Alumni

Former Huskies Reunite in NYC at Alumni Event

Sport Management alumni gather together for a Happy Hour event in front of Cask Restaurant in NYC.Members of the UConn Sport Management program, all gathered together on June 27 at the Cask Restaurant and Bar in New York City as part of a summer alumni networking event and celebration.

The happy hour lasted into the night, as the alumni, faculty and fellow huskies working in sport shared appetizers, laughs and old memories from their days at UConn. Attendees included alumni from the recent graduating class of 2016, as well as those who were members of the undergraduate class of 2004.

Drs. Laura Burton, Joseph Cooper and Jennifer McGarry (Bruening), Sport Management’s faculty, were also in attendance, along with current undergraduate student and Sport Management intern Cristy Vincente.

Sport Management alumni pictured together at the Happy Hour event at Cask Restaurant in NYC.The second annual happy hour event provided the opportunity for alumni in the greater NYC area to reunite, connect and continue to build relationships with those in similar career paths and academic backgrounds.

The Sport Management program is always looking for ways to connect its alumni with one another after graduating.

The UConn Sport Management program is excited for its next alumni event, where alumni and graduate students will meet in the Hartford, CT area at Salute restaurant on August 24.  For more information or to register, please visit our Summer Networking Event.

For photos from the event, visit Neag’s Facebook page.

Sport Management Alumn Hosts Brown Bag Event

Sport Management Alum, Mikio Yoshimura at Brown Bag eventSport Management alumnus Mikio Yoshimura, who currently works as the Asian Business Development Specialist for the Boston Red Sox, served as the guest speaker at a Brown Bag Luncheon in Boston on Tuesday, June 13.

The event, put on by the Japan Society of Boston, was titled “Japan and the Red Sox: A View from Inside.” During the luncheon, Yoshimura shared experiences about all the work that the Red Sox organization and Fenway Park have done with Japan.

UConn Sport Management congratulates Yoshimura for this accomplishment and looks forward to seeing all that he will achieve in the future with this organization.

26.2 Miles Run, $3,500 Raised: The length one Sport Management grad went to support student athletes

Dover holding up her number after running the Boston Marathon.Kydani Dover, a 2007 Sport Management Master’s graduate, ran the Boston Marathon for the first time this April to fundraise for a nonprofit, youth development organization that supports students’ academic achievement through athletics.

Boston Scholar Athletes works to assist student athletes at the high school level in three areas: academic coaching and mentoring, health and wellness and post-secondary planning, said Dover, who has worked for the organization since August of 2016. It aims to bridge the achievement gap in urban public high schools, 19 of which are in Boston and three in Springfield, Massachusetts.

Dover, along with five others from the organization, ran the 121st annual Marathon with a goal of raising $50,000 altogether. Through their efforts garnering support from friends, family, co-workers and local businesses, they have raised approximately $40,000 in total so far.Kydani Dover's Boston Marathon apparel - shirt, jacket, number, marathon patch.

In the months leading up to the marathon, Dover said she was stressed due to the pressure to constantly train and raise money. Even after completing the 26.2 mile race, she agreed that the preparation was the most difficult aspect of it all.

“Running the marathon was one of the best experiences that I’ve had, everyone was running for different charities and it was kind of like a community event,” Dover said. “It was something that was good not only for everyone in Boston but people all around the country. There’s people from all over the world, crowds cheering you on, it’s really just a one-of-a-kind experience.”

Dover added that despite her doubt regarding whether she would be able to finish, all of her training and hard work paid off as she maintained her endurance to make it through the end.

Kydani Dover running the Boston Marathon to raise money for Boston Scholars.A competitive swimmer in high school and at UConn, Dover picked up running to stay in shape after her athletic career ended. She said that she thought the marathon would be a great opportunity to do something that she enjoyed while also being able to give back at the same time.

The money raised by Dover and the rest of her Boston Scholar Athletes team will support the organization’s efforts to increase both academic performance and high school and college graduation rates. According to her fundraising page, a $100 contribution will provide one student with the materials needed to complete a year-long SAT prep while $1,000 will provide 100 members with a college campus visit.

Dover’s hard work paid off greatly, and the Sport Management program at her alma mater is very proud of all that she did, and continues to do, to benefit the Boston Scholar Athletes organization.

Student-athletes forced to jump through hoops: Graduate student Pat McKenna on his time with UConn women’s basketball program

Pat McKenna HeadshotPat McKenna, the UConn Associate Director of Athletic Communications and current Sport Management graduate student, works primarily with the women’s basketball team. He shares his experiences working with the organization, specifically while at the NCAA Final Four, and discusses the strenuous responsibilities that these student athletes have during that time, in addition to winning games.

I have had the privilege of serving as the primary media relations contact for the UConn women’s basketball team for the past six years. Each of those years has ended in a trip to the NCAA Final Four and the last four seasons have successfully concluded with the Huskies hoisting the NCAA national championship trophy.

Though traveling with the Huskies to the Final Four has been both exciting and rewarding, it has also become apparent that the NCAA and ESPN seem to have little regard for dedicating free time to student athletes. The rigorous schedule that the players, especially the five starters, are forced to endure during the days leading up to the national semifinal makes it difficult for them to make their performances in the game the priority.

The Division I NCAA Women’s Basketball Championship Final Four was held in Indianapolis in 2016, a great host city due to the fully-equipped Bankers Life Fieldhouse that offers several hotels in close proximity, allowing teams a short commute to and from the arena. But before the four competing teams are able to participate in any kind of competition, they are required to run through a gauntlet of media responsibilities, beginning two days before the national semifinal.UConn Women's Basketball team participates in a round table discussion at the NCAA Final Four Tournament.

In my three previous Final Four experiences, this session took place at the arena. However, in 2016, it was instead held at the palatial NCAA headquarters. I must admit that the setup of the NCAA headquarters was ideal, due to the fact that the building offers several large rooms in close proximity, making it easy to travel from one requirement to the next.

On the Friday before the national semifinal, I drove the five starters and Geno Auriemma to the NCAA headquarters in an NCAA courtesy van, armed only with our itinerary that included constant media responsibilities from 10:15 a.m. to 1:00 p.m. All six Huskies knew what was ahead of them when we met that morning, which is why none of them seemed very happy to see me.

The first item on the agenda was a “tease shoot” for ESPN and NCAA.com. During this 50 minute session, each player and coach is asked to perform a variety of tasks, including but not limited to staring at the camera in an intimidating fashion, yelling excitedly and answering questions asked by ESPN and NCAA.com producers. These clips are then displayed during the game broadcast on ESPN and online on ESPN.com, ESPNw.com and NCAA.com.

Some of the NCAA representatives and I were able to corral everyone and bring them down the hall to the Summitt and Wooden rooms, where all six Huskies met with the ESPN production team for a half hour to hold off-camera interviews. The talent team, consisting of Beth Mowins, Doris Burke and Holly Rowe, was in attendance for this session, along with game producer Phil Dean and several other ESPN employees who play an integral role in the game broadcast.

This half hour is valuable for the production crew because it provides an opportunity for them to gather background information from the players and from Coach Auriemma that they can then use during the broadcast. It also offers a chance for the organization’s members to get to know the players a little better and to further comprehend the mindset of the team. All of the players, and especially Coach Auriemma, feel comfortable talking candidly with this group as its members are both trustworthy and professional. Everyone truly enjoys working with all of the organization employees.

Once the HuskiesBreanna Stewart, UConn Women's Basketball player stands in front of green screen as part of a photo shoot at the NCAA Final Four Tournament. have wrapped up with the production crew, the team rotates to different rooms where they hold discussions with the Westwood One radio crew and film some additional light-hearted, on-camera antics to be used on the in-arena video board.

With all the hoops that this team is forced to jump through, it can oftentimes become pushed to the side what they are truly here to do – win a national championship. If the team were to lose that vision, even for only one second, they would be brought back to reality very quickly at the start of practice following our time at the NCAA headquarters.

Former Husky Returns to UConn for Professional Networking Opportunity

Brent Colborne, ESPN’s Director of Programming and Acquisitions, graduated from the University of Connecticut in 2005 with a B.S. in Business Administration and a minor in Sport Management.

Brent Colborne speaking at Sport Business ConferenceThough he has been a UConn alumnus for 12 years, Colborne’s dedication to the university and its current students has remained persistent during his time at ESPN.

On Feb. 13, Colborne and his programming team visited UConn and attended a networking event hosted by the Sport Management program to discuss their experiences working in the sport industry with juniors and seniors in the program.

Colborne shared that one of the most challenging aspects of his professional career was ultimately getting his foot in the door with ESPN, and mentioned that he might not have been able to do so without the help of the faculty at UConn.

While taking a Sport Management class taught by Dr. Jennifer (Bruening) McGarry, Colborne was introduced to three executives from ESPN, all of who still work with him in the programming department. Having met one of them a few weeks prior at an ESPN career fair and connecting with her a couple of times after, the rest was history. He provided her with his resume, she passed it on, and he interviewed and was offered an internship with the organization during the spring semester of his senior year.

Colborne acknowledged that one of his favorite parts about returning to campus that day was having the ability to do for current students what previous professors and executives did for him during his time at UConn.

Brent Colborne joined Sport Management students at an ESPN Networking event, spring 2017“Being able to pay it forward to the Dr. McGarry’s of the world – I wouldn’t be where I am now if it weren’t for her and other people who were there when I was there,” he said. “I was looking at it as an opportunity to give what I wish I had when I was a junior or senior back to students at UConn, and that was the most rewarding experience.”

Though he enjoyed showing his colleagues the place where he had spent four years of his life, Colborne was excited to network with current students and provide them with valuable advice regarding their future careers and aspirations in the sport industry.

“Take advantage of what UConn has to offer,” he said. “We’ve got unbelievable facilities, best-in-class teams at all levels, so for someone who wants to work in the sport field and not take advantage of those opportunities with successful teams and great venues would be a disservice to that major.”

DIRECTV/ WNBA #WatchMeWork Tour Experience with UConn Alumna Xaimara Coss

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DIRECTV/ WNBA #WatchMeWork Tour Experience with UConn Alumni Xaimara Coss

Written By Harold Bentley III, Class of 2017

Recently DIRECTV and the WNBA concluded with its #WatchMeWork tour in Santiago, Chile as the tour’s final destination. To create an intimate environment, the #WatchMeWork tour had 30 young at each panel that ultimately reached 120 women in total, across Bogota, Guayaquil, Buenos Aires and Santiago. These diverse, high school aged women came the DIRECTV Escuela+ schools, local basketball clubs and the Special Olympics.

UConn Sport ManagemenSMt Alumna, Xaimara Coss took part in the DIRECTV/WNBA #WatchMeWork tour, in Buenos Aires and Santiago, as a panelist representative for the NBA.   Others that contributed to the DIRECTV/WNBA #WatchMeWork tour included Brooklynettes dancer, Melissa Ramos and WNBA legend, Allison Feaster who attended all of the panels throughout the tour. In addition, Stephanie Vieira represented the NBA on the panels in Bogota and Guayaquil. The DIRECTV panelists included a local reporter in Ecuador and representatives from numerous departments across DIRECTV in the other markets. Combined, the panelists offered an impressive perspective on diverse career paths throughout the sports/entertainment industry and served to inspire young women to advance their own professional pursuits.

Xaimara described her experience as being extremely grateful for the opportSMunity and thankful to have participated in the DIRECTV/WNBA #WatchMeWork tour.  Xaimara was tasked with sharing her journey in sports with these young women, ages 13-18, in the hopes that she could inspire and encourage them.  In response, she noted that in actuality, it was her that was inspired by these young women.

In addition, based on Xaimara’s opinion, the DIRECTV/WNBA #WatchMeWork tour defines the organization’s vision for Corporate and Social Responsibility. Xaimara mentioned this experience was more than just a simple idea which led to creating a panel and organizing clinics, it was a huge achievement for the WNBA and a great way to celebrate 20 years of accomplishments.  The collaboration with DIRECTV proved to be a successful one and their team did an extraordinary job in every city.

A big congratulations to Xaimara for being a proud UConn Alumna and terrific NBA ambassador!

April 7 – Washington DC Area SMP Alumni Event @ Clyde’s of Gallery Place

April 7 – Washington DC Area SMP Alumni Event @ Clyde’s of Gallery Place

Attention all Washington DC UConn Sport Management Family alumni!

Be sure to join Dr. Jennifer McGarry (formerly Bruening) and your fellow UConn SMP alumni at Clyde’s of Gallery Place on April 7, 2016 at 7pm for an evening of friendship and networking in Washington DC.

To RSVP, or to ask any questions, please contact Dr. McGarry directly at jennifer.mcgarry@uconn.edu.

We look forward to seeing you there!