Skip navigation

Rodriguez to Receive Lifetime Achievement Award at 2024 National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition

Tue, 05/14/2024 - 09:37am | By: NCS4 Staff


Mike Rodriguez, former Senior Advisor to the Executive Staff of the United States Tennis Association(USTA), will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2024 National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition on July 9-11 in Phoenix, AZ. The event is presented annually by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS4) at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM).

The Lifetime Achievement Award recognizes the long-term accomplishments and contributions of an individual who has earned the respect and admiration of professional colleagues in the sports safety and security community. The award was developed to commemorate exemplary talents and contributions as demonstrated by the nominee’s dedication, loyalty, ability, and integrity. The award is sponsored by Meridian Rapid Defense Group, which provides SAFETY Act Certified barriers for major sporting events across the U.S.

Rodriguez retired as a detective-sergeant from the New York Police Department (NYPD) after serving 23 years. He served as a supervisor in the FBI/NYPD Joint Terrorism Task Force (JTTF) directly involved with major international and domestic terrorism investigations, to include The East African Embassy Bombings; The bombing of the USS Cole; and the anthrax attack at NBC in New York City.

He also served as the co-supervisor in the investigation of the attacks of September 11th. After his service to the NYPD, Mike served as Senior Director of Security for the United States Tennis Association and the US Open Tennis Championships for 20 years (2003-2023). The US Open is the largest annually attended sporting event in the world.

Rodriguz was an original member representative of the Department of Homeland Security’s Sports Leagues Sub-Sector Council (DHS SLSC), formed in 2005, and still serves on the Council. During an eight-year span he served as the Chair of the Council.

“The NCS4 team are excited to be recognizing Mike for his lifetime contributions to the safety of the American public. He has led the way during times of crises and his passion for continuous improvement has certainly advanced the sport safety and security industry,” said Dr. Stacey Hall, NCS4 Executive Director and Professor of Sport Management.

Mike worked to develop the Medical Operations Plan for the 2020 US Open (with no fans on site), the first international sporting event held during a pandemic. He authored the plan that was submitted and approved by New York State and oversaw the entire Medical Operation Plan for the event. 

At the onset of the COVID-19 Pandemic, he was appointed to the NCAA’s Original Medical Advisory Panel in March 2020 and subsequently served on the expanded NCAA Medical Advisory Group in 2021.  In addition, he provided his expertise and operational knowledge on COVID-19 to the NCAA Final Four as they developed their overall medical operations plan for the event to return in early 2021.

In addition to his over 20 years of sports event security experience at the US Open, Rodriguez has worked on various projects in the New York area, including the development of the security protocols for the New Yankee Stadium.

“It has been quite a journey from where I began many years ago. Being recognized with this award reminds me to sit back and take the time to consider how fortunate a journey it has been,” said Rodriguez. “One of the things that has been most important to me throughout my career has been keeping Americans safe. I’ve been with NCS4 since the beginning and even before that working pre-9/11 on the FBI/NYPD Terrorism Task Force and later as a member of the Department of Homeland Sports Leagues Subsector Council (SLSC). Throughout all of this, the goal has stayed the same.”

With his extensive operational terrorism experience, Rodriguez has conducted presentations on Terrorism Awareness for several organizations. He is featured in a video produced by MLB Productions called “24/7” which addresses security at major sporting events; he published an article on Terrorism Awareness for ASIS (American Society for Industrial Security), and he served on an ASIS panel titled “Global Terrorism: Ten Years after September 11th – Are Sports Venues Any Safer?”. 

He continues today to serve as a subject matter expert on how to protect sporting events and mass gatherings, including terrorism mitigation solutions.  

Rodriguez is the recipient of the 2011 National Sports Security Distinguished Leadership Award from the NCS4 and currently serves on their National Advisory Board.

About the 15th Annual Conference
The National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition will be held July 9-11 at the JW Marriott Phoenix Desert Ridge Resort & Spa in Phoenix, AZ. The conference will attract over 450 attendees and 70 exhibitors representing professional sports, intercollegiate athletics, interscholastic athletics, marathon and endurance events, sports and entertainment facilities, and those who provide safety and security products and services to the industry. You can visit the conference website for more information.

About NCS4
Established in 2006, the NCS4 is the nation's only academic center devoted to the study and practice of sports safety and security. The NCSis partially underwritten by grants from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The NCS4 mission focuses on three key pillars – Training and Education, Research, and Outreach. For more information about NCS4, call 601.266.6183.