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Keli Zinn

Keli Zinn
Executive Deputy AD / COO
(225) 578-8001
Petersburg, W.Va.
Alma Mater
West Virginia (2002)

Keli Zinn, the first woman to lead the athletics department of West Virginia University, was hired in July 2022 as Executive Deputy Director of Athletics and Chief Operating Officer for LSU Athletics.

Under Zinn’s leadership, athletics has witnessed unprecedented success. LSU enjoyed some of the most celebrated years in recent history during Zinn’s first two years in Baton Rouge. Capturing three national championships in baseball, gymnastics and women’s basketball, two SEC championships in gymnastics and women’s track, with 20 of 21 varsity sports reaching postseason competition, the Tigers placed in the Director’s Cup Top 10 for the first time since 2008-09.

Her passion for sports combined with a keen business acumen has not only elevated the profile of LSU’s athletic programs, but also secured a significant boost in revenue. Zinn renegotiated LSU’s multimedia rights partnership, securing a 21% increase in value, while the 2022-23 and 2023-24 seasons also saw a remarkable increase in ticket sales, merchandise revenue and donor support.

Zinn’s dynamic approach and ability to foster collaborative relationships played a crucial role in the growth of NILSU. Through innovation, fan engagement, forging partnerships with local businesses, and reimagining sponsorship opportunities, LSU has firmly established itself as a leader in the NIL industry. Surrounded by some of the world’s most sought-after college athletes, Zinn secured a lucrative and unique access and rights agreement to produce The Money Game, an NIL-focused documentary series, following Tiger student-athletes during the 2023-24 season. The series is scheduled to premiere on Amazon Prime Video in Fall 2024.

Zinn arrived in Baton Rouge with nearly two decades of experience in Power Five athletics. She served as Deputy Athletics Director at West Virginia from 2016-2022, providing strategic direction and operations management to the Mountaineers’ 18 intercollegiate programs and 250 coaches and staff.

In 2015, WVU president E. Gordon Gee appointed her as interim athletics director, making her the first woman to helm the university’s department of athletics.

A graduate of West Virginia, Zinn returned to Morgantown in 2010 as Associate Athletics Director for Compliance and Governance, and in 2014, she was elevated to Executive Senior Associate Athletics Director.

Previously, she served as Assistant Athletics Director at the University of Maryland (2005-2010) and as a compliance assistant with the Big East (2003-2004).

In November 2021, Zinn was selected as West Virginia Executive Magazine’s cover recipient of the 2022 Young Guns Class, representing a generation of leaders who have accomplished great things through their careers in the business world and in their communities.

A 2020 inductee into the WVU College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences Hall of Fame, Zinn has twice received national recognition from the Sports Business Journal, being name to their Forty Under 40 honors in 2019, and selected as one of SBJ’s Game Changers in 2016. She graduated from WVU with a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in sport management.

Zinn and her husband, Nathaniel, married in 2017.