Jim Host
Founder Host Communications, Retired

Jim Host was the founder of Host Communications, a College Sports Marketing and Association Management Company, which began in 1972.

Growing up in Ashland, Kentucky, he obtained one of the first two full Baseball Scholarships given by the University of Kentucky (UK) in 1955. During his time at UK, he started doing play by play of college and high school sports and created the Kentucky Central UK Network, which was one of five UK originations of radio networks.

He graduated with an AB Degree in Radio Arts. He played one year of Pro Baseball with the Chicago White Sox as a pitcher before injuring his arm, which forced his retirement from the game.

In 1967, Host became the youngest Cabinet officer for Governor Louie Nunn. He was Commissioner of Public Information and Tourism. He became Commissioner of Parks and the founding Chairman of the Kentucky Horse Park Commission in 1969. The State Horse Park hosted the World Equestrian Games (WEG) in 2010. He was the Chairman of WEG from 2006 to 2009. He became the oldest Cabinet Officer for Governor Ernie Fletcher in 2003 as Secretary of Commerce after retiring from Host Communications.

In January of 1972, what became Host Communications was begun as Jim Host and Associates. His first client was the Lexington Tourist and Convention Commission. This led to the formation of the Lexington Center Corporation, which built Rupp Arena. He served both groups as their first Executive Director.

In 1974, Jim Host and Associates acquired the radio rights to UK Sports, which led to the NCAA radio network rights in 1975. Soon, conferences like the SEC and the Southwest Conference became clients of Host. Institutions like Notre Dame, Michigan, Florida State, and South Carolina as well as a number of others became clients as well.

In 1983, the company introduced the NCAA Corporate Partner Program. Before this time, there was no licensing of similar programs in College Athletics. In 1998, Host created the NCAA Football logo; a pennant shaped logo to promote the college football game as an alternative to the NFL logo.

He retired as CEO of Host Communications in 2003, and became Secretary of Commerce for Kentucky, until November of 2005. He then became Chairman of the Louisville Arena Authority, which built the KFC YUM Center, serving until 2012. When the Arena was dedicated on October 10, 2010, the 14,000 square foot lobby was named Host Hall in his honor.

Host is a member of the UK Alumni Association Hall of Distinguished Alumni, was named Outstanding Alumnus of the College of Communications ; received the Excellence in Public Relations Award from the UK Journalism School and is a member of the UK Athletics Hall of Fame. He has also been honored with a number of Regional and National awards including being inducted in the National College Basketball Hall of Fame, as well as the National Tourism Hall of Fame.

He is presently serving as a member of the Executive Committee of SOAR as appointed by Governor Steve Beshear and Congressman Hal Rogers.

He is married to Patricia Quantrell Host and lives in Lexington. Both have 2 children and together have 8 grandchildren.