Coutesy Atlanta Dream
ATLANTA – Former Columbia University men's basketball standout Alton Byrd '79CC was named chief revenue officer of the WNBA's Atlanta Dream on Monday. Byrd was most recently chief executive officer of Sacramento sports marketing firm Clear Focus Marketing.
“Alton brings passion and enthusiasm to everything he does, and his background in professional sports – as an athlete and executive – makes him the perfect fit for the Atlanta Dream,” said Ashley Preisinger, CEO of the Dream. “The tremendous support of the business community and the hard work of our staff have positioned our franchise for growth, and Alton will play a key role in keeping our business on an upward course.”
Byrd’s love of the game of basketball is well-known. A star guard and three-time captain of Columbia University’s basketball squad in the late 1970s, Byrd was named the nation’s best college player under six feet (he’s 5’9”) in 1979. He still holds Columbia’s record for career assists with 526 and is a member of the university’s athletic hall of fame.
After an injury cut short his prospects in the NBA – he was a 10th round pick of the Boston Celtics in 1979 – Byrd took a job with IMS International, a market research firm in London, and also began playing for Crystal Palace basketball club. He spent 17 years playing in various Europa Cup competitions for clubs including Murray International, Manchester United and Kingston. Alton is the only player in British basketball history to earn honors as national player of the year and playoff MVP four times
Byrd’s off-court career has been equally impressive. He worked as GM for NFL Europe’s London Monarchs while in England, and also worked as vice president of strategic alliances with the Sacramento Kings organization stateside. For the past decade, he has focused on sports marketing, business coaching and consulting. He serves on the boards of numerous non-profits devoted to community development.
“The Atlanta Dream continue to be in the forefront of demonstrating how a WNBA franchise can grow in partnership with the community, and I look forward to continuing to strengthen those relationships that are helping the Dream achieve success,” said Byrd. “This is an outstanding opportunity and I am thrilled to be part of a first-class organization.”
The Atlanta Dream is currently in second place in Women’s National Basketball Association (WNBA) Eastern Conference. The two-time Conference Champion team is in its sixth season in the league. The Dream recently qualified for the 2013 playoffs making this the fifth consecutive season the team has earned a WNBA playoff berth.