Foley Sports Tourism (FST) is continuing to gather steam and build a reputation as a world-class sports destination. Rather than being branded as a single complex, the umbrella of sports tourism now encompasses all sports events held around the city including those at Graham Creek Nature Preserve and the Foley Sports Complex. As the events hosted here in Foley continue to grow, the department has brought a number of new people to complement its current staff.
Long-time city employee David Thompson has been named the Director of Recreation and Sports Tourism. Thompson is familiar with the Foley area thanks to his time as the head of recreation for the city, but also has a strong background in sports tourism and event operations. He spent the last eight years working on the national baseball and softball tournaments hosted by the Foley Sports Complex.
He was named the interim head of the department after his predecessor, Don Staley, left for a position with the Tuscaloosa Tourism and Sports Commission in July of 2017. In October of 2017, Thompson was formally installed as the head of the Sports Tourism department. During his tenure, he has already made an impact drafting the department’s mission statement and booking events that fall in line with that long-term plan.
“I’ve been lucky enough to be on the front lines as Don Staley helped the City of Foley build this department,” Thompson said. “Knowing where it has come from puts me in a unique position to guide it into the future. We’ve developed a strong base. Now it’s time to take Foley to the next level and really grow its success.”
Another man on board to grow Foley is new Deputy Director of Sports Tourism Don Dukemineer. He is joining the team after more than ten years as the Convention Sales Manager with a focus on sports and education for the Huntsville/Madison County Convention and Visitors Bureau. Also the current chairman of Sports Alabama, Dukemineer will utilize his strong understanding of the industry to captain the sales and marketing arms of Foley Sports Tourism to draw economically impactful events.
The event operations side of the department will also be changing. Former Executive Assistant Angie Johnston will move back into her role as Event Operations Manager. Hired to assist her is the new Event Operations Coordinator, Luke Persall. Persall comes to Foley from the University of Missouri where he was the RecSports Coordinator. His six years in recreational sports have given Persall an understanding of how events run and how that will be integral in strengthening relationships with tournament directors and keeping them coming back to the city.
Rounding out the new hires is Angela Foley who has come on to assist in keeping the events at the Foley Event Center running smoothly and the facility in tip-top shape. She will be working under Jeff Ryan who has been maintaining the Event Center since he transitioned over from a grounds position in October.
Other departmental changes include former Event Operations Manager Christy Raley moving into a new role as Sports and Sponsorship Sales Manager. Rhett Brown has been promoted to Field Superintendent, responsible for the care of the Foley Sports Tourism fields.
The new direction and staff are all working toward fulfilling the department’s mission of bringing economically impactful sporting events to Foley that will draw visitors back for years to come. To learn more about our staff, check out our Meet Our Team Page.