Alumni Interview: Jim Nolan ‘91, Chief Operating Officer, Kraft Sports + Entertainment

By Joseph Barbieri | March 31, 2022

I recently had the pleasure of interviewing Jim Nolan, Holy Cross class of 1991. Currently, Nolan is the Chief Operating Officer for Kraft Sports + Entertainment. Kraft Sports + Entertainment “oversees marketing, sales, content development, and event operations for the New England Patriots, the New England Revolution, and Gillette Stadium.” During the interview, we discussed his occupation and life while attending Holy Cross. We also discussed his favorite courses during his undergraduate experience and pieces of advice he would give to current Holy Cross students. While at Holy Cross, Nolan was involved in many extracurricular activities, such as intramural basketball. I would like to thank Jim Nolan for the opportunity to speak with him and learn more about life after Holy Cross.

Tell me a little bit about your pre-Holy Cross years.

I grew up as a local kid in Dedham, MA. My father attended Holy Cross and graduated with the class of 1961. My earliest memories at Holy Cross include tailgates at Fitton Field and attending basketball games where I was able to watch Ronnie Perry. I attended Boston College High School and knew I always wanted to go to Holy Cross. While I applied to other schools, I remained hopeful that I would get into Holy Cross. After getting accepted to Holy Cross, I decided to double major in Economics and Accounting, as I knew that business was the path for me.

What activities did you enjoy as a student?

I was involved in many activities during my time at Holy Cross. From Freshman year to Junior year, I was on the crew team at Holy Cross. I also enjoyed writing articles for the student paper. Actually, my editor was Bill Simmons. I remember writing silly articles for the paper trying to make my friends laugh. Besides that, I also remember the countless hours of pick- up basketball. My first real experience with sports came when I served as the intramural basketball commissioner, which had over 50 teams and about 500 kids playing.

What was your favorite class at Holy Cross?

There were a lot of classes that I took at Holy Cross that really interested me. I remember a social ethics class I took during my senior year at Holy Cross. It was an area I never explored and the class really made you think about human issues away from Holy Cross. Many live tough lives outside Holy Cross and feel aggrieved. This is all happening under our noses and it awakened me to the world around me. I left the class wondering how to make the world a better place. The two pieces of advice that I would give to Holy Cross students are to never put limits on your potential and to be honest, hardworking, and loyal. Coming out of Holy Cross, the sky’s the limit. Being honest, hardworking, and loyal is the right way to approach life after Holy Cross. I always looked at the people around me and I always wanted to outwork them.

Can you tell me about your role as Chief Operating Officer for Kraft Sports + Entertainment? How did you end up with this job?

My role as Chief Operating Officer for Kraft Sports + Entertainment sees me guide all of the non-football- related parts of the organization. My goal is to ensure that customer service is top- notch and that we can give everyone an amazing experience while at Gillette Stadium. While we can’t control the on- the- field issues, we want to give people the opportunity to unplug and relax from their daily lives. I am very fortunate to have worked for the Kraft family for twenty-six seasons. If I could have done something different, I definitely would have gotten involved with an entrepreneurial company. To build something from the ground up is special and to have a small group of people take an idea and build a business around it is also amazing.