(Editor’s Note: This is one of a series of stories featuring players, tournament officials, sponsors, volunteers and others involved with this year’s Winston-Salem Open.)
By John Delong
Barry Faircloth’s association with Wake Forest goes back to the day he was born.
His father Bill served as an assistant football coach for decades and is still a member of the staff as director of football operations. So growing up Barry was always around the campus and the football program.
Barry graduated from Wake Forest in 1993, then joined the athletic department in 2001 as associate director for development. He is now an associate athletic director for external operations, a role that centers primarily on fund-raising efforts for the athletic department.
"Wake Forest is a passion for me," he said. "Growing up around the athletic department and being the son of a football coach, I literally grew up on the practice fields. So to be able to work in the role I’m in now is a dream for me. It’s not hard to come to work every day, with the passion I have for it and the excitement I have for it, and just continuing the Faircloth legacy of being involved with the university. It is so much fun."
All that passion makes Faircloth an ideal person to sit on the board of directors for Winston-Salem Professional Tennis, the 501c non-profit entity that owns and runs the Winston-Salem Open.
Faircloth serves as a liaison between the athletic department and the tournament, looking out for the university’s best interests. Remember, the university built and owns the Wake Forest Tennis Center where the tournament is played, and it also owns the various venues such as Bridger Field House and Deacon Tower where so many tournament functions are held.
Faircloth has also coordinated, along with the ticket operations and sales team he oversees, a new ticket sales model for this year’s Winston-Salem Open.
Wake Forest employees are handling the tournament’s ticket sales at the Wake Forest ticket window at Bridger Field House. The Winston-Salem Open is using the same ticket platform, Paciolan, for the assignment and distribution of tickets including will call. In addition, a dedicated member of the Wake Forest ticket sales team was hired to pro-actively renew box-seat tickets and facilitate group offerings for various tennis clubs and interested parties. This was intended to enhance the ticket purchasing experience for the 2012 tournament.
"I have two roles, basically," Faircloth said. "One is to help coordinate any issues that may come up between the non-profit board and Wake Forest. And the other is to offer support to the Winston-Salem Open from Wake Forest that they may need to explore relationships that we have with our donors and fans and people like that. I look for ways to leverage the athletic department to help the Winston-Salem Open succeed. So I fill more of a support role than anything."
Faircloth served an eight-year stint with Wallace Computer Services straight out of college, working in Raleigh and Atlanta and picking up valuable experience in the fields of sales and sales management.
He jumped at the chance to return to Wake Forest when the opportunity presented itself in 2001.
"For me, the sales background has really helped me in my career here at Wake Forest and bringing a sales mentality to what we do," he said.
Faircloth is quick to admit that he wasn’t a huge tennis fan growing up, just playing occasionally and watching casually.
But his interest has grown because of his role on the board, and from getting caught up in the excitement of the tournament. He says the thing he enjoys most about being on the board is seeing everyone work together and see all the components come together once tournament week rolls around.
"I’ve grown to really appreciate the sport and the tournament," he said. "My involvement has really expanded my knowledge and appreciation for what all goes into a professional tournament. It’s quite amazing, really. By serving on the board, it’s been an incredible learning experience, and it has provided a lot of gratification to me to be able to work on it and see it success. I’ve got to say, too, that this is a board that is very close, and that’s very gratifying to be a part of, too."
His job as liaison between the tournament and the university, he says, is relatively easy because there are so many common threads interwoven in the tournament’s structure. Don Flow, the chairman of Winston-Salem Professional Tennis, is a member of the Wake Forest board of trustees. Tournament director Bill Oakes is an assistant athletics director at Wake Forest. Associate tournament director Amy Schultz is also a Wake Forest staff member.
"The relationship with Don Flow and (Wake Forest director of athletics) Ron Wellman is a very strong one," Faircloth said. "There’s a lot of trust there, with Don being a trustee of the university. He has Wake Forest’s best interests in mind. So that trust level, I think we’re all very comfortable with the direction of the tournament, and that it’s always going to be looking out for the best interests of the athletic department and the university. There’s a high trust factor between the two entities."
Faircloth says that Wake Forest also benefits from having Oakes on board, not just to run the tournament but with his other responsibilities as an assistant athletic director..
"I feel like Bill Oakes has done an incredible job," Faircloth said. "To have the role he has within the athletic department is a huge benefit to Wake Forest, to have someone of that caliber to help us with our endeavors. Just having someone with his background and expertise he has is a tremendous benefit for our department."