With longtime Ladd-Peebles Sports and Entertainment Complex management, the Mishkin Group, set to leave at the end of the month, the stadium’s board has hired a temporary replacement.
C.J. Drinkard, a Mobile native with ties to a post-graduate football team set to play its home games in the stadium, was chosen by the board to take over management of Ladd for the next six months, while a request for qualifications is prepared and sent out. At least one other local candidate was interviewed for the position.
“He’s young; he’s enthusiastic,” board President Ann Davis said. “He’s a visionary and he loves Ladd.”
A committee selected by the board made the decision to hire Drinkard, Davis said. She confirmed she was not a member of the committee. The board will pay Drinkard $35,000 for his six months of work, while it searches for a full-time replacement, she said.
“We had no time to do a proper RFP [request for proposal],” Davis said. “We needed to have someone. We are planning to do it properly.”
Davis said Drinkard will be considered for the full-time position.
Drinkard, who played football at both LeFlore and Faith Academy before moving on to Tuskegee, spent one season in the Canadian Football League before moving into coaching and front office work. He works as a volunteer coach for the Phenix City Buccaneers, which will be moving to Mobile in August.
The Buccaneers are part of a conference of teams made for post-graduate high schoolers who want to take a “gap year” allowed by the NCAA to improve their recruitment stock, Drinkard said.
Last year, 87 percent of the Buccaneers’ roster received a scholarship offer from an NCAA Division 1 school, Drinkard said.
The Buccaneers will play a 10-game season starting in August. Their first home game is against IMG Academy’s post-graduate team, he said. The team has a lease agreement with the stadium, Drinkard said, but he didn’t have the rent figures in front of him.
Drinkard is connected to the team, but is not the owner. He said he will be a voluntary coach this season while also managing the stadium.
Despite not owning the Buccaneers, Drinkard said he has experience managing and owning football teams. He also said he has worked as an event promoter and is well-suited to take over Ladd.
Board members received letters of recommendation from vendors who have previously worked with Drinkard, Davis said. His involvement in events helped raise their revenue by 30 percent, she said.
Drinkard said he already has ideas for events at Ladd to help increase its use.
“We’re putting together some family-friendly events,” he said. “One of the main things I want to do in July is host a back-to-school event and partner with local businesses.”
Drinkard said while Jackson State is on schedule to play a Classic game at the stadium next season, he wants to bring at least one more “big game” to Mobile.
This page is available to our subscribers. Join us right now to get the latest local news from local reporters for local readers.
The best deal is found by clicking here. Click here right now to find out more. Check it out.
Already a member of the Lagniappe family? Sign in by clicking here