Jeff Fellenzer, Communications and Journalism Professor, USC
Jeff Fellenzer has more than three decades of experience in sports media, sports management and education, and as an entrepreneur. He is a senior lecturer and full-time professor at the University of Southern California’s Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism. His “Sports, Business, Media” class, which he has taught since 1999, averages about 150 students each semester. His newest class, “Sports and Media Technology,” focusing on the tech sector’s impact on sports, launched in fall 2014 in Wallis Annenberg Hall, USC’s new state-of-the-art communications and media center.
In a 2012 survey of students, “Sports, Business, Media” was voted the No. 4 most popular class at USC. In April 2014, Fellenzer was featured in Annenberg TV News’ series on “USC’s Most Inspirational Professors.”
Among the prominent sports figures Fellenzer has interviewed in his classes are: John Wooden, Jerry West, Bill Walton, Pete Carroll, Byron Scott, Al Michaels, Scott Boras, Keyshawn Johnson, Larry Scott, Ned Colletti, Pat Haden, Kevin Love, Jeanie Buss, George Raveling, Fred Claire, Casey Wasserman, Sam Cunningham, Jamaal Wilkes and World War II hero/U.S. Olympian Louie Zamperini (“Unbroken”). His “Weekly Wooden” segments are a tribute to the life lessons of his late friend, the Hall of Fame basketball coach and teacher, who was a three-time class guest.
Fellenzer has also been a guest lecturer on sports business panels at UCLA, Caltech, the UC Berkeley School of Law at Boalt Hall, Pepperdine, UC Irvine, University of San Francisco, Long Beach State and Southwestern Law School. He serves as faculty advisor of the USC Sports Business Assn., and as faculty advisor for the school newspaper at Chadwick School in Palos Verdes, where he also teaches a journalism skills class to high school freshmen and sophomores.
Fellenzer has been a Heisman Trophy voter since 2007, one of only 43 in California and 929 nationwide who have been invited to participate in the selection process for the most prestigious individual award in sports.
Fellenzer is a frequent media commentator on sports business issues, having made live, in-studio appearances on the KTLA-TV Channel 5 News in Los Angeles. He also has been interviewed for ESPN’s “Outside the Lines” and “30-for-30” documentary series, plus National Public Radio and KNX News Radio, and has been quoted in publications including Sports Illustrated, the New York Times, L.A. Times, L.A. Daily News, Associated Press, Forbes.com and MSNBC.com.
Fellenzer also serves as a communications consultant for USC Athletics, working with players and coaches in developing social media awareness, understanding the media, brand building, media training and improving academic performance through his “Keys to Success in the Classroom” program. He has addressed the USC football team on several occasions, and has mentored and advised hundreds of college students from USC and throughout the country seeking guidance on careers in sports, with emphasis on how to “separate from the pack” via interviewing skills and networking strategies.
Fellenzer developed and hosted his own hour-long sports TV interview show, “One on One,” for Charter Communications in Long Beach. In-studio guests included John Wooden, Tommy Lasorda, Pete Carroll, Scott Boras, Fred Claire, Dan Guerrero, Stan Morrison and Jim Lampley.
Fellenzer was the founder and president of the Pete Newell Challenge, a college basketball doubleheader held annually in the Bay Area from 1997 to 2006 that honored the late Hall of Fame coach and teacher. The event still holds the record for the largest crowd ever to see a college basketball game in California. On Dec. 21, 2000, a sellout crowd of 19,804 at The Arena in Oakland watched No. 3-ranked Stanford defeat No. 1-ranked and eventual national champion Duke, 84-83.
In February 2012, Fellenzer recruited, hosted and moderated an elite panel of Olympic broadcasters at the inaugural USC Olympics Conference: “Stories from the Booth: Broadcasters and the Games,” with Al Michaels, Jim Nantz and Jim Lampley.
Holder of undergraduate and graduate degrees from USC Annenberg, Fellenzer has served as an editor for several sports-related books, including: “Never Make the Same Mistake Once,” a tribute to the late USC baseball coach, Rod Dedeaux, by Robert Leach; “Fred Claire: My 30 Years in Dodger Blue,” an autobiography, and “Money Players” and “Go Pro Like a Pro,” both by Marc Isenberg.
Fellenzer is the current president of the Board of Directors of the Long Beach Education Foundation, and director/founder of the Spirit of Sue, a fund that offers financial assistance for arts-related programs in the Long Beach Unified School District, honoring his late mother, longtime Long Beach educator Sue Fellenzer. He has been a speaker and interviewer at the annual Most Inspiring Students Awards in Long Beach, and in November 2011 spoke on behalf of his friend Louie Zamperini at the annual U.S. Vets “Honoring Those Who Serve” luncheon.
Fellenzer worked as an editor/writer at the Los Angeles Times for almost eight years, writing a column on recruiting and serving as sports coordinator for the original L.A. Times Web site that became latimes.com…before leaving to launch the Pete Newell Challenge and start his own company, Innovative Sports Management.
An avid runner and theater-goer who officiated his first wedding ceremony in July 2013, Fellenzer is a member of the Screen Actors Guild, having appeared in two sports-related films: “Blue Chips” (1993), with Nick Nolte and Shaquille O’Neal, and “Cobb” (1994), with Tommy Lee Jones.