The opportunity we have to bring self expression and art to sporting goods aligns with what today’s athlete is looking for, and we can deliver on that promise.” – Kevin Culley
Nashville – Sporting goods industry veteran Kevin Culley has been named chief operating officer of Absolutely Ridiculous (ARiA), the groundbreaking creative endeavor that aims to inspire self-expression in sports through art and collaboration.
In his role, Culley will be responsible for scaling the business and will oversee the majority of the burgeoning brand’s operations and overall strategy. Culley’s addition comes as Absolutely Ridiculous continues to grow its core baseball and softball product lines and is developing new concepts and designs for its expansion into basketball, golf and other sports, while also building out its team and readying for the launch of the “Studio X” creative space at its headquarters in Nashville later this summer.
“I could not be more excited to join the Absolutely Ridiculous team. The opportunity we have to bring self-expression and art to sporting goods aligns with what today’s athlete is looking for, and we can deliver on that promise,” said Culley. “For me, the chance to help the brand, business and team grow while bringing fun to the sporting goods space was too good to pass up!”
Culley joins Absolutely Ridiculous after 23 years at Under Armour, where he rose through the ranks and most recently served as Vice President of Strategic Innovation Partnerships. He cut his teeth in the formative days of the company, introducing its products to baseball players and forging innovative deals with Major League Baseball, USA Baseball, collegiate baseball teams and many of the most influential players during the 2000’s.
Culley was instrumental in planting the Under Armour flag in many countries and regions around the world, building partnerships by authenticating products with the best athletes in each location and helping open Under Armour’s European headquarters in Amsterdam in 2006. He also stood up and expanded the company’s licensing division and boosted categories and revenue to record levels.
Culley spent the last several years of his tenure at Under Armour in the innovation space, spearheading challenging and multi-faceted projects aimed at bringing new products to life, developing innovative partnerships and enhancing the retail experience for Under Armour customers.
“Kevin helped build one of the most successful and disruptive brands in sports from its infancy to a multi-billion-dollar brand. We needed that experience with how fast we’re scaling, but what makes him even more special is that he’s willing to roll his sleeves up and humbly do it all over again from the bottom floor,” said X. “Kevin has a distinct combination of experience, knowledge, intuition and leadership that will be vital in helping Absolutely Ridiculous evolve. We are very lucky to have him.
Before joining Under Armour, Culley worked briefly for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. He holds a bachelor’s degree in communications from Western Maryland College (now known as McDaniel College), where he was a pitcher on the baseball team. Culley has been on the board of directors for Cleveland-based laundry solutions provider Renegade Brands since 2015.
Photo courtesy of ARiA.