By Dr. Howard Gauthier
In last week’s blog, The Competition For Jobs In The Sports Industry Is Stiff – Prepare Accordingly, I shared four strategies a person should use in order to get a job in the sports industry. Today, I am discussing the first of these four strategies, seeking out a mentor.
When I began my sports career in 1984 I began by seeking advice from one of the best athletic directors in all of college sports. Mike Lude was the Athletic Director at the University of Washington and I was working in Finance in downtown Seattle, having recently received my bachelor’s degree in Business Administration. I had a great passion for sports and wanted to combine my formal education with this passion. My father-in-law suggested that I contact the athletic director at Washington and pick his brain. So I called Mike Lude and two days later I was sitting in his office asking several well thought-out questions. Mr. Lude gave me about two hours of his time that day. And it was his insights, advice, and recommendations, that gave me the foundational beginnings for a 25+ year career as a men’s basketball coach and Division I athletic director.
Throughout my career I stayed in touch with Mr. Lude and kept him updated on my progress. This type of mentorship is common, and has at least three main objectives – it provides you with the knowledge necessary to put you on the right career path, it also speeds up your career path, and finally it helps you to begin your networking. I can’t emphasize enough how important it is to your career to elicit help and advice from someone you knows the correct career path and what mistakes to side step.
I’m not by far the only person who has used the guidance, advice, and motivation of someone within the profession. Take Jennifer Cohen for example. She is the current athletic director at the University of Washington. As youngster she sought the advice from the University of Washington football coach, Don James. Cohen was interested in becoming a football coach and Don James encouraged her to follow her passion for sports. You can see an interview with Cohen here, where she discusses the impact Coach James had on her life.
Working in sports is a great adventure. Whether you coach or are an administrator like Jennifer Cohen, you should follow your passion for sports and pursue a career in the sports world. But the competition for jobs in the sports world is keen. Don’t settle for trying to advance your career by yourself. Seek out and accept help from others. In other words talk to professionals and ask for their help and advice. Be a sponge and soak up the knowledge of others – the knowledge of the profession and the knowledge of how to get a job. If you want it bad enough, you can get the job of your dreams. Best of luck as you pursue your sports career!
Remember, ultimately the job will go to the candidate who is prepared and who effectively executes the basics of the job interview process. In all you do, you will want to EXECUTE FOR SUCCESS!
Howard Gauthier is an Associate Professor of Athletic Administration at Idaho State University. He is a former collegiate athletic director and collegiate basketball coach. He is also an author of 9 books. Check out his book, Getting Hired In College Sports – 2nd Edition at www.sportscareersinstitute.com.
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- Techniques and strategies to prepare for your interview
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“I have recommended this book to many aspiring sports administrators. A must read for anyone whom has a goal of working in athletic administration”
Director of Athletics
Sonoma State University