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Posts tagged ‘sport management’

RMU Internship Spotlight – Mallory Ross, WNBA’s Washington Mystics

Mallory RossName: Mallory Ross
Hometown: Kansas City, Missouri
Major: Sport management
Year of Graduation: 2016
Internships: Washington Mystics of the WNBA (Summer 2013); Pittsburgh Penguins (Spring 2014)

Mallory Ross is well on her way to a promising career in professional basketball. A member of Robert Morris University’s Sport Management Association, the sophomore hopes to land a position in NBA league development following graduation. By doing so she’ll be continuing her family’s tradition in the league: her father, Bob Ross, played for the Chicago Bulls 73-76; her great uncle, Josh Grider, was one of the Harlem Globetrotters.

How did you find out about the internship?
RMU has a great alumni system for sport management. Murray Cohn ’88, vice president for NBA team ticket sales, is actually a family friend. Last February at the Mt. Union Sports Sales Workshop in Cleveland, he introduced me to Danita Johnson, the director of sales with the Mystics.

What was your typical day like?
Each day was different, but mostly I helped with Mystics fan events, player events, and worked all the home games, too. I actually created a couple events myself during the summer. One was Women’s Inspire Night, which brought women entrepreneurs together to network. Another was Camp Day, where we invited local children’s camps to a Mystics day game.

What was the best thing you took away from the internship?
The knowledge I learned about the corporate world. You can only learn so much in school. When you get out in the real world, things are definitely different. You realize the importance of building strong relationships.

Do you play basketball too?
Yes. I’ve been playing since I was a kid. I also took a post-grad year at the IMG academy in Bradenton, Florida where I got to learn from NBA greats like Dwayne Wade (Miami Heat) and Glen Davis (Orlando Magic), and I even got to train with Andrew McCutchen of the Pittsburgh Pirates.

What do you hope to do with your major?
I’d love to work in the league office, helping with domestic and international growth, particularly the NBA’s transition program, which helps players have productive lives after their careers are over.

Not Just Another Pretty Face – Alissa Dorman and N9NE Athletics

Alissa Dorman

When Alissa Dorman ’10 M’12 was a starting forward and co-captain of Robert Morris University’s Women’s Ice Hockey team, she would put on mascara and straighten her hair before every game. When the opposing players saw her, they would try to get under her skin by calling her “beauty queen.” But that just made her laugh.

“I’ve been called worse,” she says.

Dorman, who studied advertising, sport management, and organizational leadership at Robert Morris, is the face behind N9NE Athletics, an up-and-coming online women’s athletics fashions retailer with a powerful message for female athletes.

“N9NE is designed to represent any female who puts her game face on,” says Dorman. “It’s about being confident in being a female; being strong and tough and not apologizing for it.”

During her time at RMU, Dorman wanted to find a way to promote girls’ athletics and to show that you could be both tough and feminine at the same time. “To me it wasn’t about looking a certain way,” she says, “but more about putting my game face on. And I knew I wasn’t the only female athlete who did this. So I created a Facebook group and started gaining a following. My brother Scott and I kicked around some ideas of what we could do with this vision, and ultimately we decided to start a line of statement tees that would shed some light on femininity in sport, with a little edge.”

Originally from Madison, Wisc., Dorman started playing when she was just four years old and was often the only girl on the team. “Growing up, people were always surprised that I played hockey,” she says. “I used to come home from school and play Barbies until hockey practice.” She came to RMU after being recruited for the women’s hockey program, which was started in 2005. “I remember coming for my visit, and I fell in love with the city. That August I packed my car and drove from Madison to Pittsburgh by myself. I was nervous about leaving home, but I quickly found a family in my team and ended up staying for seven years.”

In 2009, Dorman served has class vice president and was the recipient of the university’s Outstanding Senior Award. After graduation, she worked as a marketing coordinator for American Eagle Outfitters while pursuing her M.S. in organizational leadership from RMU. After that she worked as a social media coordinator for Lululemon Athletica in Columbus, Ohio, before landing her current role as an account coordinator for GMR Marketing in Milwaukee.

Dorman says having been a student athlete has definitely helped her in her career, whether it’s been getting her in the door for an interview or networking with people. “One of the biggest things RMU taught me is how to be a leader and how to work with people,” she says. “Being an athlete, you quickly learn the importance of working together. I have noticed that is one thing employers will look for. At Robert Morris, that same lesson was carried over into the classroom.”

Alissa DormanN9NE launched its first statement tee (“My Game Face Includes Mascara”) in September, and Dorman says they hope to unveil two more in the early part of next year. “We’re a new company, and staying on brand is very important to us. We want to make sure we do it the right way.”

Down the road she hopes N9NE Athletics will be a household name, with the retailer’s fashions in every Dick’s Sporting Goods store across the country. “There is a lot of work to be done and we need to catch a few breaks along the way, but we really feel the potential is there to make this something big.” ~

Written by Valentine J. Brkich

Twitter: @n9neathletics

Alumni Profile: Jason Kobeda ’07

Jason KobedaCurrent Position: Ballpark Maintenance Manager for the Pittsburgh Pirates
Degree: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; Sport Management Concentration

What were the best aspects of your RMU experience?
I have very fond memories of my time at RMU. The people and the education were what you would expect from a first-class institution. Being in the sports management department is not like other curriculums. It is a fraternity of people who know they’re entering a demanding and competitive environment. The professors were always available to give advice and continue to be friends of mine six years after graduating.

Why did you choose RMU?
I chose RMU because of the number of distinguished alumni their sports management program produced. I spoke with Kevin Colbert at Steelers training camp and he recommended that I meet with Dr. Dave Synowka. Seeing what an endorsement that is, I set up a meeting and he sold me on the program.

How long have you known you wanted to work in the sports industry?
Since I was about 19. At that point I was working toward a more typical career in engineering, but decided to be more aggressive in pursuing my dreams. I studied editorial journalism hoping to make it as a sports writer, but as I became more familiar with that industry, I realized I wanted to be in the sport, not writing about it. I am in my second season with the Pirates, which is my first job in baseball. I spent time interning or working part-time for three NFL teams, then worked on the sports business side of city government, and now MLB.

Were you involved with any activities/groups at RMU?
Not as many as I should’ve been. I was with the Sport Management Association briefly, but couldn’t stay because of work commitments. I held five different internships during my time at RMU, which took a lot of my time. I helped where I could as a student equipment manager and with certain activities like the Susan Hofacre 5k. I am now a member of the alumni group and speak annually at the conference.

Interview by Corinne Katich

Build It and They Will Come – Wiffle Ball Bonanza

wiffle ball bonanza

A Coachmen Camper acts as the right field wall. It is approximately 18 feet long and 12 feet tall. A ball must clear/hit the top of the camper to be ruled home run.

Each year on the second weekend in July people from all over converge on the small town of Ligonier, Pa., to celebrate America’s great backyard pastime—wiffle ball.

The Wiffle Ball Bonanza (WBB) is the brainchild of RMU senior Zachary Freeman. Back in 2008, Freeman, a transfer student and sport management major, went to a two-on-two basketball tournament and had a great time. Wanting to do something similar, he and some friends came up with an idea for a wiffle ball tournament. “We ended up building an actual field and everything,” says Freeman. “It was our ‘Kevin Costner’ moment.”

The first Wiffle Ball Bonanza in 2008 only had four teams. The next year Freeman did it again for his graduation party, had t-shirts made, and worked with his dad to improve the field. As a result, they had 36 participants and for the first time the champions received an official champions’ trophy. Eventually he generated more interest through Facebook and got sponsors for the event. They also made further improvements to the field, adding a fence, foul poles, bleachers, and bases. “I know it sounds ridiculous for wiffle ball,” says Freeman, “but McGliney Park is a legitimate stadium.”

Freeman, who had an internship for the Dick’s Sporting Goods Pittsburgh Marathon last November through this May, says things “really started coming together” in 2010. It was around that time that he thought about doing something good with the tournament. Being a juvenile diabetic himself, he decided to make it an annual fundraiser for the Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation (JDRF). In 2011, they raised $800. Last year the tournament brought in $1,500.

“It’s amazing how much the Wiffle Ball Bonanza has grown in six short years,” says Freeman. “This year a record 75 people will take the field. Without the support of family, friends, and all of its sponsors, the WBB would not be able to happen. I am grateful for all those who take a genuine interest in this great event.” ~

Written by Valentine J. Brkich

The 2013 Wiffle Ball Bonanza is this Saturday, July 13. Opening ceremonies begin at 9:30. For more information, visit

ALUMNI PROFILE: Jason Evans ’02

Evans-WebResidence: Pittsburgh
Year of Graduation.: 2002
Major: Sport Management/Business Administration
Current position: Head Ice Hockey Coach, Chatham University Cougars

Tell us about your RMU experience:
I worked full-time during my college days, while playing hockey, and couldn’t have been supported more by faculty and staff. I enjoyed it enough that I brought both of my brothers to RMU – Justin ’06 (education) and Jesse ’10 (graphic design).

Why did you choose RMU?
I was looking at RMU and Pitt, but I decided the class sizes suited me better at RMU. The sport management program was also a heavy determining factor.

How long have you been into hockey?
I played locally and began coaching high school hockey in 1998. At RMU I played for the club team and later coached the ACHA Division III team (2004) and the ACHA Division I team (2005-10). There were a few coaches before me that lead the way. We had a great team and won three conference championships, four conference playoff championships, and enjoyed four trips to ACHA National Championship tournaments. We had a lot of great moments along the way, and I still think about them often. Interesting note: Our entire staff on the Cougars hockey team is comprised of Robert Morris alumni (Jon Hoffman ’08, assistant ice hockey coach; Jerry Hillman ’07, equipment manager), and we’re looking to add another recent RMU graduate to the 2013-14 staff.

Did you take part in any other activities/groups at RMU?
I didn’t leave much time to join other groups. But communication classes with Prof. Jim Vincent and management classes with Dr. John Clark were plenty entertaining.


Bill shows off his boss's World Series ring

Bill shows off his boss’s World Series ring

Residence: Augusta, Ga.
Year of Graduation: 1994
Major: Bachelor of Science in Business Administration; Sport Management Concentration
Current position: Group sales manager for the Augusta GreenJackets, Class A affiliate of the San Francisco Giants

How did you end up coming to RMU?
I went to two prior schools before ultimately transferring to RMU. My original plan of trying to become a baseball coach took a detour, and I focused more on getting involved with the “business” side of industry. I liked how RMU’s curriculum was more business-based than other schools.

What was your RMU experience like?
The campus size suited me well, as my professors got to know me personally and professionally. It was also neat to be close to a major city like Pittsburgh, though RMU was far enough away that you can enjoy the peace and quiet.

Did you take part in any other activities/groups at RMU?
I worked for Marty Galosi in the sports information office for several years. I was also an assistant in the intramural office my last year there.

How did you get into minor league sports?
All my professors at RMU kept telling me to get involved and get motivated, so I started getting involved in things both on and off campus. When there was talk of a minor league baseball team coming to my hometown of Wilmington, Del., I contacted the local reporter for the paper there who was covering the story. He put me in touch with Buddy Harrelson, who was one of the team’s original owners. Buddy told the G.M. there he was impressed how I tracked him down. That led to an internship there. After doing another internship with the Blue Rocks the following year, I went to graduate school at Delta State University. I missed minor league baseball though, and did another internship with the Hudson Valley Renegades in New York. That helped me land my first full time job in Texas with the Midland RockHounds baseball team and Odessa Jackalopes hockey team, who were under the same ownership group.

What’s the minor league world like?
It is different than the show the fans see. We work very long and very hard. There is all kinds of work behind the scenes: selling sponsorships and tickets, coordinating events night after night, being able to adapt on the fly in case of a weather situation, etc. There are all kinds of details the fans don’t see that go into the final product. For example, a little league most likely just won’t buy hundreds of tickets. At our level, we need to provide incentives such as going onto the field, bringing the mascot to their location, providing order forms for the individual parents to order tickets. There is an awful lot of planning, coordination, and reaching out to many people to pull a night off. Many people have ideas, but you need to pick and choose what you do and what you put your efforts into. Just because we are in sports doesn’t mean you are on “easy street,” which I think some people think. We are effected by the same factors as other businesses. It is not uncommon for teams to move and/or fold and/or get new ownership and/or make cutbacks and/or get new management teams. So often, like in my case, you may a lot of moves. Many employees also move to another city for a promotion. It is a great feeling though to see an event come together and know that you played a role in it. With all the problems the world seems to have, minor league baseball is one thing that can bring entire communities together.

How has your RMU education helped you in your career?
Anytime I have a problem or I need someone to talk to, I know I can call Dave Synowka. If he can’t help me, he will put me in touch with a fellow RMU alumni who understands my situation. I feel connected to RMU. They also are concerned about my future growth, as evidenced by them always wanting me to be a part of their annual sport management conference. This not only allows me to share my thoughts with others, it allows me to learn from both students and industry insiders. Dave also has other ways of keeping the alumni connected. RMU is definitely a school that raises eyebrows when people see it listed on a resume.

RMU Sport Management Grads on Both Sides for Super Bowl XLVII

Super BowlWith Super Bowl XLVII set for this weekend, millions of people around the world are getting ready to sit back and watch the Baltimore Ravens battle the San Francisco 49ers for the NFL title and the coveted Vince Lombardi trophy.

And when the pigskin hits the air this Sunday night in New Orleans, four graduates of Robert Morris University’s Sport Management program will be there to represent their team/employer.

We caught up with these four recently to ask them a few questions about their RMU experience and their feelings about the big game. 

BRAD DOWNS ’99, Corporate Sales Account Executive at Baltimore Ravens

Brad DownsWhat’s your favorite part about your job?
I’d probably have to say the camaraderie with co-workers and the organization. Being part of a team and sharing in the highs (and lows) of professional sports.

How has your degree helped you in your current occupation?
My sport management degree really gave me the foundation for my career in sports. It prepared me right from the start about what life is like in the world of sports. It also gave me a head start on what it takes to break into the industry, from resources to gain internships, from networking opportunities, to volunteer opportunities.

Why is your team going to win?
I feel like it’s our year. We’ve been close a few years in a row now, and we seem to be playing our best right now. Not to mention the team seems to be rallying around Ray Lewis and his last ride.

KEITH WELDON ’03, Senior Account Executive, National Partnerships at Baltimore Ravens

Keith and Ashley WeldonWhat’s your favorite part about your job?
The relationships I have built with sponsors and peers in the industry. I have built a huge network connection and try and keep in touch with everyone as much as possible. I know people at several teams, in all four major pro leagues. I also have good relationships with decision makers at Under Armour, Coca-Cola, Verizon, and Southwest Airlines.

How has your degree helped you in your current occupation?
That’s an easy one. I wouldn’t be working in sports without it. It literally opened doors immediately and my career took off from there. The networking alone was worth it.

Why is your team going to win?
It’s a magical ride. We said it back in early November. Something special is happening with this football team this season. It was just a matter of getting healthy and getting into the playoffs.

NATHAN DILORENZO ’07, Sales Consultant for the San Francisco 49ers

Nathan DiLorenzoWhat’s your favorite part about your job?
My favorite part about my job is the people. Whether it’s my co-workers, fans, or high-level executives, everyone has a passion for sports.

How has your degree helped you in your current occupation?
It’s the reason I have my current occupation. If it wasn’t for Dr. Clark introducing me to Dr. Sutton my last semester at RMU, I would have never made the connections I did in securing my job with the 49ers. Also, my fellow alum Heather Mulvaney landed a position with the 49ers before I did. She helped get my resume to the right people, which is key when trying to get your foot in the door. Networking plays a vital role in this industry, and RMU has one of the best networks of any university in the country when it comes to sports.

I received a dual degree in Marketing and Sport Management. This is helpful because its shows employers you were willing to take on more than just the required course load. Also, marketing and sales goes hand-in-hand so learning both early will help accelerate your experience. The best advice I can give to any current students: STAY BUSY! There are opportunities all around you—take advantage of every single one or as many as you can. You never know who you’re going to meet or build a relationship with.

Why is your team going to win?
First off, I’m so excited to be a part of the team that denies the Ravens of getting another ring. We’re going to win because we have the best coaching staff in the NFL. I can’t say enough about how incredible of a job Coach Jim Harbaugh does. He has the guys ready and prepared every day to get better. He’s turned us into one of the toughest teams to prepare for. The only thing that makes me nervous for this game is…directly across the field on the other sideline will be a VERY similar counterpart.

HEATHER MULVANEY ’08, New Stadium Sales Coordinator for the San Francisco 49ers

Heather MulvaneyWhat’s your favorite part about your job?
I am a part of selling the coolest, most advanced, and innovative new stadium in the world—not to mention we have an awesome team on the field. What could be cooler than that?

How has your degree helped you in your current occupation?
My degree helped me understand the sports world from a business perspective instead of a fan perspective. More than my degree though, the relationships I made with my professors and other RMU alumni have helped me get here.

Why is your team going to win?
We’ve got something special going on out here, and I know our team is great. We are on a quest for six! GO NINERS!


by Valentine J. Brkich