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Meet The Team

Ashley Harper Cottrell, CSEE, CTA
Project Manager- Maryland Sports
Creative & Web Manager- Maryland Stadium Authority


Ashley Harper Cottrell returned to the mid-Atlantic region in 2009 to intern with her dream organization- a Sports Commission- to fulfill her senior level internship to graduate college. Her major project for that internship was to help develop, design and launch the Maryland Office of Sports Marketing’s website-

After completing her internship, Cottrell was retained by Maryland Sports full-time, a newly created position, to maintain the website and become a go-to member of the working committee for the Baltimore, Maryland/USA Destination bid for the 2018/2022 FIFA World Cup.  She was instrumental in developing the official bid document that was presented to US Bid Committee in July 2009.

Cottrell is now the Project Manager for Maryland Sports operations. Her main duties are managing all interactive, digital and print aspects of Maryland Sports’ portfolio; bid development and event recruitment and/or retention; and overseeing the TEAM Maryland initiative. Maryland Sports is also a division of the Maryland Stadium Authority, and as such, Cottrell full-fills the role of Creative and Web Manager for MSA.

Cottrell is a 2018 Connect Sports Game Changer (more) and 2018 Maryland Daily Record Leading Women honoree. 

Cottrell is a graduate of Georgia Southern University with a B.S. in Sports Management, Concentration in Marketing and Minor in Business, a Digital and Graphic Design certificate from Parsons School of Design/The New School and is accredited as a Certified Sports Event Executive (CSEE) from Sports ETA - formerly National Association of Sports Commissions (NASC).  In addition, Cottrell holds the Certified Tourism Network’s accredited of Certified Tourism Ambassador (CTA).

Graham Whaples

Marketing & Communications Associate

Graham Whaples joined the Maryland Sports Commission in June 2019 as a Marketing and Communications Associate. He started his professional career in broadcasting and local media in 2002. Whaples has reported on more than 20 radio stations throughout the Mid-Atlantic, appearing on affiliates for CBS Radio and Radio One in Baltimore and on televised broadcasts on ESPN 3. In his career, he has served as a play-by-play broadcaster for Salisbury and Stevenson Universities, Navy, and UMBC. As a broadcaster for the Retrievers, Whaples covered nine varsity sports and was as a fill-in reporter for Men’s Basketball during the 2017-2018 season, the same year UMBC shocked the world with its thrilling NCAA March Madness upset of #1-seeded Virginia. 

As an employee at UMBC, Whaples worked in the communications and sports marketing departments. He helped to develop theme nights and promotional giveaways to enhance awareness for UMBC Athletics and increase attendance at events. His duties also included working with local youth organizations to coordinate group outings for sporting events and season ticket sales. He represented UMBC Athletics at the NCAA Emerging Leaders Seminar in Indianapolis in 2019. 

In college, Whaples was selected for the Shriver Center’s Maryland Public Service Scholars Program where he participated in the Governor’s Summer Internship Program. During his internship, he worked with the Maryland’s Best program - the marketing division of the Maryland Department of Agriculture. His duties included writing for the Governor’s Buy Local Cookbook and creating social media posts and videos for the Maryland Farm to School program. He played an instrumental role in helping with the development of a major advertising campaign designed to help crab processing houses on Maryland’s Eastern Shore. 

Whaples has received numerous awards in his professional and academic career. In 2006, he was awarded the Anne Arundel County Executive Award for his work as a news reporter. In 2018, he received the Governor’s Citation for his participation in the Governor’s Summer Internship Program. In 2019, he was awarded the UMBC Athletics Department Leon Upshur Memorial Award for outstanding service to UMBC Athletics. He is also the recipient of the Maryland Comptroller’s Medallion which recognizes Marylanders who makes a difference in their communities.

Whaples earned his Bachelor of Arts Degree from UMBC with a double major in Media Communications Studies and American Studies. He earned his Associate of Arts Degree from Anne Arundel Community College in Transfer Studies with a Communications focus. He lives with his wife Brittany and son Bowen in Anne Arundel County.