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Randy Buhr

Randy Buhr

Director of championships and alliances | NCAA | Class of 1990

The NCAA’s director of championships and alliances wasn’t sure which direction his career would go until he found his way into David O. Matthews’ classroom in his sixth semester on campus.

The name of the elective that changed everything for Randy Buhr was Contemporary Issues in Sport, taught by a kinesiology professor who the Champaign Central grad took an immediate liking to.

“During that class and/or during his office hours, (Matthews) enlightened me to the fact that there were graduate programs available in sport management and that graduate assistantships were also available,” Buhr says. “Based on his sage advice, I realized the pathway that I needed to take to work in the sports industry for my career.

“I feel blessed to have received this advice still with enough time during my undergraduate years as I was able to obtain enough additional relevant volunteer and work experience needed to get into a graduate sport management program and I also was able to obtain a graduate assistantship. I have been blessed to have been able to spend my entire career working in intercollegiate athletics administration.”

After receiving his bachelor’s degree in accountancy, Buhr went on to earn a master’s in sports management from Ohio State, then return to C-U for law school.

That’s when he met the other faculty member who had a profound impact on his career.

“During my time in law school, Bill Goodman was an assistant dean of the College of Law, and he served not only as an unofficial mentor to me, but more importantly, as a friend. He provided great advice on many topics over the years, especially before or after our many hours playing racquetball together at what was then known as the IMPE building. He instilled great wisdom to me and has continued to do so over my adult life as we remain close friends.”

Ten years later, they’d reconnect in St. Louis — Goodman and wife Rose and Buhr and wife Susan, at the Final Four. Little did they know when they booked the trip six months out that Illinois would be playing in it.

“Although the Illini came up just short of winning the national championship, it was an awesome experience to witness the Illini in action with such great friends who also love the University of Illinois,” Buhr says. “This was a cherished memory that I will have for the rest of my life.”