By Joy Sun & Matt Gwin
March Madness Jobs Pt I: School Athletic Department Careers
For colleges with major Division I sports programs, the athletics departments are big business. Many football and basketball coaches are the highest paid employees of their universities, making more than their university presidents or any professors. But the athletic offices include way more than just coaches.
Coaches come from all avenues. On one end, Georgetown’s coach, Patrick Ewing, is an NBA Hall of Famer, and had no head coaching experience before landing the prestigious Georgetown job. Frank Martin, who took South Carolina to the Final Four last year, on the other hand, got his start by filling in for a no-show coach for a high school JV team and worked his way up by having success at many different incremental stops for 20 years until he landed a head coaching gig at Kansas State. Chris Mack, who has coached Xavier to its first #1 seed this year, worked in Xavier basketball for more than 10 years in various assistant and administrative jobs before he got the Head Men’s Basketball gig.
Athletic directors (and assistants/deputies)
Athletic Directors’ offices run the whole athletic department. They schedule games and tournaments for all their sports teams, hire coaches and staff, provide resources to student-athletes, oversee player eligibility, and liaison with the conference and with the NCAA.
Jennifer Cohen became the athletic director for the University of Washington in 2016. Prior to that, she worked in fundraising for university athletics. She’s also worked as an assistant director of development and has overseen the football and baseball teams. Cohen has Master’s Degrees in physical education and sports administration.
Training and medical staff
Physical therapists, strength & conditioning coaches, nutritionists, physicians, and nurses all have roles within athletic staffs. They help players improve performance by getting stronger, eating better, preventing injuries and recovering from injuries.
David Fluker is Associate Head Athletic Trainer for Xavier, and the main trainer for the men’s basketball team. Fluker has a degree in sports medicine-athletic training and a Master’s in health education-human performance. He has spent his career as an athletic trainer for various organizations, including the University of Cincinnati, the Olympic Training Center in Colorado, and for the USA Judo Team.
Video coordinators collect, organize, edit, and maintain game and scouting film for use by players and coaches in preparation for upcoming games or studying previous ones.
Hunter Henderson is the Director of Multimedia Services for men’s basketball at NC State. He has a degree in Sport Management, and prior to his current position he’s also served as an assistant coach and as a video coordinator for various schools.
Equipment managers maintain, order, organize, distribute, and in some cases, design, team equipment, uniforms, and other gear, to keep the teams outfitted and performing at their best.
Demetrius Daniels has worked in the equipment office at Kansas University since 2007, and now oversees equipment for a number of sports. He got his start as an athletic equipment intern at Villanova.
Public relations/Media relations
The Public Relations/Media Relations/Communications offices promote the schools’ teams’ reputation and popularity, publicize student-athletes’ achievements on and off the court, run the school athletics website and social media, and organize press conferences for coaches and athletes.
As Strategic Communications Manager at Kansas University, Rachel Pincus oversees social media strategy and implementation for the main athletics account and sport-specific accounts. She coordinates with photographers, videographers, graphic designers, as well as other personnel from the athletics office and the teams.
NEXT: March Madness Careers Part II: Sports Broadcasting Careers and Part III: NCAA Headquarters Careers