Former Santa Clara basketball star Bill Duffy ’82 is now one of the most successful and respected player agents in professional sports. He has represented more than 75 athletes during his career, including nine NBA first-round draft picks and number one picks Michael Olowokandi (1998) and Yao Ming (2001). He also represents All-Star guard and fellow SCU alumnus Steve Nash ’96 and 2004 Rookie of the Year runner-up Carmelo Anthony.
This year, Sports Illustrated named him one of the “101 Most Influential Minorities in Sports.”
Duffy, 44, runs BDA Sports Management from his Walnut Creek Home, where he lives with his wife, Jamese, and five children, ages 2 to 11. He has represented pro athletes around the world for more than 15 years.
The 6’-4” Duffy transferred to Santa Clara before the 1981 season after starting his career at the University of Minnesota.
“At Minnesota, I felt focused on athletics. At Santa Clara, academics were the priority,” says Duffy, who was Santa Clara’s 1982 Scholar Athlete of the Year. Despite playing with a broken wrist during his junior year, he led the team in steals. As a senior, he was the team’s leading scorer. After being named a District 8 Academic All-American, Duffy was the fourth pick of the Denver Nuggets in the 1982 NBA draft.
In April, he was inducted into SCU’s Athletic Hall of Fame. He is also a member of his high school’s hall of fame and in 1998 and 2002 was named Agent of the Year by the Black Sports Agents Association.
The former general humanities major credits SCU for its “ability to promote the development of a well-rounded individual.”
In a 2003 interview with espn.com, Duffy said his goal is to provide “competent representation…by focusing on the development of our clients as people and humanitarians and just making sure that they value and appreciate the situation they’re in.”
Carroll Williams, Duffy’s head coach at Santa Clara, applauds his former player’s ethical approach to player representation.
“It shows there’s a niche in his field for such a highly principled and successful person as Bill Duffy,” Williams says. Current SCU head basketball coach Dick Davey calls Duffy, “the highest-quality person I have ever known. Bill is one of my best friends.”
Duffy has advice for current Santa Clara students: “Take full advantage of the small student-teacher ratio by having discussions with your professors,” he says. “Take those lessons and relationships into the business world where they will benefit you greatly.”
– Dick Degnon was SCU’s athletic news director from 1962 to 1981.