One of the best-known forces in regional sports tourism is coming back to West Alabama to back the city of Northport's efforts to build a state-of-the-art sports complex on the banks of the Black Warrior River.

Don Staley retired as president and CEO at Tuscaloosa Tourism & Sports in 2022 and moved to Florida, which serves as the home base for his own SNAP Sports Tourism Consulting company.

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Since leaving Tuscaloosa, Staley has lent aid to the Huddle up Group umbrella in Asheville, North Carolina, Sebring, Florida, and Lake Charles and Cajun Coast, Louisiana and helped land championship host sites for the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference in Shreveport, Louisiana, Decatur, Alabama, and Jackson, Mississippi under the SNAP umbrella.

Like legendary Bama coach Paul "Bear" Bryant, Staley said "Mama called" and he knew it was time to get back to West Alabama. In a Thursday press release, Staley said SNAP will make Northport its home and focus on supporting the city of Northport's planned sports complex at Kentuck Park.

“I’ve come to the realization Alabama will always be our home and have begun the process of relocation back to a place we’ve lived & loved for over 30 years," Staley said. “I started my Sports Tourism career here and look forward to ending it here! This is the opportunity of a lifetime to return home and finish what I started before the tornado in 2011 and again in 2017 when I returned from Foley, Alabama. Much like the $32.5 million Foley Sports Tourism Complex project I headed up and completed, these Northport projects have a similar feel."

Staley said the vision of Northport's city council, mayor John Hinton, city administrator Glenda Webb and city engineer Tera Tubbs played a major role in bringing him back to West Alabama.

"The leadership in Northport, Alabama has been steadfast in building first-class facilities like so many other cities around the southeast and in Alabama, so I look forward to supporting those initiatives that will help provide local area residents top-notch facilities while creating significant return-on-investment from the ever-expanding tournament travel sector."

For more from Staley and the city of Northport as all three of their major recreational projects advance, stay connected to the Tuscaloosa Thread.

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