Dr. Lou Marciani, Director and Co-Founder of the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX), will be presented with the Lifetime Achievement Award during the 2023 National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition on June 27-29 in San Antonio.


The event is presented annually by the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS) 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.


“I am grateful to my family and professional colleagues for this Lifetime Achievement recognition by the University of Southern Mississippi, an institution I proudly served for more than 30 years,” said Dr. Lou Marciani, Director and Co-Founder of the Innovation Institute for Fan Experience (IIFX). “I’ve been honored to work with intramural, intercollegiate, and professional sports leagues to help develop programs and best practices to ensure the sports and entertainment industry is safe and secure. I fondly recall the more than 50 years I’ve worked with government, the sports and entertainment industry, academia, the United States Olympic Committee, Interpol, student-athletes, and so many wonderful professionals and dear friends.”


Dr. Marciani has dedicated his life to improving and evolving sports management education, safety, and security. His groundbreaking efforts reached across the globe and will help shape the future of the security industry. His distinguished service to USM spanned more than three decades and was highlighted in 2013 with his induction into USM’s Alumni Hall of Fame.


“Dr. Lou Marciani has been a driving force for enhancing safety, security, and guest experience within the sports and entertainment industry,” said Rick Fenton, CSSP, Vice President/CSO, Corporate Security & Safety for Ilitch Holdings, Inc. “His leadership has driven technological change within these industries while at the same time driving enhanced education and training across all levels of professional sports, intercollegiate/interscholastic athletics, marathon and endurance events, international sporting events, private sector firms, and governmental agencies. Simply put, Dr. Lou has dedicated his life to enhancing sports and entertainment management and safety.”


Dr. Lou Marciani joined USM in 1974 as the first full-time director of Intramural Sports. Under his leadership, the department expanded to Intramural-Recreational Sports. He served as president of the National Intramural Recreation Sports Association and received the Honor Award.


After serving as athletic director at Salisbury University and East Stroudsburg University, Dr. Marciani rejoined Southern Miss in 1989 as associate athletic director for External Affairs. In 1991, he served as athletic director at Western Kentucky University and Drexel University and as executive director of two governing committees for the United States Olympic Committee.


Dr. Marciani returned to Southern Miss in 2004 to serve as director of the School of Human Performance and Recreation. During this period, Dr. Marciani, alongside colleagues, secured the first round of government funding to help establish the NCS. Dr. Marciani served as the first director of the NCS from 2006 to 2020 and secured more than $13 million in federal grants for homeland security.


Under Dr. Marciani’s leadership, NCS evolved into a highly respected national and international academic leader in the sports, entertainment, and school safety and security industry. His vision, passion, and keen insight created a global center that serves academic research and scholarship, education, training, industry best practices, and innovative advancement in technology.


“Dr. Marciani is a visionary that always pushed for industry improvement,” said Dr. Stacey A. Hall, NCS4 Executive Director and Professor of Sport Management. “I had the pleasure of working alongside Dr. Marciani for many years as he helped grow the NCS4 from a well-known domestic resource center to an internationally recognized training and education center. His service at USM in multiple roles and over his career in athletics, education, and the safety and security space will have a lasting impact. The NCS4 team endeavors to continue the good work and build upon the foundation he laid.”


Dr. Marciani expanded USM and the NCS’s global reach by establishing a formal relationship with the INTERPOL – Project STADIA program in 2012 to help create police capacity-building training in sports safety and security for their 194 member nations. The courses helped prepare Silver-level Police Commanders for their role in protecting 3.4 million spectators attending the 2022 FIFA World Cup in Qatar. Dr. Marciani recruited Fortune 500 global technology corporations to form the NCS’s Technology Alliance, and he has lectured at universities in the United States, Europe, the Middle East, and Asia.


After leaving NCS in 2020, Dr. Marciani co-founded IIFX with the purpose of building a global alliance to lead the next great leap in fan experience, steeped in safety, security, and service. The Institute is bound together by the passion and skills of visionary thought leaders throughout the international community, who, along with technical and subject matter experts, are innovating new ways that address critical safety and security challenges to change the world’s sports and entertainment fan experience for the better.


Dr. Marciani’s family has been dedicated to USM for decades, as his four children all graduated from USM. His grandson, Maddox, will join the Southern Miss family in the fall of 2023. He remains actively engaged in the Hattiesburg community by supporting numerous fundraising and USM sports programs.


“I am profoundly grateful for the love and support of my dear family – Sandi, Todd, Chris, Jennifer, and Justin and their families. They continue to fuel my passion for creating safe, secure, memory-making events at every stop of the fan journey. Our work continues,” concluded Dr. Marciani.  


The award will be presented at an annual Awards Luncheon that takes place on the second day of the conference. The luncheon is sponsored by Evolv Technology, which provides weapons detection systems for security screening.


Please make plans to join us and register now at http://www.ncs4.usm.edu/conference/. The deadline to register for the conference is June 8. For more information about the awards, visit https://ncs4.usm.edu/about/awards-recognition/.


About the 14th Annual Conference:

The National Sports Safety and Security Conference & Exhibition will be held June 27-29 at the JW Marriott San Antonio Hill Country Resort and Spa in San Antonio, TX. The conference will attract over 450 attendees and 70 exhibitors representing professional sports, intercollegiate athletics, interscholastic athletics, marathon and endurance events, sport and entertainment facilities, and those who provide safety and security products and services to the industry. For more information, visit https://ncs4.usm.edu/conference/.


About NCS4:

Established in 2006, the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS) is the nation’s only academic center devoted to the study and practice of sports safety and security. The NCS is partially underwritten by grants from the Department of Homeland Security (DHS) and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). The NCS mission focuses on three key pillars – Training and Education, Research, and Outreach. For more information about NCS, call 601.266.6183 or visit ncs4.usm.edu.


About The University of Southern Mississippi
The University of Southern Mississippi (USM) is a comprehensive public research institution delivering transformative programs on campuses in Hattiesburg and Long Beach, at teaching and research sites across the Mississippi Gulf Coast, as well as online. Founded in 1910, USM is one of only 146 universities in the nation to earn the Carnegie Classification of Institutions of Higher Education’s “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity” designation, and its robust research enterprise includes experts in ocean science and engineering, polymer science and engineering, and large event venue safety and security, among others. USM is also one of only 36 institutions in the nation accredited in theatre, art and design, dance and music. As an economic driver, USM generates an annual economic impact of more than $663 million across the state. USM welcomes a diverse student body of more than 13,500, representing more than 70 countries, all 50 states, and every county in Mississippi. USM students have collected four Truman Scholarships and 37 National Science Foundation Graduate Research Fellowships, while also leading Mississippi with 27 Goldwater Scholarships, an honor that recognizes the next generation of great research scientists. Home to the Golden Eagles, USM competes in 17 Division I sports sponsored by the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). For more information, visit usm.edu.