front entrance of Huff Hall

Faculty Profile

Dr. Brian Russell

Dr. Brian Russell

Dr. Brian Russell was named Associate Athletic Director for Academic Services and Student-Athlete Development with the Fighting Illini in August 2018. In this role, he leads the team of professionals charged with providing comprehensive academic and student-athlete development programming and support for the over 500 Fighting Illini student-athletes. Dr. Russell currently serves as adjunct faculty within the Recreation, Sport and Tourism department with a teaching focus on student-athlete transitions and current issues within college athletics.  

Dr. Russell joined the Illinois staff following a 15-year stint at the University of Tennessee, where he was serving as the Director of Student-Athlete Academic Support Services, which included oversight of academic counseling and day-to-day academic services for all Tennessee student-athletes. Additionally, he was responsible for providing leadership and development to the associate and assistant directors, academic counselors and graduate assistants within the Thornton Center on the UT campus.

A native of Lakeville, Indiana, Dr. Russell holds a bachelor’s degree in sociology from the University of Notre Dame, a master’s degree in college student personnel and a Doctor of Philosophy degree in socio-cultural studies in sport from the University of Tennessee. His dissertation involved research into the academic and athletic adjustment to college of first-year student-athletes. He is a member of the National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics (N4A), serves as the N4A Region III Director and on the association’s Board of Directors, and previously held leadership positions within the National Academic Advising Association (NACADA) including serving as Chair of the NCAA Advisory Board.