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Jamie Davis Named New CEO of USA Water Polo

USA Water Polo (USAWP), the national governing body of the sport in the United States, Jamie Davis as its new CEO. Davis comes to USAWP after serving as the top executive at USA Volleyball for seven years.

Davis will replace Chris RamseyHe served as CEO of USAWP for 18 years, making him the longest-serving CEO of any national governing body in the country.

“We are excited to welcome Jamie Davis to the USA Water Polo team,” he said. Bill Smith“Jamie’s vision and leadership will be instrumental in guiding the organization into its next chapter. We are confident that his contributions will take USA Water Polo to new heights,” said the USA Water Polo Board of Directors Chairman in the official announcement.

Davis expressed his excitement about starting work at the organization.

“I am honored to join USA Water Polo and excited to work with the talented athletes, coaches, staff and broader water polo community,” Davis said. “Together, we will continue to foster the growth and excellence of this sport.”

Davis had no prior experience with water polo, which makes her selection for the role somewhat surprising. Prior to her work with USA Volleyball, she worked as a sports marketer and promoter, with highlights of her career including stints at NBC Sports, ESPN and Fanatics.

Despite his lack of expertise in water polo, Davis was apparently chosen because of his experience leading a national sport’s governing body.

Lee FeinswogThe Volleyball Magazine editor said Davis’ lack of water polo experience may not be a negative.

“The thing about running an NGB is that the skill set you need isn’t necessarily sports-related,” Feinswog said. “For example, Jamie wasn’t a volleyball player when he went to USA Volleyball. At USA Water Polo, it would be to find someone who is used to running a much larger organization who knows how to navigate the (United States Olympic and Paralympic Committee), (International Olympic Committee) and the layers of politics that strangle international sports.”

Some members of the water polo community have expressed concerns about Davis’ ability to effectively lead the organization from the start, especially as planning for the 2028 Olympics begins.

“In my conversations with former Olympians who are involved in water polo, it’s important for USA Water Polo to understand that their customers are water polo people who are interested in someone they can relate to, who understands what’s going on,” he said. Ryan Baileya four-time Olympian and USAWP board member, in an interview with Swimming World Magazine.

“You don’t need someone who starts running from day one and can’t run because they don’t know the (key) players; they’re the ones who make the most noise and are the most involved. Get someone who already has that knowledge and can take the ball and run.”

While Davis may not be familiar with the sport of water polo, he is no stranger to empowering the sport’s national governing body.

While leading USA Volleyball, Davis has significantly increased the organization’s revenue and membership; total revenue for the organization has increased from $29.7 million in 2017 to $38.3 million in 2022, and membership has increased by 30% to 435,000 since he joined the organization.

On the other hand, USAWP’s total revenue in 2022 was $16 million with approximately 50,000 members.

During Davis’ tenure with Team USA Volleyball, the USA volleyball team also achieved great success at the Olympics, winning three gold medals in Tokyo.

Despite his success in growing the board’s assets, Davis is leaving USA Volleyball with mixed reviews, as some volleyball coaches remain unimpressed with the direction he is taking the organization, particularly regarding the apparent emphasis on revenue rather than the quality of the sport. Some members of the coaching community have suggested that USA Volleyball has been unsupportive of men’s volleyball during Davis’ time at the helm.

Davis also started on Team USA Volleyball with no previous experience or knowledge of the sport.

Departing CEO Ramsey also had no prior water polo experience when he joined the organization, having come from New York City Ballet. Under his leadership, USAWP grew its membership to 50,000 and annual revenues increased from $4 million to $16 million, while the women’s national team dominated the international scene, winning gold medals at three consecutive Olympic Games.

USA Water Polo announced in December Ramsey’s plan to retire after the Paris Olympics; Davis will replace him starting Oct. 1, 2024.