Events

Summer Networking Series: Sport Management Alumni Reunite in Hartford

Sport Managemnt Event in Hartford
Sport Management alumni and friends gathered for an evening of networking on Aug. 24, 2017.

The UConn Sport Management program held its third annual summer networking event at the Salute Restaurant in downtown Hartford, Conn. on August 24.

The night was filled with many laughs and stories shared between alumni, faculty and sport professionals, paired with great food and drinks. The event served as an opportunity for the programs’ alumni to reconnect in a positive, outdoor atmosphere.

Many of the incoming Sport Management graduate students were also in attendance at this years event and were able to meet with some of the established and successful alumni who are still in the area.

Attendees included Sport Management faculty members Dr. Laura Burton, Dr. Joseph Cooper and Dr. Jennifer McGarry. Several alumni who are currently working with UConn Athletics were also present at the event, including Kristina Tedford, Danielle Upham and Jason Lublin.

Sport Managemnt Event in Hartford
Sport Management alumni and friends gathered for an evening of networking on Aug. 24, 2017.

Members of the Sport Management faculty, staff and internship programs who planned this networking event enjoyed providing an opportunity for alumni to stay connected with the program, as well as the new and past individuals who will always be a part of it.

The event marked a perfect end to the summer and an exciting start to the upcoming school year. As the fall semester commences, the program is looking forward to the annual Career Night in Sport, which will be held on October 17. Information and registration for this event can be found on the Sport Management website, under ‘Upcoming Events,’ or by visiting the event page.  clicking this link.

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.

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!

Issues in Sports: Athletes and Activism

Issues in Sports: Athletes and Activism

Round table talk explores athletes’ place as role models, activists

Article written by Kimberly Armstrong, re-published courtesy of The Daily Campus

Student athletes and sports management experts met Thursday morning in the CLAS building to explore athletes’ places as role models and activists.

The round table talk, “Issues in Sports: Athletes and Activism,” was the third and final lecture of Wura Olusekun’s special project for the sports management master’s program. Olusekun said the goal of the panel was to challenge the perception that athletes should remain neutral in public and to encourage conversations about race at the University of Connecticut.

“These conversations are extremely important and they give us the opportunity to see athletes as multidimensional,” Olusekun said during her introduction.

There’s a difference between being a role model and an activist, though, assistant professor of sports management Joseph Cooper said during the panel. While other people can choose athletes as their role models, he explained, athletes have to choose to be activists.

“Similar to the notion that sports don’t operate in a vacuum, we as individuals don’t exist in a vacuum. Our multiple identities are always present,” Cooper said. “I just think taking the time to educate yourself on these issues is important.”

Cooper, whose work involves studying stereotypes about players’ abilities based on race and other factors, said athletes must be empowered to take a stand on issues they care about.

While today’s players have brought attention to the Black Lives Matter movement by wearing black on the court and even boycotting games, one of the best known instances of athlete activism occurred at the 1968 Olympics when track and field stars Tommie Smith and John Carlos supported the Black Power movement by raising their fists in solidarity on the podium.

Morgan Tuck, forward for the UConn women’s basketball team and an 8th-semester business management major, said she thinks it’s important for players to be informed and to experience college life beyond the court. Tuck, for example, joined a sorority and does community service in her free time.

“I think as athletes we kind of live in a bubble, so some of these social justice issues we don’t really experience,” Tuck said. “As athletes we do have a voice and we should use it.”

Tuck said she began to recognize her power to push change as a UConn athlete when a fan asked her to record a video congratulating her and her girlfriend on their recent engagement. While the young women’s parents weren’t entirely comfortable with same sex marriage at the start, Tuck said the video helped smooth things over for the lovestruck Huskies.

Reaching out to the community can also help student athletes figure out who they are off the field, said Joshua Marriner, a former UConn football player currently competing on the track team. Marriner, an 8th-semester communications major, does service projects with his fraternity in addition to working with minority athletes at Project Uplift.

“They were able to actually build me as a man and teach me that I have other things going for myself besides athletics,” Marriner said. “It took me branching out to realize that I need to grow as more than just an athlete because one day athletics is going to be over for me and who am I going to be after that?”

Marriner said it’s also important to be a positive example for the next generation of kids who look up to the players they see on TV.

“Even if it’s not on the field, they need to know that they can make it in other ways in their life,” Marriner said.

Marquise Vann, a former UConn football player and 8th-semester urban and community studies major, said he views being a good role model as an obligation.

“The way I think about it is without someone being there to support me there is no way I would be at the University of Connecticut,” said Vann, who credits his grandmother with pushing him to succeed.

UConn SMP Students Volunteer for the USWNT

Student Focus: Volunteering for the US Women’s National Soccer Team

Written By Sofia Read
Sofia Read

On Wednesday April 6, 2016, the Sport Management students, staff, and friends, had the unique opportunity to volunteer at the U.S. Women’s National Team game vs Colombia at Pratt & Whitney Stadium at Rentschler Field in Hartford, Connecticut. Despite the rather colder weather conditions, there was a fantastic turnout to support the reigning World Cup Champions.

The volunteer opportunity was organized through The U.S. Soccer Federation and their analytics department. Our primary responsibility was to recruit fans to participate in a quick survey created by the Federation. The survey included basic questions related to demographics, the family or individuals’ fandom, and knowledge of U.S. Soccer product and services. Volunteers arrived approximately 2 hours before kick-off for a brief run down of duties and expectations. We all received U.S. Soccer Shirts featuring the new logo to wear during the game. From the time the gates opened to kick-off, we spread ourselves throughout the concourse to collect responses for the survey.

Although it was an unusually cold April evening, it was exciting and impressive to see so many passionate fans draped in red, white, & blue. In addition, many fans were openly supportive of the recent U.S. Women’s National Team wage discrimination lawsuit.

Screen Shot 2016-04-09 at 9.27.09 AMThe team dominated on the attack and beat Colombia 7-0, scoring a speedy 4 goals in just 12 minutes. Crystal Dunn, Allie Long, Mallory Pugh, Carli Lloyd, Tobin Heath, and Christen Press all tallied impressive goals on the night. Colombia and The U.S. Women will meet again on April 10th, at Talen Energy Stadium in Chester, Pennsylvania.

This exciting volunteer opportunity allowed us to not only witness a great soccer game, but also gain experience in fan engagement and organizational practices. Overall, it was a rewarding experience that provided sport management students the ability to gain additional insight into the industry.

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!

UConn Sport Management Students Attend McCormack Future Industry Leaders Conference at UMass Amherst

UConn Sport Management Students Attend McCormack Future Industry Leaders Conference at UMass Amherst

(Top, left to right): Michael Niegro (’16), Dylan Kartchner (’17), Matthew Bloomgarden (’17), Glynn Johnson (’18), Paul Wettemann (’18), Jaelin Johnson (’18). (Bottom, left to right): Angela Altamura (’16), Aaron Ryley (’17), Daniel Carrick (’18) and Christos Schwarz (’18)
Written By Christos Schwarz
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Christos Schwarz (’18)

After leaving the McCormack Future Industry Leaders Conference in February of 2015, I felt like I had taken a large first step towards my goal to become a sport professional. Even though I had been a member of the UConn Sport Business Association for a semester, and at the time was the newly elected Associate Vice President, I had only just started working in the Video Services division of UConn Athletics. While I had learned many pieces of advice from the various professionals that the SBA hosts as guest speakers, I hadn’t been able to use nearly any of it yet. I got a great opportunity that day to use what I had learned in my first experiential learning environment. I went on to tell other students I learned more that day about Sport Management than any other in my first year at UConn.

It was the second year of the McCormack Future Industry Leaders Conference, and I was excited to get back. Our group of ten students powered through an early wake up and arrived in Amherst at 8AM, excited to be greeted and welcomed into the Isenberg School of Management. There we were served breakfast, and took some time to get to know some of the other UConn students on the trip I didn’t previously know, as well as reconnect with some familiar faces from the year prior. The event began soon after with the keynote speaker, Ben Percia, who is the VP of Platform Development at Fenway Sport Management. He spoke about his path to where he is today, and being able to leave your comfort zone in order to reach new heights of your career. He mentioned how he felt slightly uncomfortable giving his first keynote address, but it’s an experience that he was glad to get and he hopes he will be asked to do again sometime in the future. Following the keynote, we were dismissed to our workshop groups.

This year, the conference had five segments; Event and Facility Management, Sport Finance, Sport Sales, Representation and Sport Marketing. I was in the Sales group, lead by Preetam Sen, a Director of Partnership Sales for Manchester City FC and City Football Group, and Ryan England, a Manager of Premium Partnerships for the New York Jets. For our workshop, we were grouped with students from other schools, and our task was to present as a New York sports team to the fictional Bank of Gotham on why they should become a corporate sponsor of ours. The sales professionals provided valuable feedback and advice to the groups as they presented, and even when they had constructive criticism they reminded us “it’s business, don’t ever take it personally.”

Once the workshops wrapped up, a networking hour began in the Isenberg Atrium. We continued to talk with professionals, and of course made sure we got good pictures in our business professional attire to update our LinkedIn profiles with. Afterwards, the final event of the program began, the ‘Young Guns’ panel. This year’s group featured professionals who work in the New York, Boston and Atlanta markets, and offered advice on how to stay up to date on the dealings in the industry, do’s and don’t’s of interviews, and advice for applying to jobs and internships. Following that, there was time to briefly network with a few more professionals, and then the day was done. Another successful McCormack Future Industry Leaders Conference was in the books, and I applaud UMass’ entire Sport Management community, especially the Committee’s Chair Nicholas Kaminski, on a job well done. I really hope to be able to continue to participate in this conference in the future.

Going to this event the past two years has inspired myself and other students to put on an event like this at UConn. While we are still in the planning stages, we now have a team in place and are confident we will be able to accomplish what our friends at UMass have been able to. They have been a great help to us so far, and I trust they will continue to be.

DON’T MISS IT! Book Signing and Q&A with “INDENTURED” author Joe Nocera – March 8, 4:00-6:00pm

Book Signing and Q&A with “INDENTURED” author Joe Nocera – March 8, 4:00-6:00pm

Images courtesy of Joe Nocera and Penguin Random House

DON’T MISS IT!

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Author Joe Nocera

Joe Nocera, New York Times journalist and columnist, and an author of the new book, “Indentured: The Inside Story of the Rebellion Against the NCAA” is coming to the UConn Storrs Campus for a book signing event which will be held on Tuesday, March 8, 2016 from 4:00pm-6:00pm at the Storrs Center Bookstore. The event will include a moderated interview and question and answer dialogue.

Click here for the NY Times review of the book.Screen Shot 2016-03-02 at 10.47.12 AM

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Issues in Sport: Diversity in Sport Leadership

Issues in Sport: Diversity in Sport Leadership

Article written by Kimberly Armstrong, re-published courtesy of The Daily Campus

Earlier this year, the Buffalo Bills hired Kathryn Smith as the NFL’s first female full-time assistant coach. Despite the excitement surrounding Smith’s ascent into football history, the consensus among panelists Thursday morning at “Issues in Sports: Diversity in Sports Leadership” was that this is just the beginning for women on the sidelines.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 12.03.07 PM“Issues in Sports: Diversity in Sports Leadership” was part of sports management graduate student Wura Olusekun’s cornerstone project. Olusekun, who hosted the panel, said she chose to study sports management at UConn’s School of Education because of the program’s emphasis on diversity and social issues.

“I’m not an athlete but I was very interested in the connection between education and athletics,” Olusekun said. “The term ‘coach’ and ‘teacher’ can be interchangeable.”

In order for women and minorities to progress through the ranks of sports management, athletics organizations need to understand how diversity ties into the overarching goals of a successful franchise, said panelist Nicole Melton, an assistant professor of sports management at the University of Massachusetts Amherst. Melton said that her research into Division 1 programs suggests that the most diverse programs are also the most competitive.

“We saw that the ones that had the most diversity and the most inclusive practices, they out performed other D1 leagues, they made more money,” Melton said.

Making these changes across the world of athletics, however, has to be about more than just PR to be effective. According to the panelists, it requires a cultural shift away from “tokenism,” the pursuit of diversity for diversity’s sake, in exchange for ongoing support of inclusive workplaces that encourage employees to reach their full potential.

“It can’t just be, ‘oh we need to hire some diversity’,” Melton said. “It needs to really be tied to the message [of the organization] so that people understand why this is beneficial.”Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 12.03.21 PM

Fleurette King, director of the Rainbow Center at the University of Connecticut, likened this shift to the recent changes in how the NFL and other leagues handle concussions among players. No matter how supportive an organization’s policies surrounding concussions may be, King explained, players are still at risk if league culture values keeping them in the game over their long term health.

“If you don’t change the culture around how people feel about the concussion, and how they feel before and after the concussion, it’s not going to help,” King said.

Similarly, women, people of color and LGBTQ people can’t be fully appreciated in sports leadership positions if they are viewed as tokens of diversity rather than accomplished colleagues who deserve to be there. This is part of the reason why policies like the Rooney Rule, which requires the NFL to interview minority candidates for open coaching positions, can be less than effective even when they do result in a minority candidate getting the job.

Another issue with this type of hiring policy is implicit bias, the human tendency to be most comfortable with familiar people. As an example, Melton, a Texas native, admitted she would feel an immediate bond with anyone from the south even if she knew nothing else about them. The impact of this implicit bias can be as simple as who someone decides to start a conversation with or, in this case, as high stakes as who gets chosen for a head coaching position.

Screen Shot 2016-02-29 at 12.03.35 PM“We see with research that we tend to think similar things with race, with gender, with sexual orientation,” Melton said. “If there’s only three old white dudes on the search committee, they might not recognize the implicit bias that they have.”

Laura Burton, an associate professor of sports management at UConn, said she believes exposing athletes to female coaching early on could help remove the barriers to women at the university and professional levels. While there remains a mix of male and female coaches for women’s sports, encouraging female coaches to stick with youth sports past middle school could help shake the idea that male players require a strong male presence to perform on the field.

“It could mean a mix of men and women at all levels, and I don’t know if I’ll ever live to see that but I’d like to move us in that direction,” Burton said. “We need to recognize that right now women only have access to one group.”

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