SBJ/February 13-19, 2017/In Depth

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  • Abbey road: Unique school has racetrack connections

    BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE: MOTORSPORTS


    Motorsports and a college that is home to Benedictine monks seems an unlikely fit, but Belmont Abbey is finding success.
    Photos by: COURTESY OF BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE (2)
    Program Executive Director Pat Wood and Brother Augustine Basque take a spin.
    The classroom in an old brick building at Belmont Abbey College is outfitted for an elementary school class, with bins and cubbies filled with props meant to bring science or social studies to life.

    Typically used to train aspiring teachers, a few mornings each week it is put to use by the mostly part-time faculty of an undergraduate program that seems an unlikely fit for a small liberal arts college that is best known for the order of Benedictine monks who have called it home for 140 years.

    For a decade now, Belmont Abbey has offered classes in the business of motor racing, the hub of which can be found in and around Charlotte, about 15 miles to the east. Structured loosely as a concentration within the sports management program at its start, motorsports management now exists as its own degree program, with classes that feature industry consulting projects, internships at sanctioning bodies, tracks, teams and marketing firms, and an annual symposium that attracts prominent speakers from across the sport.

    Never was the odd juxtaposition of program and host more clearly on display than at last year’s homecoming parade, when two of the abbey’s more gregarious monks took turns riding in a rumbling, retooled Roush Fenway Racing stock car, which was decorated with a few well-placed stickers that asked:

    “Got monks?”

    “What differentiates us is geography, industry connections and support,” said Pat Wood, a longtime sports marketing executive who taught as an adjunct in the program and 18 months ago added responsibilities as its executive director, with an emphasis on industry relations. “If you didn’t have the support of the university and the abbot [chancellor], the program wouldn’t exist. You have to have that.

    Belmont Abbey College
    Motorsports Management Program


    Location: Belmont, N.C.
    Founded: 2007
    Enrollment (in program): Typically, 15 per entering class
    Executive Board: Pat Wood, executive director; Mary Beth Chambers, program director; Bruce Mosley, executive in residence/Roush Fenway Racing; Humpy Wheeler, CEO, Speedway Benefits; Bill Thierfelder, president, Belmont Abbey College; David Williams, vice president of academic affairs, Belmont Abbey College
    Alumni Advisory Board: Tom Vesey, Charlotte Motor Speedway; Rhegan Flanagan, Hendrick Motorsports; Paige French, Retail Sports Management; Kate Beran, Penske Racing; Justin Swilling, NASCAR; Jessica Fickenscher, Speedway Motorsports Inc.; Jennifer Gibson, Wix / Affinia Corp.; Dan Guffey, Jeff Gordon Inc.; Ian Moye, Ganassi Racing; Mike Laheta, NASCAR Hall of Fame; Jordan Anderson, Jordan Anderson Racing
    Intern/graduate placement: NASCAR; NASCAR Hall of Fame; NHRA; Speedway Motorsports Inc.; Fox Sports; Octagon; JHE Production; Wix Filters; Charlotte Motor Speedway; Indianapolis Motor Speedway; Chip Ganassi Racing; Hendrick Motorsports; Joe Gibbs Racing; Roush Fenway Racing; Team Penske

    “After that, it’s really about the connections.”

    Belmont Abbey’s attraction to motorsports is particularly interesting within the broader discussion of sports management education.

    The natural attractive powers of sports-related majors have made them popular with schools in recent years, as financial pressures have made filling classroom seats a priority. The dilemma, of course, is that the more than 400 U.S. universities that now offer sports management degrees produce more graduates than there are job openings in sports. That has made differentiation more important than ever, both in terms of attracting quality students and finding jobs for them.

    Programs such as UMass, Ohio and Oregon, well-established and with decades worth of alumni working in the field, continue to flourish despite the flood. But for those attempting to compete without that reputation as a foundation, specialization has proved to be an effective route.

    The job market for graduates with data analytics skills has led several programs to make that a specialization or track. Variations on the sports media theme also have clicked on several campuses.

    But a handful have found their niches by serving specific sports. Belmont Abbey decided to give motorsports a shot a decade ago largely because it was looking for something distinctive that might connect locally.

    “You need to go somewhere where they can help you make connections and get experience,” Wood said. “There aren’t a lot of programs with connections to motorsports.”

    Finding their path

    On a recent Thursday morning, the topic in Mary Beth Chambers’ MM360 motorsports finance class was corporate intelligence, which she chose as a precursor to the due diligence process that the students would need as they began working in tandems on an industry feasibility study.

    The project: Determine the potential for expansion by a regional racing series that is considering adding races in another part of the country.

    A sales and marketing executive who worked in team sports, Olympic sports and motorsports, Chambers taught as an adjunct in the program before becoming its director. She lined up the feasibility project as she has others, through her connections in the industry. Not only does it provide students with a real world problem to advise on, it gives them a deliverable to show during job interviews after they graduate.

    “One of the ways to make a class more engaging for the student is for them to know that what they’re doing is worth something,” said Chambers, who also teaches in Belmont Abbey’s broader sports management program. “It’s going to end up having meaning for another person. That’s credibility.

    John Force Racing’s Steve Cole speaks to students at zMax Dragway.
    Photo by: COURTESY OF BELMONT ABBEY COLLEGE
    “And it offers future opportunities. The student can say, ‘I’ve done this feasibility study or this sponsorship concept idea.’ And when they are getting interview questions from an HR person, they have a concrete example from which to speak. If you’re making a hire, you think: This person did this and now they have the opportunity to do that for me. If they’re doing this at this age, that begs the question: What else can they do?”

    Chambers and Wood cite years of examples of students turning connections they made on campus, either through projects or with guest speakers or at industry events, into internships and jobs.

    Some enter with a familiarity with racing, having grown up driving go-karts, or as part of families that put a car on a track at a local speedway. But most don’t.

    “We’ve had kids from all over the country find us through a Google search and decide to give it a shot,” Wood said. “All they know when they get here is that they want to be in racing. Well, how do you do that? What’s the path? That’s something not many people understand, but we do.

    “It’s working. The proof is in the people now earning a paycheck.”

    Jordan Anderson came to Belmont in 2010 with an established pedigree in racing, well on his way up the developmental ladder as a NASCAR driver. Growing up in Columbia, S.C., he began racing karts as an 8-year-old. By the time he started college, he had driven Legends cars, late-model stocks and trucks.

    “I’d try to walk around the garage area and meet as many people as I could, but it’s still hard to make those true authentic connections,” Anderson said. “That’s what coming to this college helped with. It helped me build connections with people. It’s a very unique, niche industry. You have to learn how it works.”

    When Anderson graduated, he went racing full time, starting off regionally and then graduating to rides in the Xfinity Series and Camping World Truck Series.

    Late last season, Anderson put his marketing chops on display. One Monday morning after a race, he got a call from the owner of his truck team, who said they wouldn’t be traveling to New Hampshire that week because they’d run out of funds. Anderson wasn’t ready to go quietly. He racked his brain for a solution, then spent all night doing the coding to build a website: SponsorJordan.com, with the hope of getting fans to fund the $15,000 that he needed to race.

    When his “Fueled by Fans” concept worked, he came up with an idea to draw attention to it, using a Sharpie to write the name of each contributor on the rear deck lid of his car.

    “I was in this sport before I came here, but I realize now that I didn’t completely understand it,” Anderson said. “One of the reasons that I wanted to go to college was that the sport has gone toward
    TOP: Belmont Abbey alum preps for Daytona race. Anderson's, No. 66 on the track at Daytona last year. Anderson put his marketing skills to work to keep racing.
    Photo by: BARRY CANTRELL (2)
    a financially driven aspect. I wanted to learn about sponsorship and more. I think it has already benefited me.”

    When Jennifer Gibson graduated from the Abbey motorsports program in 2010, she was met with an attractive job offer: brand manager of Carquest Filters. While it was in the automotive sector, it wasn’t in racing. Gibson was disappointed, but took the job.

    She stayed in that role for five years before parlaying it into a promotion to brand manager of Wix Filters, a brand that traces its motorsports roots to Richard Petty and touches various forms of racing. Speaking on a panel at Belmont Abbey’s symposium earlier this year, Gibson encouraged students to remain flexible while finding their path and tap into the connections made available through the program.

    On that same panel, another 2010 graduate delivered a similar message.

    Dan Guffey grew up near Belmont Abbey, but tried two other small colleges before he landed at the school thanks to his mother, who saw that the school had a motorsports program and suggested it as an option. Motorsports was still a concentration at that time, not a major, but even then it provided a point of entry that was hard to find.

    His first break came when someone suggested he cold call NASCAR truck racing teams in search of an internship. Teams typically didn’t have interns, but he found one that would take him. That led to a more structured internship with Michael Waltrip Racing, set up by the school. Guffey’s next opportunity came when he met someone who worked in digital at Jeff Gordon Inc. He followed up several times and eventually landed a nine-month internship.

    When Guffey graduated, he had a job waiting in internet operations at JGI. He was promoted to director of social media and online business in 2012. When Gordon retired, he trimmed the staff at JGI from more than a dozen to three full-timers. Guffey was one of them.

    “Even though I grew up around here, I didn’t know anyone connected to the sport at all before I got to Belmont Abbey,” Guffey said. “I think the biggest testament to the program is that someone could come in, with no ties at all, and be exposed to people in the sport that are key folks.”

    Motorsports may lend itself to specialization more than most sports because its structure differs so much from other pro leagues and college programs. Students take the typical business core classes, but layer on management, marketing, facility, law, finance and governance classes that are specific to motorsports.

    “This sport and other sports are night and day,” Chambers said. “They go through this program and take the facilities and events class and see how facilities operate differently. We’re not dealing with 16,000 people in an arena. We may be dealing with 10 times that many people. It’s not the same. So how do you deal with that? The governing body is a privately held company. It’s not a collective association of owners. Again, totally different.

    “Throughout each class, you have an opportunity to explain the difference.”

    National attention

    As the program’s most recent industry symposium neared its conclusion, Wood introduced the winners of a series of awards named for the program’s founder, Humpy Wheeler, a longtime industry leader who is the retired president of Charlotte Motor Speedway. Each received a Wheeler Award made from a driver’s steering wheel, provided by recent grad Zack Skolnick, who launched his own steering wheel company.

    After the program’s final panel, Wheeler worked the room touching base with students and swapping stories.
    The one that traces to the program’s origin was the least likely of them.

    “I think the biggest testament to the program is that someone could come in, with no ties at all, and be exposed to people in the sport that are key folks.”

    DAN GUFFEY
    Jeff Gordon Inc.
    As the technology behind race cars became more sophisticated in the 1990s, several universities launched motorsports engineering tracks to serve the industry. Wheeler thought the business side of the sport was equally in need of better educated, well-trained employees. Winston-Salem State was launching a business-oriented program tied to NASCAR’s diversity efforts. UNC-Charlotte had a short-lived motorsports MBA concentration.

    Wheeler grew up around Belmont Abbey and went to prep school there. His father was the athletic director. He thought that connection might help him convince the school to give motorsports education a try.

    “They were fascinated in a way but, good Lord, this had never been done before,” Wheeler said. “And educational institutions aren’t big on trying new things. But, finally, they thought it might be a good idea. At that time, the Abbey needed students bad. I said this will bring some people in that maybe we wouldn’t get before. Anything that brings in 30 students is a big deal.”

    As it turned out, Wheeler was right. That odd juxtaposition of racing and monks made for a good story, which got Belmont Abbey national attention. Students signed on. Over the years, the curriculum expanded to where it is now, as a fully fledged degree program.

    “There was a lot of beating and banging, like there is in anything new,” Wheeler said. “Some of the faculty didn’t think there should be a program in racing. They want English majors. But once you have some success, people get on board.

    “This program has brought some pretty bright and capable people into the sport that it wouldn’t have gotten otherwise. That’s something every business needs.”

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  • Program aims to stand out with MLS club partnership

    UNIVERSITY OF COLORADO-COLORADO SPRINGS: SOCCER


    The seeds for the only soccer-specific sports management track in the U.S. were planted two decades before its launch, when a business school professor from Colorado began debating a friend in London about whether the Dallas Cowboys were worth more than Manchester United.

    Over time, Eric Olson developed a greater appreciation for soccer, both as a sport and an enterprise. He began to visit the U.K., seeking out clubs that would open their doors to business research and case studies and eventually meeting with about a dozen of them.

    When the University of Colorado at Colorado Springs launched an undergraduate program in sports management out of its business school in 2008, Olson took on the role of director. When students expressed interest in working in soccer, Olson steered them to internships at two English Premier League clubs with which he had developed connections: Everton and Sunderland.

    UCCS student Kevin Gusinde was an intern with the Shamrock Rovers FC in Dublin.
    Photo by: COURTESY OF UCCS
    Still, UCCS’s bridge to soccer remained a distant one until 2010, when Tim Hinchey took over as CMO of the nearby Colorado Rapids, who a year later named him president. Olson had gotten to know Hinchey when he was an executive with a second division English club, Derby County. When the two reconnected stateside, they soon realized that an alliance could benefit both the Rapids and the UCCS sports management program.

    In 2015, UCCS and the Rapids announced the launch of an undergraduate soccer management track, which would create a ladder of experiential learning to augment students’ broader training in the classroom.

    In their first two years, students get experience working in operations with local club and college teams. As juniors, they participate in a semester-long practicum with the Rapids, where they rotate through most departments of the organization. Seniors are eligible for internships with professional clubs in Europe, including the EPL.

    Like a track that UCCS offers around the Olympic movement, the soccer track is something Olson hopes will distinguish the program from the more than 400 other U.S. colleges and universities that offer the degree.

    “We have a lot of students who come in and want collegiate and professional sports, and we still do that,” Olson said. “Those are great. But almost every program in the country has those.

    “There are way too many [sports management] programs out there. We wanted to offer something different.”

    “When you go over to England and intern with an EPL club, you come back and say I was with Everton or Sunderland, that’s going to get someone’s attention.”

    ERIC OLSON
    Director of Sport Management, UCCS
    The popularity of the major was apparent from the outset at UCCS. Olson planned to cap entering classes at 43, but soon found himself turning away students with GPAs higher than 3.5. This year, sports management accepted about 70 new students, including 21 freshmen who chose the soccer track.

    Specializations such as soccer and Olympic sports have become increasingly popular as students have become more aware of the limited opportunities and sales-oriented path that likely awaits them if they want to work for a pro team.

    “Hardly any students come to us saying they want the Olympic movement because they’re not aware of it,” Olson said. “I tell them straight up that 90 percent of entry-level jobs are in telephone sales in professional sports. If you think you’re going to design the next Broncos logo or be the GM in two years, that’s not going to happen.”

    Because the program is new, Olson can’t point to much of a track record. This is the first full-fledged year for the soccer track. About six students made soccer an emphasis in the last two years, he said, in essence transferring in from the broader sports management program so they could take the Rapids practicum and land an internship. Three of those landed jobs with MLS clubs, Olson said.

    “It’s early on,” Olson said. “There’s no guarantee all of them will end up in soccer. But when you go over to England and intern with an EPL club, you come back and say I was with Everton or Sunderland, that’s going to get someone’s attention.

    “We can’t guarantee a job. But your résumé is going to stand out.”

    — Bill King

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  • A job in golf: ‘Why they came here’

    FERRIS STATE: GOLF


    Aerial view of Ferris State’s Katke Clubhouse, putting green and 10th tee box.
    Photos by: BILL BITZINGER / FERRIS STATE (4)
    When Aaron Waltz was a boy, his parents bought a home on a golf course, even though neither of them played golf. He asked for clubs for his birthday and, before long, was knocking balls around the backyard on a small course his mother made from soup cans.

    He couldn’t wait to turn 13 so he could caddie. Once he got a taste, he knew he wanted to work as a club pro.
    “How do I become you,” he asked the club pro one day during a break while caddying.

    “You go to Ferris State,” the pro said.

    Nearly 25 years later, Waltz chuckles at the matter-of-factness of that answer. He indeed went to Ferris State, where he was accepted into the Michigan school’s PGA Golf Management program, one of only four such programs in the country at that time. Graduating in 2000 with both a B.S. in marketing and certification as a Class A PGA pro, Waltz was on his way to a career in golf.

    Six years ago, after climbing the ladder as an assistant and then head pro, he returned to Ferris State, located about 80 miles northwest of Lansing, to run the university golf course while earning his MBA. When the director’s role opened in the golf management program in 2011, Waltz accepted it, welcoming the opportunity to build on a program that, since its start in 1975, has provided a pipeline to a career in the golf industry.

    PGA-accredited golf management programs

    Ferris State (1975)
    Mississippi State (1985)
    New Mexico State (1987)
    Penn State (1990)
    Campbell (1999)
    Coastal Carolina (1999)
    Methodist (1999)
    Clemson (2001)
    Idaho (2002)
    Nevada-Las Vegas (2002)
    Colorado-Colorado Springs (2003)
    Nebraska (2004)
    N.C. State (2005)
    Florida Gulf Coast (2005)
    Sam Houston State (2005)
    Eastern Kentucky (2006)
    Central Oklahoma (2008)
    Maryland Eastern Shore (2008)

    “When you have a 100 percent placement rate in the field of study, as we have every year going back to the inception of the program, that’s huge to parents, to students, to universities — to anyone involved,” said Waltz, who in the coming months will sort through queries from about 300 employers vying for access to a pool of about 75 interns. “When students finish their 4 1/2 years, they know they’ll have a job in golf. And that’s why they came here.”

    Today, Ferris State is one of 18 U.S. colleges and universities accredited by the PGA of America, joined by Penn State, New Mexico State, Mississippi State, Clemson, Nebraska and a dozen others. Ferris State was the first when it launched in 1975.

    In order to receive a PGA-accredited golf management degree, students must complete academic requirements that most frequently match those of a business administration major, and pass a playing ability test required for certification as a PGA instructor.

    Because of the playing ability requirement, the PGA recommends programs not take applicants with a handicap higher than 12. With an annual backlog of applicants, Ferris requires an 8 handicap. Two weeks after they arrive on campus, Waltz takes freshmen onto the course to test their playing ability. He flags those who might be borderline to work with player development coaches. Those who continue to struggle are funneled toward other majors, with an opportunity to minor in club management if they want to pursue a golf job that doesn’t require PGA certification.

    “At Ferris, we want to bet on success,” Waltz said. “I’m honest with them about what’s required, both in terms of playing ability and academic ability. If they can’t pass that playing test, we’re not going to kid them. We have a tremendous amount of success placing our students because employers know they are well-prepared.”

    Program director Aaron Waltz teaches advanced teaching and player development.
    The most common path for PGA golf management graduates is as a teaching pro, so along with business classes that focus on topics such as food and beverage and merchandise sales, Ferris is fully outfitted to help students develop as instructors and coaches. Along with the golf course’s outdoor range, students have access to an indoor teaching facility that includes four hitting bays, a putting green and advanced swing analysis technology. Fundraising is underway on a $4 million indoor training facility that will include 10 heated bays, putting greens and a TrackMan video instruction system, as well as housing the Michigan Golf Hall of Fame.

    More than 1,000 of the approximately 1,800 Ferris golf management alumni are active PGA members working in the industry, Waltz said. Among them are Bill Nault, vice president of Marriott Golf; Joe Goodrich, executive vice president of Billy Casper Golf; and Jeremy Beck, vice president of GolfTec, the nation’s largest employer of PGA professionals.

    Students Joseph Bohen and Charlie Nye examine a turf grass sample with professor Anna Rizzo.
    Golf management emerged as a course of study in 1975, spurred by a meeting between a business-minded club pro named Don Perne and a friend who had become president at the college then known as Ferris Institute. Perne believed that golf clubs needed not only teachers, but managers who understood the principles of retail and food and beverage. The school was attracted to the idea of a program that might help set it apart.

    Working with the PGA’s education department, they built a course of study that would enable students to receive both a bachelor’s degree and certification as a PGA teaching pro, which would enable them to fill both the traditional coaching role of a golf pro while handling the then-emerging business responsibilities.

    “All those years ago, they saw that the PGA professional was really missing that business side of the industry,” Waltz said. “They were great players. Great teachers. They could run tournaments. But as golf became a big dollar sport, they were missing some of the skills that they needed.”

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  • Inside track to horse racing stretches 40 years

    UNIVERSITY OF ARIZONA: HORSE RACING


    It began as a test program, accepted by the University of Arizona on a five-year trial basis, with the understanding that the industry leaders who requested it also would pay for it.

    More than 40 years later, the Race Track Industry Program at the school remains 70 percent self-funded, with a pipeline of almost 700 graduates that includes star horse trainers Bob Baffert and Todd Pletcher, but also a cross-section of executives and racing officials at horse tracks, state racing commissions, horse racing publications, websites and other pari-mutuel facilities.

    “Although racing is small if you look at what’s out there all over sports, we still have more requests for interns and more job opportunities than we have graduates going out, which is nice,” said Wendy Davis, a former horse farm owner who graduated from the program and now serves as its associate coordinator. “This is a real industry. And it isn’t what you see in the TV shows.

    Santa Anita Park VP Amy Zimmerman (center) chats with RTIP students on a recent visit.
    Photo by: RACE TRACK INDUSTRY PROGRAM
    “Not everybody wears a trench coat and smokes a cigar.”

    It was that sentiment that led Frank Vessels Jr., son of the founder of Los Alamitos Race Course and head of the American Quarter Horse Association, to gather horse industry leaders behind the push to develop an educational path into the industry early in the 1970s. Their efforts to convince a large land grant university to house the program fell on deaf ears until Arizona stepped up, under the condition that Vessels line up the initial funding. Backed by contributions from his family, the AQHA and the American Greyhound Association, Vessels delivered enough to launch the program in the animal sciences department of the university’s agriculture school.

    As it has from the outset, the RTIP offers two distinct tracks: An equine management path that preps students to work with the breeding and training of animals, and a business path that sets them on their way to careers outside the rails.

    While the former is the track chosen by most who aspire to be the next Baffert or Pletcher, or work on the breeding side of the industry, about half pick the business side.

    RTIP alumni workplaces

    Churchill Downs
    Gulfstream Park
    Santa Anita Park
    National Thoroughbred Racing Association
    New York Racing Association
    Daily Racing Form
    Breeders’ Cup Ltd.

    All RTIP undergraduate students take two animal-focused classes — introductory horse science and management of the racing animal. They also take two semesters of racing law, a key component of a sport that is heavily regulated. Classes in marketing, management, finance, strategy and human resources all are tailored to the racing business.

    “Everybody does take quite a bit of business [courses] because that’s the backbone of everything,” Davis said. “But you’re also going to take some animal science. Even if you’re going to be the director of marketing, you need to have an understanding that we’re centering our business on a live animal and you better understand that.”

    Students in the business track layer 21 hours of business courses on top of their specialized classes. Those on the equine science path add on 27 hours of equine science, biology and chemistry.

    The majority of students who follow the trainer path have a background in the sport before they hit campus. Baffert grew up riding quarter horses. Pletcher came from a horse family, but his father insisted he get a degree before returning to the stables. “He didn’t say what kind of degree,” Davis chuckled.

    For those who aren’t born or raised around the horse business, the program offers a door into an industry that otherwise would be difficult to identify and navigate.

    The program’s chief fundraising mechanism comes through the school’s annual four-day Symposium on Racing and Gaming, which typically brings together about 400 executives from across the industry to discuss topics that include simulcasting, marketing, casino gaming, track operations, technology and regulation.

    Students not only attend but are able to network, choosing a mentor to join them for a 90-minute lunch.

    “People in the industry want our graduates,” Davis said. “We have a second and third generation of graduates now who call back and say, ‘Who do you have? This is what we need.’ I know it can be difficult to break into sports, but there’s no shortage of opportunity here.”

    — Bill King

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  • Visitors bring expertise from the world of sports business to classroom

    A sampling of sports business management program guest speakers this academic year.

    University of South Florida

    Fall 2016:
    Don Garber, Major League Soccer
    Jessica Gelman, Kraft Analytics Group
    Tod Leiweke, NFL
    Deno Anagnost, Tampa Bay Buccaneers
    Bob Bolton, Fox Sports Florida
    Ryan Cook, Tampa Bay Lightning; Tampa Bay Storm
    Lorisse Garcia, leadership coach
    David Halberstam, Halby Group
    Claire Lessinger, Tampa Bay Sports Commission
    Robert McHugh, Feld Entertainment
    Joel Momberg, University of South Florida Foundation
    Ryan Niemeyer, Tampa Bay Lightning; Tampa Bay Storm
    Brian Specia, Tampa Bay Lightning
    Tyler Thompson, Tampa Bay Lightning

    2017:
    David Stern, former NBA commissioner
    Tariq Ahmad, Mount Sinai Health System
    Juana “JC” Ayers, Seminole Hard Rock Hotel & Casino Tampa
    Joie Chitwood, International Speedway Corp.
    Sally Dee, Playbook Public Relations
    Jarrod Dillon, Tampa Bay Lightning
    Elizabeth Frazier, Tampa Bay Lightning Foundation
    Eric Hart, Tampa Sports Authority
    Stefan Scheuermann, Ironman
    Carolynn Smith, Seven PR + Marketing
    Dan Sutton, Riot Games
    Bill Walsh, Tampa Bay Rays
    Tracy West, Valspar Championship

    University of Michigan

    Nov. 2, 2016: Members of the University of Michigan Sport Management Advisory Board partnered with faculty to create engaged learning experiences for sport management students. Guests included:
    David Berson, CBS Sports
    Carrie Brzezinski, ESPN
    Dustin Cairo, Zebra Sports
    Marcus Collins, University of Michigan Ross School of Business; Doner
    David Herman, Twitter
    Matthew Kauffman, Intel
    David Oxfeld, Excel Sports Management
    Jon Paley, The Vault
    Brandon Rhodes, Gatorade
    Howard Handler, Major League Soccer

    At the Michigan Sport Business Conference on Nov. 4:
    Don Garber, Major League Soccer
    Stephen Ross, Related Companies; RSE Venures; Miami Dolphins
    Dan Gilbert, Quicken Loans; Rock Ventures; Cleveland Cavaliers
    Estee Portnoy, Jump.DC
    Larry Miller, Jordan Brand
    Abe Madkour, SportsBusiness Journal / SportsBusiness Daily

    DePaul’s Sean McDonough, students at Wintrust Arena Sales Center
    Photo by: DEPAUL UNIVERSITY / JAMIE MONCRIEF
    DePaul University

    As part of “Behind the Scenes with Chicago Sports Organizations,” students in the weeklong, winter intersession class visited with some of Chicago’s iconic sports teams. They were given behind the scenes access to the organizations and venues, all while learning about sports management and marketing.
    At the Wintrust Arena Sales Center: Sean McDonough, DePaul University
    At Soldier Field: Chicago Bears’ Dave McClamroch; Christine Christopoulos; and Rachel Chessky
    At Chicago Cubs corporate offices: Colin Faulkner; Brad Nagel; Diego Chahda; and Ashley Beirne, Hickory Street Capital
    n At Gatorade’s offices inside PepsiCo: Kenny Mitchell; Jonathan Kander; Izabela Aggarwal; and Abby Dyer
    At the Chicago White Sox: Bob Grim; Rich Kuchar; Dan Mielke; Tom Sheridan; Gail Tucker
    At the Chicago Bulls: Sarah Smith; Kevin Brilliant; Tony Rokita; Susan Goodenow
    n At the Chicago Blackhawks: John Steinmiller; Greg Zinsmeister; Kayla Kindred; Leah Hendrickson; Brian Howe; Jake Tuton; Shilpa Rupani; Jim Bare; Steve DiLenardi; Kyleen Howe


    James Madison University

    Fall 2016:
    Dennis Bickmeier, Richmond International Raceway
    Peter Billups, Eugene Emeralds
    Matt Butta, Virginia Sports Properties
    J.W. Cannon, UPS
    Mike Chatburn, JMU Sports Properties
    Curt Dudley, James Madison University
    Paul Gerlando, Vizeum
    Ashley Schneider, Washington Redskins
    JoAn Scott, NCAA
    Ted Yeschin, Wasserman

    Spring 2017:
    Steve Buckhantz, Comcast SportsNet
    Niki DeSantis, Pixel Factory
    Brent Gambill, Richmond International Raceway
    Patrick Gotimer, George Mason University
    David Touhey, Monumental Sports & Entertainment

    University of Pennsylvania

    Fall 2016:
    Akshay Khanna, Philadelphia 76ers, New Jersey Devils and Prudential Center
    Rob Tilliss, Inner Circle Sports
    Jason Hillman, Cleveland Cavaliers
    Seth Berger, Philadelphia 76ers Innovation Lab

    Georgia Southern

    Richard Thornton, Atlanta Braves
    Dennette Thornton, Atlanta Braves

    University of Dubuque

    Via Skype:
    Brian Cristiano, BOLD Worldwide
    Rob Cressy, Cress Media

    Syracuse University

    Michael Behan, Legends
    Peter Carlisle, Octagon
    Anthony Di Fino, Syracuse University
    Sue Edson, Syracuse University
    Herman Frazier, Syracuse University
    Vera Jones, broadcaster and author
    Mari Lee, UFC
    Floyd Little, Pro Football Hall of Fame
    Seth Markman, ESPN
    Steve Mayer, NHL
    Gerry Matalon, Playbook Inc.
    Ian McFate, Aramark
    Linda Natoli, The Oncenter
    Melissa Richards-Person, Papa John’s Pizza
    Jim Sarosy, Syracuse Crunch
    Jason Smorol, Syracuse Chiefs
    Brandon Steiner, Steiner Sports Marketing
    Eric Stensland, Dunkin’ Brands
    Mark Wheeler, Syracuse University

    Via Skype:
    Lisa Baird, U.S. Olympic Committee
    Tracie Hitz, NCAA
    Bill Hofheimer, ESPN
    Christy Huggins, Eventbrite
    Jake Kelfer, author “Elevate Beyond”
    Adam Lefkoe, Bleacher Report,
    Carolyn McCaslin, Legends
    Brian Poliakoff, Twitter
    Lloyd Richards, Mercedes-Benz Stadium
    Jacquelyn Sparks, New Jersey Devils
    John Swofford, Atlantic Coast Conference

    University of Central Florida

    The DeVos Distinguished Speaker Series is held Fridays while school is in session from August through May. The DeVos Sport Business Management Program also includes an ESPN Executive in Residence on campus each year in partnership with the network.
    John Skipper, ESPN
    Adam Silver, NBA
    Roger Goodell, NFL
    Michael Whan, LPGA
    Stacey Allaster, U.S. Tennis Association
    Alex Martins, Orlando Magic
    David Wright, Minor League Baseball
    Bernie Mullin, The Aspire Group
    Jeremy Schaap, ESPN
    Lonnie Ali, civil rights advocate and widow of Muhammad Ali
    Bernard Franklin, NCAA
    Jason Collins, former NBA player and first openly gay NBA player
    Donna Orender, former WNBA commissioner; Generation W
    Judy Sweet, first female Division I AD
    Abe Madkour, SportsBusiness Journal / SportsBusiness Daily

    Saint Joseph’s University

    Fall 2016:
    Don DiJulia, Saint Joseph’s University
    Tim Curran, Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment
    Chad Biggs, Philadelphia 76ers
    Ryan Bucciarelli, Philadelphia 76ers
    Shaun Gallagher, Philadelphia Union
    Rodney Morris, BrainDo Analytics, Web Analytics and Web Development
    Braden Moore, Philadelphia 76ers and New Jersey Devils

    Spring 2017:
    Tim Curran, Van Wagner Sports & Entertainment
    David Halberstam, Halby Group
    Troy Ewanchyna, NBC Sports Group
    Mark Ruzomberka, NBC Sports Group
    Kevin Lappen, NBC Sports Group
    Darryl Haberman, MLB Advanced Media
    Preston McClellan, PGA Tour
    Dan Rudley, SendtoNews
    Christa Linzey, Philadelphia Phillies
    April Carty-Sipp, WPVI-TV 6ABC
    Joe Sheridan, Global Spectrum/ Liacouras Center at Temple University
    Kevin Carroll, Kevin Carroll Katalyst
    Michael Siegel, Impact Sports Management

    Sport for Social Change and Social Justice Speaker Series
    The first event in this speaker series is the screening of “They Said We Couldn’t Play,” a documentary about the members of the Negro League’s Philadelphia Stars, followed by a panel discussion including:
    Dan Stephenson, Philadelphia Phillies, manager of video production; “They Said We Couldn’t Play” writer and producer
    Dr. John B. Lord, Saint Joseph’s University
    Rob Holiday, Philadelphia Phillies
    Ken Johnson, Philadelphia Phillies
    Dr. Mahlene Duckett Lee, Divi Consulting
    Second event of the speaker series: Ethan Medley, New York Giants
    Third event of the speaker series: Dr. Kiersten White, Saint Joseph’s University

    University of South Dakota

    Fall 2016
    Erica Westhoff, Denny Sanford Premier Center, Arena and Convention Center, Orpheum Theater Center

    Spring 2017
    Morgan Lunz, Portland Timbers

    — Compiled by SportsBusiness Journal research

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