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Isaac Milner ’24

A Path to Sport Management Success

photo of Isaac Milner.

Posted on 02.07.24 by Mariah Johnston '25 in School of Business

The Missing Piece

The Front Office crew touring the Portland Trailblazers facility.Two years ago, Isaac Milner ’24, a dedicated sport management major at Linfield University, embarked on a journey to secure his dream internship with the Portland Trailblazers.

The first time he applied, he was rejected because while he had all the strongest markers for a perfect intern, he was lacking one critical thing — experience.

Recognizing the importance of gaining experience, Isaac took matters into his own hands. He knew that gaining experience before entering the job market was super important and time was running out. Linfield did not have any work-study positions available to meet this need — so he decided to create one.

Heading up front office

Isaac and Professor Damian Williams from Linfield’s business department brainstormed what they could create together to gain industry experience. Eventually, they made a decision. They would create a front office team.

"I was considered by Damian and all other members, the creator of the Front Office," Isaac said. "I led efforts to create the framework for how we would operate with my main goal for the organization being to provide students with the experience they need to take the next big career step."

This initiative, now gaining popularity at Linfield, provides students from all majors with valuable insights into the sports world – offering practical experience in brand partnerships.

“I'm more proud of the people who galvanized around me after than my contributions,” Isaac said. “JJ Anderson, Josh Oakley, Kathryn Canfield and Kaylee Barnum are members and there’s a lot of passion for sports and their careers there.”

Isaac's involvement with the front office not only enriched his college experience but also played a pivotal role in securing his internship with the Trailblazers.

What he’s up to now

While staying committed to his studies on the Linfield campus, Isaac also makes the commute to Portland multiple times every week to fulfill his internship duties on gameday.

Isaac’s internship is centered around corporate partnerships but he is responsible for many additional tasks. He arrives early to the stadium to help get it set up, decorating the suites, and escorting partners into the arena. After the game has ended, he stays and cleans up afterward.

“We want to make sure our partners see we’re doing a good job of relaying their branding to our fans and leveraging the Trailblazers brand,” Isaac said.

Although Isaac puts in a lot of his time at the Blazers stadium, he still works hard to prioritize his studies.

“I’m always working on balance,” Isaac said. “If I'm doing something that is beneficial to my career I will keep priority to that. If I have homework to do, I might stay after work to finish it.”

This dedication reflects his commitment to both his education and his budding career in sports management.

Utilizing his resources

Isaac's success story wouldn't be complete without acknowledging the support he received from the great people around him.

“I owe a lot of my success to Michael Hampton in Career Development and Damian Williams,” Isaac said.

The Office of Career Development strives to connect students with internships and job opportunities while also preparing students for the real world. Like many students, Isaac was able to utilize this department’s alumni resources to help him land his internship.

“I realized too late how competitive the sports industry is. If I would've started as a freshman, I could’ve utilized the resources on campus and reached out to alumni earlier,” Isaac said.

Isaac’s journey is just one example of the value that Linfield brings its students combining career development, creating opportunities, building networks and pursuing one's passion.

Now that Isaac is interning at his dream job, he encourages his fellow peers to reach out to him.

“I always want to help people who are freshmen and don't know what to do. I want to be a resource for those people. It's scary to reach out but you have to make connections,” Isaac said. “I want to be that connection.”