NIL comes to UT baseball

NIL has officially come to Tennessee baseball.

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - NIL has officially come to Tennessee baseball. Community leaders, including some current basevols themselves, have come together with Blueprint Sports to launch Friends of Basevols, the first Name, Image and Likeness collective supporting UT baseball athletes.

UT alum Craig Jenkins is leading the collective along with help from basevols Evan Russell, Kirby Connell and Jordan Beck. “These young men embody character and determination; they deserve to have our fan base solidly behind them in whatever capacity, large or small,” Jenkins said.

Vols right fielder Jordan Beck said he’s excited for future opportunities. “To see our baseball fans come together like this to provide opportunities for me and my teammates is special. We love playing in front of our fans and being able to give back whenever we can. Our fans are like family, which makes this gratifying,” Beck said.

“This means the world to my family and me that Friends of Basevols has been created. My parents have sacrificed every day of my life to help me achieve my goals, and I look forward to learning about opportunities in the community with our fans to earn extra money to assist my family,” said pitcher Kirby Connell. Supporters can head over to the Friends of Basevols website to arrange everything from youth sport coaching sessions to merchandise.

Nate Brown

General Manager

Nate Brown is the General Manager of Zags Collective, leading the charge to help amplify the opportunities for the Gonzaga student-athletes through NIL partnerships with local charities, fans and businesses. With over a decade of experience in the professional sports industry and as a former business owner in Spokane, Nate is a seasoned professional who knows what it takes to succeed. Most recently, he served as the National Sales Director for a prominent west-coast real estate company, where he was responsible for driving growth and retention. With a deep understanding of sales and marketing, Nate brings a wealth of knowledge to the table and is always seeking innovative ways to drive revenue and create partnerships.With a passion for ensuring the success of student-athletes both on and off the field, Nate is dedicated to providing the necessary resources to keep Gonzaga competitive on the national stage. He understands the importance of building and maintaining strong relationships with the community and local businesses, and works to maximize opportunities for Gonzaga’s student-athletes. As the son of two Gonzaga alumni, including a father who was a baseball pitcher and also a coach for the school, Nate has a great connection to the university and a passion for ensuring its continued success. Outside of work, Nate enjoys spending time with family, including his wife Jessica and their 16-year-old daughter Brooklynn and 12-year-old son Marcus. When not working or spending time with family, you can find Nate at any one of the amazing golf courses in Spokane, honing his swing!

Mike Smith

General Manager

Mike Smith joined Micconope 1851 in March 2023 and is excited to be the General Manager and looks forward to working with Blueprint Sports increase NIL revenue generation for Florida State University student-athletes. Smith comes to Micconope 1851 from Catawba College where he held the title as the Senior Director of Athletics, Development. Prior to working in Athletics at Catawba College, Mike served as the Associate Athletics Director for External Relations at Charleston Southern University. Smith has an impressive background in the collegiate athletics industry, having held senior level development and corporate sponsorship sales roles at The University of Southern Mississippi, Limestone University, the Sun Belt Conference, Florida Atlantic University, and with multimedia rights-holders Tele South Communications at the University of Mississippi, Learfield Sports at UNC Chapel Hill, and with International Sports Properties at Georgia Tech. Smith is a graduate of North Carolina State University in Raleigh, North Carolina, and holds a master’s degree in Business Management from The University of Tennessee, Knoxville. In his new role here at Micconppe 1851, Smith will be responsible for raising major gifts for NIL deals as well as securing NIL corporate sponsorships for Florida State University student-athletes. Mike looks forward to helping ensure the FSU student-athletes have the resources and leadership opportunities to remain competitive nationally and positioned for success well beyond graduation. Mike is married to Katy Smith; the couple looks forward to relocating to Tallahassee, Florida, and becoming a part of the Micconope 1851 and Seminole family!

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