SBJ/September 3-9, 2012/People and Pop Culture

My first job in sports: Andy Ross



Andy Ross is one of Octagon’s five NFL agents, representing 15 players, including former first-round picks Aaron Curry, Ziggy Hood and Duane Brown. He made his first cold call in the sports business 18 years ago at Octagon’s predecessor, Advantage International, to meet sports marketing pioneer Tom George, and “I’ve been there ever since,” he said.

Ross worked hard to get in the door, then stayed.
Photos: COURTESY OF OCTAGON / ANDY ROSS


REJECTION: I was a senior in high school and I took a class in sports marketing. My high school teacher told me there was an internship at Advantage. He and his wife took time to show me how to write a résumé, how to write a cover letter, how to interview. After a week of doing that, I called Advantage International and they said the internship had already been filled.

RESILIENCE: I talked to my teacher. He said, “Do you really want it? I said yeah. So he said, “Go get it.” So I went home, I got on my JCPenney suit [and] rolled up there.

Ross recently negotiated a contract extension for the Texans' Duane Brown.
REWARD:
They said, “Why don’t you go and sit down?” … They were hoping I would get tired and leave, and I literally sat there for 2 1/2 hours. Finally [Advantage International senior vice president] Tom George walked out and said, “Do I know your parents?” I said, “No.” He said, “What are you here for?” I said, “I’m here for the internship.” He said, “It’s already been filled.” I said, “I know. I’ll work for free. I just really want to learn the business.” He asked me, “Do you have a résumé? Do you have a cover letter?” I said yeah. I gave it to him, and he walked back into his office. … His assistant came out like 10 minutes later and she said, “I don’t know what you said to him, but he said to be here on Monday.”

FIRST-DAY ASSIGNMENT: My job was to help out with some stuff for Grant Hill. … I was supposed to work on his fan club and there was some counterfeit memorabilia they had me try to track down.

NO PRESSURE: I’ll never forget. Tom sits me down. … He says, “I want to tell you two things: You are the first and only high school kid this company has ever hired. And No. 2, don’t ‘F’ up and make me look bad.”

See also: Mike Boykin, EVP of sports marketing, GMR Marketing


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