In one of the more famous television commercials that ran during March Madness, a voiceover claims, “There are over 400,000 NCAA student-athletes, and just about all of us will be going pro in something other than sports.”
The motto refers to the small percentage of collegians that make it to the big leagues in their respective sports. But this past January, nine Linfield student-athletes learned that there are many other opportunities to extend their sports careers beyond graduation through their enrollment and engagement in a unique and focused academic course.
In January 2013, twenty students had the opportunity to network with professionals in the sport management field. Students met with many professionals and alumni who worked at Nike, Adidas, Columbia Sportswear, the Portland Trailblazers, the Seattle Seahawks and more! This was the “Career Exploration Through the Lens of Sport Management” course taught by the Career Development staff. Through discussion panels, campus tours, and presentations, students were given a behind the scenes look on what it really means to be working in the Sport Management Industry.
Students also got the opportunity to explore careers outside sports by conducting six informational interviews with professionals of their choice in Portland, Ore. Informational interviews are a networking technique, and the information gleaned from interviews helped students choose or refine a career path and gain contacts. Several students even received internship opportunities from their interviews! All aspects of career development were taught during the field trip-packed course, including making business cards, writing a resume and how to stand out in an interview. Students practiced all of these techniques in mock interviews conducted by community professionals.
Guest speakers included:
- Scott Brosius (’88), Linfield baseball head coach and former Major League Baseball player
- Mark Wickman (’78), partner at Corrigan-Wickman Advisory and former Linfield men’s basketball player
- Tim Harris, president of the See Ya Later Foundation
- Garry Killgore, HHPA Department Chair and president of AQx Sports
- Colin Cowherd, host of “The Herd with Colin Cowherd” on ESPN Radio and ESPNU
Here is the complete list of site visits:
- Hillsboro Hops
- Columbia Sportswear
- Portland Timbers
- Portland Trailblazers
- Sports Management Worldwide
- Root Sports, Seattle
- Seattle Mariners
- Seattle Seahawks
- Rat City Rollers
- Chambers Bay Golf Course
- Tacoma Dome
- Rose Garden Arena
- Sports One
- 2 Hemispheres
- Sports Unlimited
- North Advertising Agency
- University of Oregon Athletics
- Warsaw School of Sports Management
- Eugene Running Company
-Michael Hampton & Kristi Mackay, Director & Assistant Director of Linfield’s Office for Career Development
It is crazy to look back on all the experiences we had being apart of this past Jan Term, and it seems impossible to try and pick just one. Our Seattle trip was one of my favorite trips because when I think of this class, it was unique, unconventional and special, and that was exactly what our Seattle trip was all about. It started off first as the 23 of us staying in a gorgeous house on the water outside of Seattle. We visited the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, Root Sports, Pike Place Market and Chambers Bay Golf Course. We were able to walk on the course and the fields of Safeco and Century Link. Out of all the places, Safeco Field was my favorite in Seattle. We got to meet with many people who work there, all who shared their stories of how they got there. Each story really opened my eyes again how many options there are in the sports world. Even though it is a difficult field and you have to work extremely hard, there are so many different routes you can go in the sports field, and professional sports are not the only option. Not only did this trip show us more about the sports industry, but it also was a huge bonding trip for the group. We had a huge group of different personalities and athletes, but we spent so much time traveling and in the house together that we really came together there. After that trip (and class in general), I knew that no class would compare to the experience I had. I was so lucky to spend the month meeting new people and learning about possible future careers, and will always look back on the experience with incredibly fond memories.
-Lauren Pyrch, sophomore, business, women’s soccer
During the Jan-Term class we got to travel to many different sport-related companies. One of the most memorable trips for me was going to Portland to talk with representatives for Adidas and the Portland Timbers. At Adidas, they took us behind the scenes and showed us the latest technology and designs for their shoes and apparel. This included their brand-new shoe with new “bounce” technology that came out in February. It was a unique experience to visit the Adidas campus and see all that goes into the design and testing of Adidas footwear. After visiting Adidas we had the opportunity to talk with the Portland Timbers’ front office. While visiting the Timbers, the first thing they did was take us on a tour of the field and the newly renovated stadium. We got to go out onto the field and take pictures as a group. We also learned about the new women’s soccer program that has recently started up and it happened to be the day after they announced their first couple players. We went to many other companies in Portland throughout the month, but the visits to Adidas and the Timbers really stuck out to me because of their great success as local Portland businesses.
-Karina Paavola, junior, business, softball
This class was such an amazing experience! We were fortunate enough to visit places everywhere from Adidas and Nike to the Trail Blazers, Timbers, Mariners, Seahawks and the up-and-coming Hillsboro Hops. I couldn’t tell you my favorite part of this class; I just loved everything about it. But I did narrow it down to my top two. One of my favorite visits was to Adidas. Don’t get me wrong: Nike is great! But the work atmosphere of Adidas was one that people would dream of. They worked like a team, and it was just a great community of people there to improve sports in any way that they could. My other favorite part of the class was the informational interviews. I managed to set up an interview with my hero, the manager of the Yankees, Joe Girardi. (Thanks to Brosius on that one!) I was able to make this connection (at my dream job) and hear his story on his path to success. This class made me realize how important it is to not only make connections, but to keep them as well. For a lot of us, it was an opportunity to see what areas and companies that we would like to work in and areas that we no longer would think of. We got to make some great connections in the sports world and I managed to get an internship out of it. If this class is offered again, you would be crazy not to take it.
-Victoria Thompson, sophomore, business management, volleyball
Director of Sports Information
McMinnville, OR 97128