Stacey A. Hall, PhD
Executive Director and Professor of Sport Management
Dr. Hall played an integral role in the creation of the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security and served as the Associate Director from 2006-2014. She continued to serve the institution through various leadership roles, including Interim Associate Dean of the College of Health, Chair of the Department of Economic Development, Tourism, and Sport Management, and most recently as Executive Associate Dean for the College of Business and Economic Development. Dr. Hall welcomed the opportunity to return to serve as the Center’s Executive Director in April 2020.
Dr. Hall’s expertise is in the area of sport safety and security management. She has published in leading international sport management, homeland security, and emergency management journals and has co-authored three textbooks – Security and Risk Assessment for Facility and Event Managers, Security Management for Sports and Special Events, and Sport Facility Operations Management. She has also authored several book chapters in sport facility and event management, crisis communications, and emergency response and recovery. Additionally, she has been invited to publish in national magazines such as Athletic Management, Athletic Administration, and Security Magazine. Dr. Hall has been referred to as one of the nation’s leading experts in sport security with interviews in USA Today, ESPN the Magazine, CBS New York, and also appeared on a live national broadcast of ESPN’s Outside the Lines. Dr. Hall was one of 150 experts from across the globe invited to attend the first International Sport Security Conference in Doha, Qatar. Dr. Hall has presented at international and national conferences, and conducted invited presentations for U.S. federal and state agencies, college athletic conferences, and professional sport leagues, including Major League Soccer (MLS). She was named a VenueNow Women of Live recipient in 2021.
Dr. Hall has been the principal investigator on external grant awards in excess of $4M. Funded projects included awards from the U.S. Department of Homeland Security to develop risk management curriculum for sport security personnel at NCAA institutions, conduct risk assessments at college sport stadia, and develop training programs for sport venue staff. Dr. Hall has also been involved in several service projects including the development of a risk assessment tool for U.S. sport stadia in conjunction with the Department of Homeland Security and International Association of Venue Managers; development of a disaster mitigation plan post-Katrina for the Mississippi Regional Housing Authority; and development of a sport safety and security system for a K-12 school district in Houston, TX.
Dr. Hall teaches undergraduate and graduate sport management courses in economics, finance, and security. She developed a graduate-level emphasis area in sport security management for the Master’s program at Southern Miss. Dr. Hall has completed threat/risk assessment training through the National Emergency Response and Rescue Training Center; terrorist bombing training through New Mexico Tech Energetic Materials and Testing Center; and special events contingency planning for public safety agencies training through the FEMA Emergency Management Institute.
Dr. Hall played soccer at Southern Miss from 1997-2001 and holds the record for most goals scored. She was inducted into the Southern Miss Sports Hall of Fame in 2013. She also captained the Northern Ireland International Soccer Team until her retirement in 2008.
Executive Leadership Team
Lauren Cranford, MPH, CHES
Director of Operations
Lauren Cranford is the Director of Operations for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. Her role is to manage and coordinate all NCS⁴ operations including, but not limited to, overseeing all grants, projects, budgets, and staff. She assists the executive director with development and implementation of programs, special events, and training sessions.
Cranford received her Master of Public Health Degree from The University of Southern Mississippi with an emphasis in Epidemiology and Biostatistics. She received her Bachelor’s degree in Community Health Sciences with an emphasis in Health Promotion. She is also a Certified Health Education Specialist through the National Commission for Health Education Credentialing.
Daniel Ward, CEM, MBA
Director of Training and Exercise
Daniel Ward is the Director of Training and Exercise at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. In this role, he engages professional, collegiate, endurance event, and interscholastic safety and security professionals to meet industry training requirements, validate plans and processes, integrate solutions, and implement best practices. Ward is responsible for ensuring the NCS⁴ effectively connects the academic and operational communities, preparing practitioners for the current, evolving threat environment.
In addition to his role at the NCS⁴, Ward has served in the United States Air Force since 2006. He has held a variety of roles in planning, incident management and emergency response. Ward has led organizational preparation, mitigation, response and recovery efforts for a wide range of natural, technological and human-caused disasters. He has also developed and led chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear response teams. In his 15-year career, Ward has supported preparedness and response efforts domestically and throughout Southwest Asia and the Republic of Korea. Most recently, he served in theater in support of Operation SPARTAN SHIELD as an Emergency Management Superintendent, where he oversaw emergency management efforts at three locations across the AOR.
Ward has developed and headed emergency management plans and programs for multiple disciplines and organizations, applying best practice and experience to a wide range of incident and event management. He is an Anti-Terrorism Officer, a Hazardous Material Technician, and was awarded the international designation of Certified Emergency Manager (CEM®) by the International Association of Emergency Managers in 2013. He has a bachelor’s degree in Emergency and Disaster Management and a master’s degree in Business Administration.
Michael Broadus, MA
Michael Broadus is the Curriculum Manager for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS⁴) at The University of Southern Mississippi. He provides leadership and oversight for the development, implementation and strategies for the sport safety and security curriculums. In this role, he is responsible for managing the design and development of public safety training programs, curricula, instructional methods, and materials for various audiences.
Prior to joining NCS⁴, Broadus worked in research, training, and educational roles related to criminal justice and human services. Having previously served as a law enforcement officer, he transitioned into higher education as a graduate research and teaching assistant to pursue a Master of Arts degree in Criminal Justice at The University of Southern Mississippi. Broadus taught undergraduate-level criminal justice course sessions during this time and assisted with and led both educational and research related development pertaining to criminal justice broadly (e.g., police, courts, corrections). It was during this period, that his research and published thesis became focused on the concepts of legal liability, workforce training, and risk management involving law enforcement – but reserve officers specifically, given their differentiated training and sometimes “seasonal” utilization.
After graduating with a Master of Arts in Criminal Justice from The University of Southern Mississippi in 2018, Broadus engaged in both a Case Manager and Supervisor (i.e., Case Manager Supervisor) role for the Mississippi Department of Human Services (MDHS). During this time, he put his research and teaching experience to work in helping to train staff, but also in developing efficient and maintainable in-county training programs and resources for MDHS personnel that were engaged in serving the citizens of Mississippi through management of several economic and workforce development and support programs.
Broadus later returned to higher education with the goal of leveraging his experience in assisting the academic spectrum of public safety. To this end, he served as the Student Advancement Administrator and Academic Advisor for the School of Criminal Justice, Forensic Science, and Security, where he directly assisted the School’s students, faculty, and staff. It was here that Broadus was able to leverage his collective experiences by working as a curriculum committee member to help provide feedback and recommendations on both degree and course-related adjustments to help ensure degree progression, program efficiency, and student success.
Traci Johnson, MME
Instructional Design Specialist
Traci Johnson is the Instructional Design Specialist for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS⁴). Her role is to design, develop, and deploy engaging learning activities and compelling course content for traditional classroom and eLearning training delivery programs. She collaborates with subject matter experts, instructors, and other design team members to ensure the accuracy and validity of the training design and methodology.
Before joining NCS⁴, Johnson was a Mississippi public school educator, having taught English and Language Arts in the Hattiesburg Public School District, as well as the Harrison County Public School District. Additionally, Johnson taught elementary and secondary Music abroad at International Schools located in both Jeddah, Saudi Arabia, and Jeju Island, South Korea, where she was heavily or solely involved in establishing, developing, and designing curriculum, instructional materials, and instructional methods for a variety of music classes within each school’s respective music department.
Johnson received her Bachelor of Music Education and Master of Music Education from The University of Southern Mississippi. She also completed her certificate in Instructional Design from the IDOL courses Academy.
Sara Priebe, BFA
Event and Membership Manager
Sara Priebe is the Event and Membership Manager at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. In this role, she executes planning and logistics for NCS⁴ events. Priebe is the contact for vendors interested in securing sponsorships and exhibits at all NCS⁴ events. She works to develop and implement membership plans, strategies and initiatives for current member retention and new member recruitment. She also provides customer service to vendors and Solution Partners as well as members and event attendees. In addition, she provides graphic design for NCS⁴’s communications pieces.
Jonathan Ruffin, MS
Jonathan Ruffin is a Training Manager at the National Center for Spectator Sports and Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. He provides oversight for the training courses offered through NCS⁴. These duties include course and instructor scheduling, ensuring all targets are met, and maintaining the quality of each delivery.
Before his current role, Ruffin served as Director of Internal Operations and Facilities at East Carolina University. In this role, he oversaw daily maintenance and management of multiple athletic venues and was the primary game manager for multiple sports. Prior to that, he was Director of Facilities and Events Management at the University of Louisiana Monroe. During his time in athletics, Ruffin has been part of several conference/regional tournaments and various on-campus special events.
Ruffin received a Bachelor of Science in Psychology from The University of Southern Mississippi. He then completed a Master of Science degree in Sports Management with a Safety and Security emphasis from The University of Southern Mississippi.
Tymika Rushing, MBA
Business Affairs Manager
Tymika Rushing is the Business Affairs Manager for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. She is responsible for overseeing the daily financial operations of NCS⁴, which includes coordinating processes in budgeting and compliance for grants and externally funded projects, contractual amendments, and various fiscal responsibilities. Her role is to provide comprehensive financial management to include, but not limited to, budget planning, forecasting, compliance, and financial reporting.
Before joining NCS⁴, Rushing was a Contracting Specialist at the NASA Shared Services Center (NSSC) and as a Grants & Contracts Coordinator within the Office of Research Administration at The University of Southern Mississippi.
Rushing received her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from The University of Southern Mississippi. She received her Master of Business Administration degree from William Carey University.
Jonathan Stanford, MBA
Jonathan Stanford is a Training Manager at the National Center for Spectator Sports and Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. He provides oversight for the training courses offered through NCS⁴. These duties include course and instructor scheduling, ensuring all targets are met, and maintaining the quality of each delivery.
Before joining NCS⁴ as a Graduate Assistant in 2021, Stanford received his Bachelor’s Degree in Business Management from the University of Colorado Colorado Springs. During his time in Colorado, he served as Philanthropy Director, Greek Life Programming Director, and was a delegate on the Interfraternity Council for his fraternity of Alpha Sigma Phi. With raising thousands of dollars and performing hours of community service, his fraternity went on to win two Grand Senior President’s Cups, which is the highest award a fraternity can achieve. Stanford received an MBA with an emphasis in Sport Event Security Management from The University of Southern Mississippi in December 2022.
Natalie Williams, MBA
Training Manager / Project Specialist
Natalie Williams is a Training Manager and works on special projects for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security at The University of Southern Mississippi. Her role is to manage special projects for the Center and assist in event planning as well as provide oversight for the training courses offered through NCS⁴. These duties include course and instructor scheduling, ensuring all targets are met, and maintaining the quality of each delivery. She also manages the trainer certification process and leads the coordination and execution of the NCS4 awards for the annual conference.
Before joining NCS4 as a Graduate Assistant in 2022, Williams earned her Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the University of South Alabama. Williams received her Master of Business Administration from The University of Southern Mississippi in July 2023.
Arianna Barksdale, BBA
Arianna Barksdale is a Graduate Assistant at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS⁴). Before joining NCS⁴, she earned a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration while actively participating in the collegiate volleyball program at The University of Southern Mississippi (USM). Barksdale is pursuing a dual master’s degree in Business Administration and Economic Development at USM.
Enzo F. Ferreira, BS
Enzo F. Ferreira is a Graduate Assistant for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security, assisting mainly with research. Before joining NCS⁴, Ferreira earned his bachelor’s degree in Sport Coaching Education with a minor in Sport Management from The University of Southern Mississippi. During his undergraduate studies, he had the opportunity to experience intercollegiate athletics, serving as a Student Manager for the Southern Miss Softball team. A Brazil native, Ferreira also volunteered as an International Student Ambassador, sharing his experience at Southern Miss and helping the international student community with the application process and adaptation at the university.
Aayush Gautam is the Web Developer for the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security. He is an international student from Nepal currently working on his undergraduate degree in Computer Science and Physics at USM. He likes building things, be it apps or engineering projects, and always looks forward to learning new things.
Ryan Theriot, BS
Ryan Theriot is a Graduate Assistant at the National Center for Spectator Sports Safety and Security (NCS⁴). Before joining NCS⁴, he earned his bachelor’s degree in Sport Management from The University of Southern Mississippi (USM). During his undergraduate studies, he had the opportunity to work in athletics with marketing and also competed in the National Collegiate Sports Sales Championship in Atlanta, GA. Theriot is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration at USM.