Rick Nafe, SMA Board Member, Seminar Chair, Friend

Our dear friend passed away May 27th.

Rick Nafe attended his first meeting of what would become SMA in 1980 and has been a driving force in making this organization what is today, in the nearly forty years since.

He led the charge (some would call it a revolt) at the 1986 meeting in New Orleans – where the attendees had to spend the afternoon following Super Bowl XX sitting on their luggage in the hotel lobby waiting for the previous guests to check out - to formally create Stadium Managers Association. He played host to every annual seminar since, always finding the humor in the absurdity of everyday life, and always making certain that everyone was entertained.

His vision of Stadium Managers Association was to be the group that provided educational sessions in an enjoyable way, and to provide experiences that few others ever get to experience.

Arrangements for honoring Rick’s life are linked below. Please be sure to remember Rick as he would want to be remembered – a friend with an incredible appreciation for all that life had to offer.

Rick Nafe

Rick Nafe served as the Tampa Bay Rays Major League Baseball team as Vice President of Operations & Facilities from 1996 until his retirement in 2019 . Prior to joining the Rays in 1997, he served as Director of Operations at Tampa Stadium and Executive Director of the Tampa Sports Authority. He served as President of the SMA from 1986 to 1997, and has been Program Chairman and has acted as Emcee of the SMA Annual Seminar since 1986. His lifetime career in the industry as a leader, and his exceptional contribution to the Association exemplify SMA’s mission to provide resources to assist professional and collegiate stadium managers in achieving the highest level of facility administration and operation.

Rick was happiest at SMA and with his wife, Dana, and their children, Lauren Katie Parker and Travis.

Memorial Donations

Rick's family has noted that donations in Rick's honor may be made to the Stadium Managers Association Education Foundation.