A charter member of the ownership group that brought baseball to the Valley of the Sun, Ken Kendrick assumed the role of Managing General Partner of the Arizona Diamondbacks in 2004. Since then, the team has reached the postseason 3 times (2007, ‘11, ‘17), including 1 NLCS appearance, while helping reshape downtown and turning the D-backs into one of the top philanthropic entities in the state. Kendrick has an active role in the day-to-day operations of the D-backs and is the organization’s designated representative when Major League Baseball owners convene during the course of the year.
As a commitment to the fans, Kendrick and the D-backs’ ownership group continue to provide the most affordable fan experience throughout Major League Baseball while reinvesting all profits into the team. Under his leadership, through equity and debt restructures, the team has eliminated more than $350 million of debt, putting the franchise on sound financial ground for years to come. Additionally, he led the negotiations with FOX Sports Arizona on a 20-year extension that began in 2016 and is the largest financial transaction in franchise history.
Prior to the 2017 season, Kendrick and club President & CEO Derrick Hall hired Mike Hazen as the club’s Executive Vice President and General Manager who in turn, named Torey Lovullo as the eighth manager in franchise history. The changes led to a 24- game turnaround, a Wild Card game victory and 260-226 record (.535) during the past 3 seasons. During the 2019 offseason, he committed $130 million to free agents and contract extensions.
Kendrick is in his 17th season in his current role and during that time, the franchise has become a model organization in Major League Baseball, reaching the NLCS for the second time (2007), hosting an All-Star Game at Chase Field (2011), opening a Spring Training facility that is widely considered the finest in all of baseball in Salt River Fields at Talking Stick, and becoming one of the largest philanthropic entities in the Valley with charitable contributions topping $70 million since the organization’s inception. In his tenure, ESPN The Magazine has rated the D-backs as the No. 1 team in all of Major League Baseball in its Ultimate Standings, which gauges success both on and off the field and Ranking Arizona has named the team the No. 1 place to work in the state.
While the D-backs are his primary business focus, Kendrick has also helped to change the face of downtown Phoenix, as he is a principal in the development of CityScape, Arizona’s largest commercial/retail real estate development just footsteps from Chase Field, which draws 2 million fans annually.
After receiving a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from West Virginia University in 1965, Kendrick started his career with IBM. Three years later, he founded Datatel, Inc., which has become the worldwide leader in the development of computer software for the management of infrastructure technology for colleges, universities and foundations. In 2011, Datatel acquired SunGard Higher Education for $1.75 billion. The combined companies were renamed Ellucian and were sold in 2015 for $3.5 billion to TPG Capital.
Kendrick also served as President of a Texas-based financial services technology company during the 1980s. In 1989, Kendrick became the principal investor in Woodforest National Bank in The Woodlands, Texas, which is one of the nation’s largest primarily employee-owned banks. Woodforest National Bank, a $6.5-billion entity with 5,000 employees, is a subsidiary of Woodforest Financial Group.
Kendrick also owns Bumble Bee Ranch, which is devoted to providing western lifestyle experiences to children’s charities throughout Arizona in addition to the Ironbridge Golf Club in Glenwood Springs, Colo.
He is very active in many philanthropic endeavors, beginning with his role as Chairman of the Arizona Diamondbacks Foundation. The D-backs organization, combined with its Foundation, has surpassed the $70-million mark in combined charitable giving since its inception, including more than $60 million in the last 14 years.
In 2019, the first 2 Kendrick Family Fields were dedicated at South Mountain Little League and Arcadia Little League, part of an ongoing effort to renovate existing baseball fields around the Valley which is separate from the 42 different fields the team and its Foundation have built in conjunction with APS since 1998.
In 2011, Kendrick received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor from the National Ethnic Coalition (NECO). He and his wife, Randy, were previously named the Living and Giving Honorees for the Desert Southwest Chapter of the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. Kendrick also received the Visionary Award from the Foundation for Blind Children, Spirit of the Children Award from Childhelp USA, Today’s Kids/Tomorrow’s Stars honoree of the Boys & Girls Clubs of Metropolitan Phoenix, River Conservator of the Year by the Roaring Fork Conservancy and was named Man of the Year by the March of Dimes. He also has served on boards for various charities including the Barrow Neurological Institute, Brophy College Prep, the Phoenix Art Museum, The Buddy Program, Childhelp USA, UMOM New Day Centers, Challenger Center for Space Science Education, TGen Foundation, Cleveland Clinic Foundation, Roaring Fork Conservancy, Phoenix Children’s Hospital, Arizona Heart Foundation and is Founding Chairman of the Datatel Scholars Foundation.
As a prostate cancer survivor, Kendrick has made significant contributions over the years to fund research in that field and in 2013, the Cleveland Clinic created The Kendrick Family Chair for Prostate Cancer Research. Among the other endowments funded by Kendrick are Project Excellence, an educational program for inner-city youth at Phoenix Country Day School (PCDS) whose mission is to enrich, engage and empower first-generation students (the first in their families to prepare for higher education) from local public schools and the Loyola Academy, which provides education to sixth, seventh and eighth graders at Brophy College Prep who demonstrate academic promise but have had limited educational opportunities. In addition, Kendrick has supported the Tuzos Soccer Club since 2009 to underwrite the team’s expenses with costs for registration, field-use fees, uniforms and equipment.
An avid baseball card collector his entire life, Kendrick owns the famed T206 Honus Wagner card that was once owned by hockey great Wayne Gretzky. The Wagner card and 45 other iconic and rare baseball cards in Kendrick’s collection, titled “The D-backs Collection,” were previously displayed at the National Baseball Hall of Fame and Museum in Cooperstown, N.Y., and at the Phoenix Art Museum. He was selected for membership in the Professional Sports Authenticator (PSA) Hall of Fame in 2017.
A native of Princeton, W.Va., Kendrick is an alumnus of West Virginia University and sits on the Board of Directors for the WVU Foundation. In 2016, Kendrick spearheaded the dedication of a memorial statue and helped his alma mater endow a scholarship in the name of the late WVU basketball player “Hot Rod” Hundley.
In 2014, he was named Philanthropist of the Year by WVU, one year after receiving an honorary doctorate from the university, considered higher education’s most prestigious recognition.
Kendrick is the founder of the Center for Free Enterprise at WVU and he and his wife have established programs at WVU’s College of Business and Economics focused on free-market research and at the WVU Eye Institute to support children’s vision outreach programs. Kendrick funded the WVU Hall of Traditions, which provides a first-class showcase for the tradition of Mountaineer football and serves as a recruiting focal point at WVU. In 2006, Kendrick was inducted into the state of West Virginia’s Business Hall of Fame and was also named to the WVU Academy of Distinguished Alumni. In 2011, he was inducted into the inaugural Roll of Distinguished Alumni at WVU’s College of Business and Economics. He also sits on an advisory board of the University of Charleston in Charleston, W.Va., where he received an honorary Doctorate degree in 2005. In 2016, torrential rains over parts of West Virginia caused devastating flooding in many counties and Kendrick came to the aid of his home state, setting up a relief program that raised more than $1 million.
Kendrick and his wife founded the Freedom Center at the University of Arizona to promote, along 4 dimensions, the understanding and appreciation of the ideals of freedom and responsibility via published research, undergraduate education, graduate education, and community outreach. The Freedom Center also endows the Kendrick Chair in Philosophy and Economics. The University of Georgia elected Kendrick to its Board of Visitors and its Magill Society and in 2016, he served as the annual guest lecturer at the UGA Terry College of Business Leadership program, a distinction shared by Falcons owner Arthur Blank and the legendary Warren Buffett. He has also underwritten a PhD program at UGA in support of the James C. Bonbright Center.
In 2014, Kendrick was inducted into the Sigma Nu Fraternity National Hall of Fame, an honor bestowed upon less than 60 people in the nearly 150-year history of the organization. Among those enshrined are “Bear” Bryant, Pat Riley, Archie and Eli Manning, Harrison Ford, broadcasters Al Michaels and Joe Buck, as well as former Major League managers Dick Howser and Dallas Green. He was inducted into the Aspen Trashmaster’s Golf Hall of Fame in 2014, and in 2015, he received the Angel Award (Man of the Year) from The Buddy Program. Kendrick was honored with the prestigious Herman W. Lay Memorial Award by the Association of Private Enterprise Education, named for the former Chairman of the Board of Pepsi. The award honors individuals who have emulated the pattern of success and philanthropy that Lay lived while representing the best that the free enterprise system produces.
He and Randy have 2 children, Cal and Catie, and make their home in Paradise Valley.