EDUCATION: Bachelor’s degree in public relations, advertising, and applied communication, University of Southern Indiana
RESUME: Evansville Otters Baseball director of operations; C.H. Robinson sales executive; Insulpro Inc. director of sales and operations; Empire Contractors director of business development; Learfield IMG College general manager, University of Evansville; Evansville Regional Sports Commission executive director (April 2023-present)
HOMETOWN: Elwood, Indiana
FAMILY: Wife Blair; son Braylon
Brandon McClish has a passion for sports. Growing up in Elwood, Indiana, he ran cross country and played football, basketball, and baseball. In college at USI, that passion segued to intramural sports and cheering for the Screaming Eagles. McClish is the president of Golfmoor Baseball Association and frequently attends local college baseball and basketball games.
After kicking off his professional career with the Evansville Otters, McClish moved into sales and business development jobs, but working in sports “was always a passion.”
Enter the Evansville Regional Sports Commission. In early 2023, as the agency looked for a leader, McClish — then handling the University of Evansville’s athletic licensing for Learfield IMG College and already a sports commission board member — jumped at the chance.
McClish says he loved being at UE “but (with) the opportunity to be executive director … it was, ‘This is what I have to do.’ I left a dream job for a dream opportunity.”
NAME YOUR TOP TWO PRIORITIES AT THE SPORTS COMMISSION.
Number one is high-level events in all the facilities we have. Number two is driving economic impact back to the city. One leads to the other. We have the perfect city with hotels for a lot of Division II athletics, and in the (Division I) mid-majors world, which is the Ohio Valley Conference, on those lines. Those are my goals: to bring those high-level events in here, showcase the city, and drive economic impact back to our city.
I want to make sure I say “all facilities” because we have this beautiful Deaconess Aquatic Center. We have a BMX. People don’t even realize how great our BMX at Burdette Park is. We’re putting a bid together for the national championship. That’s going to bring, like, 6,000 people in.
WHAT EVENTS DO YOU WANT TO SNAG FOR EVANSVILLE?
(The sports commission’s events are) high profile, so NCAA championships, from the Elite Eight women’s basketball (to) NCAA volleyball. That’s what I’m trying to bring. And we have an amazing infra- structure for conference championships.
DESCRIBE THE BIGGEST LEARNING CURVE TO JOINING THE SPORTS COMMISSION.
Being a fortuneteller. (Laughs) What I mean by that is, yesterday I worked for about six hours on budgets and bid processes for NCAA events for 2027 and 2028 and trying to, (as they say) in the sales world, forecast. “Well, I’m going to sell that by doing this, this, and this.” … It’s just that learning curve going from the everyday sale, and trying to make sure that I rein everything in and make sure I’ve got all the people in line.
WHAT KINDS OF ECONOMIC DRIVERS DO YOU CONSIDER WHEN PLANNING EVENTS?
Theater on Ice (coming June 25-29 to the Ford Center) is incredible in economic impact because … it is a demographic that spends more money. These people are coming for five, six days. They’re going out to eat three days a week. They’re the ones standing down at Parlor Doughnuts every single morning, and then the afternoon coffees at River City Coffee + Goods, etc. That is going to bring in so much money.
WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE TO SEE HAPPEN IN YOUR TENURE AS EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR? Savannah Bananas. I hound them! I actually drove to Indianapolis when they were up there last summer. We couldn’t get them this year because they’re going way too big. But we’re on the list for 2025 to have conversations.
TELL US A PIECE OF ADVICE YOU’VE CARRIED THROUGH YOUR CAREER.
(Otters owner) Bill Bussing taught me every night’s opening night. I love that. Every single thing I ever do, I will say, every day is opening day or every night’s opening night.