Sport Management student, Mike Willie works with the Ryan Martin Foundation to establish wheelchair basketball at UConn. A recent clinic was covered by the Hartford Courant.
My name is Paul Wettemann and I am from Guilford, Conn. This summer, I was a Facility Operations Intern with the Brooklyn Nets at their HSS Training Center in Brooklyn, New York. I was connected with my supervisor for this internship through one of my fellow UConn Sport Management classmates who interned with the Nets last summer. From there, I sent over my resume and spoke to him over the phone. I was then offered the position.
At my internship, I helped my supervisor and others on my staff in the day to day upkeep of the facility. This included tasks such as making sure the court was properly cleaned and maintained, ensuring that staff and player technology was working properly and guaranteeing that all equipment on the court was intact (nets on practice hoops, cardio equipment, etc.). In this position, I was able to gain a strong insight as to what facility managers do each day and what their major duties are. I also helped with setting up and coordinating sponsor events that were held at the training facility. I was given the opportunity to be the event manager for one of those events, as well as help with a few others. This gave me an opportunity to see how events are run with a professional franchise as well as understand all that goes into consideration when trying to provide a valuable experience for sponsors and other partners.
In addition to those events, I assisted in the setup and coordination for various player, general manager and coaching press conferences throughout the summer. This gave me an opportunity to see how the organization and its events functioned on an even larger scale, taking into consideration the media/press, as well as more specific staff needs. I also had the opportunity to network with various professionals that worked for Nets. I was able to meet people who worked in Facility Operations, Public Relations, Basketball Operations, Human Resources, as well as many other departments. It was a great experience and everyone who I interacted with during the summer was friendly and provided me with helpful advice. I was able to visit the Barclays Center on multiple occasions, for a tour and networking opportunity as well as an opportunity to volunteer at a Brooklyn Boxing event for the Event Services department.
My internship in Facility Operations allowed me to understand the full scope of the operations department of a professional franchise in facility maintenance as well as event management. I had experience in events before, but I have now had the opportunity to delve into facilities and learn more about the other side of operations. I am certainly interested in working in operations for a professional franchise in the future. I am now looking forward to building upon my knowledge in the sport industry during my senior year at school, through working with athletic operations and as a student manager for the men’s basketball team.
Written by: Rosalie Pisano
My name is Rosalie Pisano and I am from Bainbridge Island, Washington. This summer, I had the opportunity to intern with the minor league baseball team the Connecticut Tigers. The Tigers are the Single-A short season affiliate to the Detroit Tigers. The team plays in Norwich, about 35 minutes from UConn. I was able to use my connections with the Sport Management program at UConn to get this internship. A fellow classmate, Paul Wettemann, interned for the Tigers the summer prior to my year, and he put me in touch with the general manager of the organization.
Over the summer, I experienced a lot of different things with the Tigers. The stadium was host to the Northeastern Conference Championship for baseball at the very beginning of my internship. Before that, I helped to prepare the stadium for the upcoming season. During the season, I was able to try out many different parts to running a baseball team, from ticket sales and merchandising to promotions and front office work. This internship also taught me a lot about event planning, and all that goes into planning an event. Toward the end of the summer, the stadium hosted the Jeffrey Osborne Celebrity Softball Classic. Many professional athletes participated in the event, including some big names.
Looking back on my internship experience, I have learned how hard it is to run a minor league organization. Everyone in the organization loved what he or she was doing, and was willing to spend countless hours bettering the team. They helped me to learn more about what I want to do and who I want to be post graduation. I enjoyed helping to plan a lot of the events because, once it comes around, all of the hard work pays off into one culminating day. I also really enjoyed running the social media and thinking of fun new ways to increase our platform’s following. Looking forward, I think that I want to work more on the media and public relations side of things. Though I really enjoyed working for a baseball team, I think I would like to be more on the player side of things. I am interested in pursuing a career in player relations for a sport apparel company, or media relations in the sport field for a professional team.
Written by: Theresa Knutson
My name is Theresa Knutson and I am currently a senior at the University of Connecticut. This summer I was an intern at the WIAA, the association for high school athletics in Wisconsin. I worked at the organization’s headquarters in Stevens Point Wisconsin. My father is on the board of control for Wisconsin athletics and has a meeting once a month at the headquarters. Because of the connections he established with many of the employees, I was able to meet them and after applying was asked asked to help work this summer.
This summer started off very busy because the state track tournament was held two weeks after I started my internship. It was an amazing experience to help get everything ready for the tournament, including getting every team’s packet filled and typing the information that they would need regarding the meet. I also had to email the participating schools to get the pole vault sheets to make sure that everyone followed the rules. I was also able to sit in on the track seeding for the state tournament and was in charge of organizing any extra qualifiers. Each of the three divisions participating in the tournament only had three extra qualifiers. Because the tournament is run mostly by volunteers, there is a volunteer breakfast held in the morning that I helped out at and then headed over to the track to get ready. On Friday of that weekend, I was responsible for handing out medals. It was awesome to do put medals around these athletes and see how grateful they were after receiving one. On Saturday, I measured the triple jump. This was very cool to do because they had an electronic measuring kit, which made it easy to work with.
The state softball tournament was the next big event for the summer, which was very interesting to see how it was run and how different the process was from the track meet. During playoffs, The WIAA is responsible for scheduling the umpires, an extremely difficult process because you have to ensure that the umpires have no conflicts with the team, that they are not traveling too far to umpire a game and that they do not umpire the same team during the playoffs. It was nice to help with this because it took a lot of organization and planning and I felt very valued because I had my own division to work on and I accomplished it.
Steph Hauser, my supervisor who is in charge of softball, said that the umpire hiring process went more smoothly this year than in the past. At the tournament, I was in charge of making sure that the time between innings ran smoothly because they had only allotted about a minute of time between innings. I also spent a lot of time working directly with umpires and getting them water or towels throughout the game. I gained a lot of connections through this, which will definitely help me if I want to further my career in high school athletics.
Though these tournaments were the big projects that I worked on this summer, I also helped with in creating a new football project. I was responsible for emailing every school to get updated photos of their football facilities so that we could figure out which schools stadiums to use during playoffs. I also spent time working on the cross-country archives booklet, the state baseball tournament and was lucky enough to go to the National Federation of high school sports annual conference. I also worked at a weeklong USA hockey camp for the Midwest with high school aged players.
I was able to take away and learn a lot from this internship. I saw how much goes into high school athletics from a school, state and countrywide aspect and it was fascinating because I was able to see how much the organization is dedicated to the kids and not to making money. I learned that while working in athletics, every person is valued and encouraged to share his or her own opinions. I was able to gain confidence during my internship because I was given responsibility. I can now see myself working in high school athletics after having this summer internship because I felt excited to go to work every day. I can see myself pursuing a career as an executive director or working for the NFHS itself, but I am fully aware that I will have to work from the bottom and make strong connections in order to get to that position.
Written by: Patrick Rowley
My name is Patrick Rowley and I am a 20-year-old Sport Management major from Newtown, Conn. with an interest in data analytics in the sport industry. This summer, I was an intern with the University of Connecticut Athletic Administration, working for eight different sports teams during my time with the department. My office was located directly inside the Hugh S. Greer Fieldhouse in the middle of the UConn campus, directly adjacent to the Athletic Business Office. During my time working in the business office, I got to know the head of the athletic administration, Kim Gedney, quite well and she told me that she could use another intern this summer and asked if I would help.
The biggest aspect of my job this summer was helping with coach’s travel for recruiting and convention purposes. This includedfinding their preferred flight times, booking hotels and rental cars, handling travel reimbursements and making last minute adjustments for coaches when they need changes on the fly. However, this job was also interesting in terms of seeing what it is like to be on the bottom of the totem pole of sorts in an organization and seeing the eclectic nature of tasks that were passed down to me. This could be as mundane as walking across campus to drop off a form, helping determine how much money needs to be added to certain accounting lines in order to pay invoices and helping to choose and order apparel to give out at promotional golf tournaments. This job has truly given me an entire additional perspective of the sports industry and having both played and coached in the past, it was fascinating to see all of the grunt work that goes into holding game at the division one level. I have also made some tremendous connections in my office, other departments in UConn and among UConn’s incredibly talented coaching staff.
My internship with the UConn Athletic Administration helped me learn how to think on my feet and react to crises in a calm and timely manner. I learned a tremendous amount of information this summer and ultimately, I think that this experience was the one that will help me the most in the future. Although I loved interning in this office, I think that I want my future in athletics to be on the data analytics side, particularly for baseball. This is something I have been slowly realizing for years, but I wanted to try out many different potential paths before throwing myself into a specific field completely and I now think that I am ready for that. I have been in contact with the Baseball Info Solutions company, based out of Allentown, PA, and have reached a tentative agreement with management regarding an internship next summer that I cannot wait for.
My name is Kyle Caron and I am a recent graduate of the University of Connecticut, having received my Bachelor’s degree in Sport Management. This past summer, I interned with The First Tee of Connecticut in Cromwell, Conn., this region’s chapter of the international First Tee organization. The First Tee is an organization that focuses on teaching the game of golf and instilling important life skills in young players. During my time there, I was able to gain experience in many aspects of running a non-profit organization such as marketing, financial development and community outreach.
For the first half of my internship, I worked in several community outreach efforts. This included going to different golf courses to teach clinics to children who may have not had access to the game otherwise as well as attending networking and marketing fairs to organize demo stations for kids to play in while I explained to their parents what The First Tee is all about. I also spent time volunteering at various tournaments throughout the state, as a representative of the organization, to help foster relationships with local golf clubs to attempt to spread the word about our programs and attract new students. I spent the second half of my internship working as a counselor for our Summer Camp program where I supervised campers and taught them ways and techniques to improve their game.
My time spent with The First Tee of Connecticut allowed me to learn more about what it takes to run a golf and youth development organization, specifically a non-profit one. As a non-profit organization targeted at kids who want to learn the game, I saw how creating relationships with other organizations in the community could be just as beneficial to an organization’s reputation as a large marketing campaign. I also saw the impact that sports can have on the development of a child’s life by teaching them ethics and values to live by such as respect, perseverance and integrity. Many of the kids who came up through The First Tee program are now successful college students with plenty of accolades and scholarships that reflect the character that our programs assisted in building. Because of the effects I saw due to children’s involvement with The First Tee, I would like to further pursue a career in sport-based youth development and try to make that same difference in the lives of future generations. Working with The First Tee of Connecticut was a valuable and enriching experience, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
Written by: Maddy Hooper
My name is Maddy Hooper and I am from West Hartford, Conn. I did my summer internship at The First Tee of Connecticut, which is located in Cromwell on the grounds of TPC River Highlands. I first saw the position of Community Outreach Intern for this summer in one of the Sport Management weekly newsletters. I noticed it one day over Christmas break and immediately emailed Mark, my boss from this summer, and sent in my application. I interviewed for the position at the end of March and found out a week later that I gotten the position.
I did a lot of different things this summer. In my first few weeks before the kids came for the summer, we worked with children after school and completed tasks around the office. A few of the big projects that I completed during this time were reorganizing all of the closets and storage spaces in our building. The week before school got out was the week of the Travelers Championship. This was truly the busiest week of my life. We ran a ton of events that week and worked all over the course during the pro-am and tournament. This week was really cool for me because I met tons of important people in the golf world including the president of the PGA Paul Levy, and many professional golfers, such as Rory Mclroy and Paul Casey. Once school got out, I really began the work that I did this summer. For the remainder of the summer, I spent most of my time at different summer camps all over the state giving golf lessons. I went to places like Camp Courant, Channel 3 Kids Camp and Boys and Girls Club of New Haven.
My main takeaway from this summer is that it’s important to be helpful in every way possible. I became really close with everyone that I worked with and the full-time employees called me “the best intern ever.” I think they called me this because I was willing to do anything they asked me to do and did everything to the best of my ability, even if some days this was just sorting golf balls and moving cases of water. You can really leave your mark in a place by doing more then what is asked of you and making positive and friendly impressions. I hope to use the skills that I learned this summer and bring them with me as I pursue a career in non-profit youth development. The First Tee or any organization similar is where I would love to end up after graduation.
Written by: Cristina Vincente
Having grown up in Mansfield, Conn., my entire life has lead me to create a special bond with the University of Connecticut. After being accepted into the UConn Sport Management program and becoming a Digital Media Creative Team intern during my second semester in the program, that bond with this school and this program has only grown stronger. This summer, I was fortunate enough to build upon this bond while interning with the programs’ department head, Dr. Jennifer McGarry, to plan events for the Sport Management program. I was able to obtain this internship with the help of both Dr. McGarry and Digital Media Manager Nellie Schafer. They were aware of my passion for working with social media and event planning, and therefore lead me into this current position as event manager for Sport Management. I have been working right on campus, in Storrs, to plan alumni events and expand our program’s social and digital media efforts.
So far this summer, I have coordinated the Sport Management Alumni event that was held in New York City toward the end of June. In addition to planning it, I also was able to attend the actual event which was an amazing experience that connected me with a lot of alumni from the program. I also planned an alumni networking event that was held in Hartford, Conn. at the end of August as well as the 2017 Master’s Orientation that took place during the first week of the semester. I am currently in the process of planning this fall’s Career Night in Sport, which will be held in October. While establishing all of these events, I have been collaborating with several different individuals to figure out logistics for everything from food and catering, to photos at the event, to sending out invites. The event planning aspect of my internship has certainly been rewarding and a great experience.
Along with planning the events, part of my internship has included conducting several job interviews. I met with a variety of women working in different fields of the industry who were all at different stages in their respective careers. Speaking to such successful professionals exposed me to many career paths and opportunities. Each professional provided me with great advice and encouraged me to find my own path.
In addition to the events, job interviews and valuable connections, I have been continuing working with the Sport Management Digital Media Creative Team. As an intern for the team last spring semester and this coming fall, I have been helping to keep the program’s Twitter and Instagram actively engaged throughout the summer months. I have been able to highlight the events that I planned, use connections with alumni to feature them on our platforms and have been researching interesting topics and events in the sport world to feed our Twitter campaign, #EngageInTheDialogue.
There have been so many valuable takeaways from this internship for me. I have learned that the connections you make and the relationships you build in the sport industry are what will take you a long way in your future career. I have also learned a lot about appropriate etiquette for professional communication. Having to constantly communicate with the faculty, alumni, vendors and others in the field has taught me how to communicate effectively, whether it is via email, phone or an in person conversation.
Finally, I would say that one of the biggest learning experiences from all of the job interviews that I conducted is to stay true to who I am. Everyone has varying likes and interests and therefore everyone will have a different career path and different goals that cater to them. This has been an important lesson for me to learn as I enter my senior year and think of my future beyond undergrad and the path that I want to create for myself. I have enjoyed this experience in event planning and hope to continue along that same path as I more forward in my career. I hope to stay on the athletic side of events, because I love the atmosphere of working game days and just being around the excitement of sports. I love the unique connections that sport creates between people of different genders, ages, races, ethnicities, religions and much more. I am beyond thankful for this opportunity and I am very excited for how it will affect my post-graduate future plans.
Norwich Bulletin (Sport Management major Rachel Hill to join National Women’s Soccer League following graduation)