Time & Location
May 18, 2022, 7:00 AM
About the event
Attorney Adolpho Birch III, Chief Legal Officer and Senior VP for Business Affairs -Tennessee Titans
When Attorney Adolpho Birch III returned home to Nashville in 2020, it wasn’t to join one of the powerful pedigreed law firms, though with his name and his considerable stature as a lawyer, any of them would have been glad to have him.
He came back to work for the hometown football team, and he brought an immense amount of know-how with him. For 23 years, Birch held legal positions with the National Football League at their headquarters in New York City, earning the title of Senior Vice President of Labor Policy and League Affairs. He was an advisor to NFL Commissioners Paul Tagliabue and Roger Goodell.
Birch’s Nashville roots run deep. His father, the late Justice Adolpho Birch Jr., was a legal icon: He was the first African American Chief Justice of the Tennessee Supreme Court and served in every level of the state’s judiciary system. Nashville’s criminal justice building bears the elder Birch’s name. The younger Birch’s mother, the late Dr. Janet W. Birch, was a professor at Meharry Medical College.
Attorney Birch grew up in Nashville, graduating in 1984 from Father Ryan High School. As a Patricia Roberts Harris Scholar, he earned his JD in 1991 at Vanderbilt University School of Law after receiving his bachelor’s degree with honors from Harvard University. His first law job was clerking for Chief Judge Thomas Wiseman of the U.S. District Court of Middle Tennessee.
In the 1990s, Birch was an associate with a couple of law firms in Houston, including the venerable Fulbright & Jaworski. He took the position in 1997 at NFL headquarters. Among the areas where he held pivotal roles for the league: labor negotiations, player support (continuing education, financial education, career development, clinical assistance), and integrity of the game (substance abuse, performance enhancing drugs, gambling, criminal misconduct).
Today, Birch sits on the Vanderbilt Board of Trust, chairing a committee that is developing policies on equity, diversity, and inclusion. He was elected in 2021 to the Ingram Industries’ Board of Directors. He also is a Director for the Horseracing Integrity and Safety Authority.
Tina Tuggle, Vice President of Community Impact, Tennessee Titans
It was 1997 when a big guy came over to the table where Tina Tuggle was sitting with co-workers at Rhodes University in Memphis. “Which one of you is Tina?” he asked. “May I speak with you?”
In less than a week, the Oilers, Tennessee’s new NFL team, would play an exhibition game in Memphis, and they were spending a few days at Rhodes. Tina had overheard some of the coaches saying they didn’t have computer equipment to print what they needed for practice, and she offered them her computer and office.
The big guy in the cafeteria? That was Head Coach Jeff Fisher, who would ask Tina if she wanted to join the team’s administrative staff. She met that Saturday with Fisher and the late and legendary General Manager Floyd Reese, and she has been with the team we now call the Titans ever since.
By 2007, Tina was named Director of Player Development, helping new players transition into – and sometimes out of – their lives as Titans. She was appointed Director of Community Relations in 2015 on her way to her current role as Vice President for Community Impact. She oversees all Titans community relations activities, working with numerous non-profit agencies in the Nashville area and with the Titans Foundation.
In an interview last year for the NFL’s Next Woman Up series, Tina said:
“We are in certain positions because we belong. It's not because you are the first woman or the first Black woman. It's because you have done the work, someone recognized and rewarded you for that, and now you need to prove to them that you are supposed to be in that space.
“I love what I do and love the opportunities that were afforded to me, but I did the work, and I'm OK saying that.”