The First Tee taps Nickelodeon TV executive as its new CEO

September 29, 2017

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In celebrating the organization’s 20th anniversary this week at the Presidents Cup, The First Tee has been looking back at its numerous accomplishments: Exposing the game and its core values in thousands of elementary schools, golf facilities and youth serving agencies and reaching more than 14 million youth. On Friday, it began to map out what comes next with the World Golf Foundation’s Board of Directors naming of Keith Dawkins as The First Tee’s new CEO, replacing the retiring Joe Louis Barrow.

Dawkins is a 25-year veteran of media and entertainment, most recently serving as Executive VP of the kids’ cable network Nickelodeon.

“I am excited to be joining The First Tee and look forward to working alongside both Boards and key stakeholders—including chapters—to build upon the success and foundation of the organization,” Dawkins said. “We are currently looking at the largest and most diverse group of kids our country has ever seen … which creates an abundance of future opportunities for golf and The First Tee for years to come.”

Dawkins begins as incoming CEO in October before formally taking over for Barrow on Jan. 1, 2018.

“We were unanimous in our decision,” said Mike Whan, LPGA commissioner and chairman of the World Golf Foundation, “and believe Keith’s experience, passion and demonstrated leadership will undoubtedly build on the successes that Joe Barrow so thoughtfully achieved.”

At Nickelodeon, Dawkins oversaw a relationship with the PGA Tour that saw a tour-themed weekend on the cable channel and a branded kids’ zone at The Players Championship.

“Keith is a dynamic leader who brings a suite of assets to the position,” said former PGA Tour commissioner Tim Finchem, “most notably a proven track record of forming high-level and lasting partnerships, organizational management and innovation, and a commitment to diversity and inclusion.”