Opening Keynote Speaker
Zack Sheets has a unique background in education over the last 14 years where he has been a teacher, coach and administrator. As an alternative high school administrator, he is responsible for all school discipline and has a modern approach to restorative practices as he handles the below the line behavior from students. Zack also leads out the staff professional development where the staff climate score has had a 100% rating for the last 8 years.
Moreover, for several years, Zack has been with What Drives Winning, an organization that strives to enhance human performance through a multi-dimensional approach that focuses on: character development, behavior management, team dynamics, priority alignment and leadership development. He works hand-in hand with co-founders Brett Ledbetter and former University of Florida Women’s soccer coach, Becky Burleigh. Zack has been a featured speaker multiple times at What Drives Winning conferences and is a thought leader around motivating the unmotivated and reaching the hard-to-reach.
Zack holds a Ph.D. in Leadership and is a professor at the University of Florida in the College of Health and Human Performance. He is married and has 4 kids eight years old and under.
Closing Keynote Speaker
Charlie Cobb is in his ninth year at the helm of the Georgia State Department of Athletics and 18th as a Division I athletics director, leading a transformation for the program throughout campus and the city of Atlanta.
Through the implementation of the department's strategic plan, Cobb is focused on building a ‘Culture of Success’ at Georgia State based on five themes: Academic Achievement, Competitive Greatness, Ethical Behavior, Social Responsibility, and Community Engagement. Since his hire in August 2014, multiple new facilities have opened, while student-athletes continue their impressive commitment to academic performance, highlighted by a record 3.40 GPA in spring 2020. Georgia State has received the Sun Belt's Institutional Graduation Award twice under his tenure.
Cobb currently serves on the NCAA Division 1 Council and was recently a member of the College Football Playoff (CFP) Management Committee.
On the field, the Panthers have garnered unprecedented success during his tenure, including 2021-22 which was the best competitive season for GSU teams in school history. Georgia State led the Sun Belt Conference and finished an all-time high No. 88 in the final 2022 LEARFIELD Division I Director's Cup standings.
Football set a school record for wins, including its second straight bowl win in its fifth bowl appearance in seven years; men's basketball won the Sun Belt Conference title and returned to the NCAA Tournament for the fourth time in eight years; beach volleyball won the Conference USA Championship and beat No. 2-ranked TCU in the NCAA Championships; men’s soccer earned an NCAA at-large berth and won the school’s first NCAA Tournament match; and men’s tennis also reached the NCAA Championships after claiming the 2022 Sun Belt Championship.
Among Cobb’s biggest projects has been participating in the acquisition, purchase, and re-purposing of Turner Field, transforming the former Major League Baseball venue into the home of Georgia State football, now named Center Parc Credit Union Stadium in recognition of the $21 million, 15–year naming rights agreement reached in 2020. Phase One of the project was completed in August 2017 and includes new east side seating and an artificial surface field for the football team. Phase Two moved all football operations to the stadium in 2019 as part of a $300 million plan to transform the 68-acre site.
In fall 2022, the men's and women's basketball teams will begin play in the new Georgia State University Convocation Center, and future construction plans include the completion of an ‘Athletics Neighborhood’ as part of the development including a baseball stadium, softball stadium and track and field venue. The GSU Soccer Complex for the men's and women's programs was completed in 2021, and the Bobby Jones Golf Practice Facility opened for the men’s and women’s golf teams in 2019.
Before returning to Atlanta in September 2014, Cobb spent nine years as the Director of Athletics at Appalachian State. Previously he worked for six years honing his business acumen with the Atlanta Sports Council, the Chick-Fil-A Peach Bowl, and the Georgia Dome, before returning to his alma mater, NC State, for 7 years.
His leadership helped build and maintain a high-performing program at App State. The Mountaineers won three consecutive Football Championship Subdivision (FCS) national championships, the first three-peat in FCS history. They also brought home eight consecutive Commissioner's Cup championships (top men's sports program in the Southern Conference) and four Germann Cup championships (top women's program). Together, they earned the men's and women's awards in the same academic year four times.
At App State, Cobb helped create $50 million in facilities improvements as the Mountaineers' fundraising efforts that reached all-time highs, including surpassing the $3 million mark. The jewel of the construction projects was the seven-story Appalachian Athletics Center and the campaign also produced new homes for Mountaineer baseball, softball, and soccer, as well as a new indoor practice facility.
The 54-year-old Cobb was a four-year letterwinner as a football player at NC State. He graduated with honors with a bachelor's degree in business administration in 1990 and earned a master's degree in sports administration from Ohio in 1992. As a senior center, he was named to the All-ACC second team and was an All-ACC academic selection throughout his career. He was awarded the prestigious Atlantic Coast Conference's Jim Tatum Award, which recognizes the senior football player with the highest GPA, in 1990.
Cobb and his wife, Lindsay, have a son and daughter, 24-year-old Harrison, a graduate of Hampden-Sydney College who is now obtaining a dual Master of Business Administration and Sports Administration at Ohio University, and 21-year-old Branan, who attends Centre College. Lindsay Cobb was an All-ACC goalkeeper for the NC State women's soccer team from 1987-90 and is currently an assistant women’s soccer coach at Emory University.