Rising Spear, an NIL collective that formed to develop NIL opportunities for Florida State University student athletes, is announcing the hire of Will Cowen as Chief Operating Officer. Previously, Cowen served as the Director of Player Development for FSU’s women’s basketball program.
“Over the past four years, Will has gained the respect and trust of boosters, alumni and high school coaches in the FSU community, and I look forward to working together in the near future,” said Charlie Ward, a former FSU basketball standout and Rising Spear Alumni Advisory Board Member.
Under Cowen’s leadership, FSU raised more than $1.2 million specifically for the women’s basketball program. He also coordinated the “life-skills” programming for the team. On the hardwood in 2018-19, the Noles advanced to the second round of the NCAA tournament and amassed four wins vs. AP Top 25 teams. Prior to the pandemic in 2020, FSU was the runner-up in the ACC Championship game. Most recently, the Noles became one of nine teams to qualify for each NCAA Tournament since 2013.
Cowen was intimately involved in FSU’s approach to name, image and likeness. He co-chaired FSU’s campus-wide Name, Image and Likeness Taskforce from February 2019 to August 2021, playing a key role in uniting multiple campus stakeholders for the April 2021 launch of FSU’s NIL program, APEX.
Building on his experience within college athletics and his relationships with third-party NIL education agencies, sports law professionals and marketing agents, Cowen is uniquely positioned to help lead Rising Spear.
“As a professional educator, Will’s passion for student success is evident and will become a tremendous asset to all student athletes interested in maximizing their NIL potential,” said Alan Flaumenhaft co-founder of Rising Spear and former Treasurer of Seminole Boosters Executive Board. “We are committed to our promise that 100% of all donations received go directly to the student-athletes under contract; all salary and overhead costs are funded privately by our board of directors.”
Garnet Spirit is the not-for-profit platform within Rising Spear, which is currently accepting donations to create opportunities for student-athletes through appearance fees, clinics, fundraising, community service projects and events supporting underserved communities.
Cowen’s primary emphasis will be to cultivate local relationships with Florida State student athletes, local businesses, charitable organizations, boosters and fans. He will also work closely with the MarketPryce staff to onboard the first 50 local businesses in the month of May to pair with the first 100 student athletes.
“The notion of building authentic relationships with hundreds of Florida State student-athletes will be the highlight of every day and I am honored to embark on this new journey together,” said Cowen. “Based on the current structure of Florida’s NIL law, working for Rising Spear will allow us to help the most student athletes in a thoughtful and impactful manner.”
“The goal is to be fully operational in 90 days and open to all student athletes and Nole friendly business nationwide prior to fall semester,” Cowen continued. “In order to serve 18 intercollegiate teams this fall, we must quickly identify more charitable organizations or schools to pair with FSU teams in addition to the Boys’ and Girls’ Club.”
Rising Spear co-founder Bob Davis, who is also a former chairman of the Seminole Boosters Executive Board, says Cowen will help continue the momentum Rising Spear has already experienced over the past month.
“In recent weeks, over 1,000 donors have contributed to Rising Spear, and we are elated to hire a former Athletic Director to provide structure and organization as our collective continues to grow,” said Bob Davis co-founder of Rising Spear and former chairman of Seminole Boosters Executive Board . “With over a quarter century of experience working in public education, Will’s insight to the industry will allow us to continue forming strategic national partnerships.”
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