African-American executive in the NFL, Warren just completed his 14th season with the Vikings and 20th overall in the league. Now the team's COO, he's led an impressive turnaround of the Vikings while emerging as one of sport's most powerful voices on diversity and inclusion. Warren began his career as an attorney under Mike Slive and later opened his own firm before being hired by the Rams in '97. He had a stint with the Lions before helping the Wilffamily [ownership group] close the deal for the Vikings in '05. Along the way, Warren has been a mentor to countless young people throughout the industry.
The write-up noted that Warren's "willingness to open his door has inspired dozens throughout the industry."
Below are those who will be joining Warren in the Champions Class of 2019:
Buffy Filippell | Filippell created TeamWork Consulting, an executive search firm specifically geared towards sports and live events.
Bob Kain | Known as "arguably the biggest agent in tennis," Kain has represented several big names in the sport, including Andre Agassi and Pete Sampras.
Earl Santee | Nicknamed "The Godfather" of the modern ballpark, Santee has helped design nearly 20 baseball facilities, including Target Field in Minneapolis.
Ron Semiao | While working with ESPN in 1995, Semiao saw an opportunity that led to the creation of the X Games, which has been hosted at U.S. Bank Stadium for the past two summers and will return in 2019.
Debbie Yow | Considered a female executive pioneer, Yow was named the athletic director at Saint Louis in 1990 and in 1994 became the first female AD in the ACC when she was hired by Maryland.
According to the announcement, Warren and the other Champions will be profiled in upcoming issues of Sports Business Journal as well as honored in a ceremony at the World Congress of Sports in April.