What do the first two hours of your day look like?
I really like to get to the office early in the morning so I can get a workout in before the day starts. That’s how I anchor my day. After I work out I’ll typically have another hour to 90 minutes before the rest of our coaching staff gets in, which is great because it gives me some quiet time to plan out the rest of my day, prepare for any upcoming meetings, and set a priority list of things to get done that day. Having that organizational time each day is crucial!
Name one go-to resource (or two or three) that helps you with your duties.
I really value the relationship I’ve built with Kim Moore of Meetings Plus Moore. She is able to handle all of the booking aspects of our hotels from the point of sourcing various hotels at a given location all the way through the negotiation and execution of the contract. Her assistance has saved an enormous amount of time and frustration on my part. I also couldn’t do what I do without the people we have at Penn. We probably have one of the highest functioning facilities/operations groups in the country. And everyone else from ticket operations to the academic/student development staff really elevate everything our program is trying to accomplish on a daily basis.
If you could go back to your first day on the job and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?
Prepare for the unpreparable. You can be as organized as possible and as on top of things as possible, but you always have to be anticipating what will go wrong or what won’t work. Some of that knowledge comes with experience, but I would have been well-suited to have been more concerned with contingency plans for everything we do.
Name one new thing you want to accomplish within the next year?
For our team, my theme this year is definitely innovation. After three seasons of building our program we’ve fallen into a pretty good groove with what we do, so this year I want to take a step back and see what we can be doing more efficiently or more effectively. How can we make official visits better? How can we feed our student-athletes better? What can we do to up the level of our gear and apparel? How can we adjust our team’s schedule so we’re being efficient with the student-athletes’ time? Those are all of the off-the-court areas that I want our program to take the next step with.
For me, professionally, I’ve been fortunate enough to expand my responsibilities to helping other teams at Penn in a sort of sport administrator capacity, so I definitely want to dive deeper into those areas and improve the operations of the sports I work with.
For me, personally, I really love going to the movies so I want to make more of an effort to be able to take a mental break from work and go to the movie theater when possible.
As you look at the athletic operations field, what is one area that is growing/changing the most?
I believe that the role of director of operations has evolved over the last five years to the point where it’s now viewed as much more of an administrative role as opposed to a coaching staff role. Especially outside of the Power 5 schools, where resources may be more scarce, operations people are now being tasked with handling/monitoring things like team budgets. That definitely wasn’t happening as much when I was in college.
Best career or work advice you ever received?
Cheryl Levick recently came to Penn and did some workshops with our administrators and she instructed us to make our beds every morning so that we start the day accomplishing a task in a successful way. That’s a pretty good one. I’m also a big fan of Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson from a motivational perspective and love his “be the hardest worker in the room” mentality. As one of my college roommate always used to say, good things happen to people who work hard.
First event, person, or job that sparked your interest in this field of work.
There are so many people that have shaped my career path, but Dan McDermott – who’s currently the Director of Operations for the Boston College men’s basketball team – provided me with my first glimpse at the operations world during my time at BC. From day one as a student-manager, I was fascinated with how much of a positive impact an operations position could have on the entire basketball program and that became something I wanted to replicate in my own career.
What is the most creative or innovative thing you’ve had to do to address a specific incident or situation?
Before every game our assistant coaches will go through the scouting report for the team we’re about to play. Two season ago, partway through the season as a way of changing things up, our coaches decided they wanted to start showing their video scout clips before the game. This is easy for home games because we can just do our normal team film setup in the locker room. On the road, however, it’s always an adventure to figure out how/where I can set up our portable projector to show the scout film. As you can imagine, every locker room is different and very few are accommodating/comfortable for visiting teams so it’s become a fun game of how to get the video set up. Sometimes the best and only option is piling the team into the shower area of the visiting team locker room to set up the projector.
photo courtesy Penn Athletics