DALLAS — Conference USA is mourning the loss of longtime Assistant Commissioner Russell Anderson, who passed away suddenly over the weekend at the age of 50. Anderson had recently been honored by his colleagues for 25 years of service with the league.
“Russ will always be a treasured member of the Conference USA family,” Conference USA Commissioner Judy MacLeod said. “He genuinely cared for those he worked with, from colleagues to coaches to teams. His knowledge and pride in all things C-USA was unmatched and his passion and dedication was evident in all he did. Russ will truly be missed.”
Anderson promoted Conference USA since its formation in 1995, primarily working as media relations contact for the league’s football and baseball programs. In addition to media relations responsibilities, Anderson worked with baseball and football scheduling, officiating, served as a liaison to the football and baseball coaches and was a member of the C-USA Hall of Fame Committee. Among the staff, Anderson was affectionately known as a walking encyclopedia of Conference USA facts, figures and history.
The Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) released a statement on Anderson’s death once news came out on Tuesday afternoon.
“Russ Anderson was one of the hardest working people in the sports information business and a Conference USA staple long before the league offices were moved to the Dallas area many years ago,” the statement read. “He was one of those people who did the heavy lifting and never complained. He worked long hours in numerous sports and always had a great attitude. This is a devastating loss for Conference USA in terms of his knowledge of the league and its sports.”
Anderson was actively involved with the National Collegiate Baseball Writers Association (NCBWA) since 1996, and was the organization’s associate executive director at the time of his passing. He received the NCBWA’s Wilbur Snypp Award in 2002 for his outstanding contributions to college baseball.
During his career, he served on the media relations staffs for countless NCAA postseason regional, national and championship events, College Football Playoff championship games, bowl games, as well as freelance work with the NFL’s New Orleans Saints and Seattle Seahawks.
A native of Downers Grove, Illinois, Anderson was a graduate of North Central College and a former intern at the Great Midwest Conference. A die-hard Chicago White Sox fan, he once said that his greatest moment in sports was being at Game 4 of the 2005 World Series in Houston to watch his beloved team win their first World Series in 88 years.
Everyone who worked or came into contact with him recognized his passion for sports and the job he did, his dedication and contributions to Conference USA and his tremendous work ethic. He was respected among his peers, a friend and mentor to many, and he will be missed by those who had the pleasure of knowing or working with him over the years.
Anderson is survived by his sister Mary (David) Basek, his brother William (Kim) Pieper and his nephews Chris (Jacki) Valdez, David Valdez and Mike Valdez.