Spotlight On: Chad Zurcher, University of Tennessee baseball

Chad Zurcher
Director of Operations
University of Tennessee Baseball
Complete bio at UT Athletics
Twitter: @Zurc2ss


What do the first 2 hours of your day look like? This can vary in many ways. It depends on the time of the year, what staff responsibilities I have, and what is currently happening at that time. Usually, I try to be the first one in the building to knock some things out before staff responsibilities and meetings pick up. During the summer, I spend the first few hours each day trying to prepare for road trips the following season. I usually try to lock up hotels in July and August for the following baseball season. Typically, I have a checklist heading into each day or week that I would like to accomplish, and I usually work on these items first thing to prevent an overload of what may pop up on a certain day whether we are in season, out of season or in fall practice period.

If I could go back to my first day on the job and give myself advice, what would it be? Thinking back to when I was hired, the advice I would give myself is be patient and be prepared. In the climate of college athletics, rarely do things go as planned, especially in season. First, I have to show a lot of patience. If I do not have patience, then the stress levels increase and it makes it harder to do the job correctly. Secondly, I must always be prepared with plan A, plan B, and even plan C. Things do not always go as planned, but my first two years have allowed me to develop back up plans incase we have a rain delay, traffic problems with travel, and any other scenario that may present itself. I spend a lot of time researching places we travel to plan meals, travel times, and making sure we are in a convenient location. I have learned that it is better to have a hotel with food and stores nearby as our team and staff may have different needs when on the road. When traveling with 40+ people, everyone needs to be able to get around without needing the bus always.

One go-to resource that helps with my duties? I would say one thing that really helps is spreadsheets. Being able to put items such as budget, hotel rooming lists, food orders, and itineraries in a spreadsheet allows me to be organized and make simple adjustments. Another resource would be other operations people. Whether that is other operations people at my school or at other schools, having communication to receive advice and knowledge is important. It helps understand places we may travel, and methods other people use to be successful in this line of work. My main job is to make sure everything is setup and no one else must worry about timing, meals, travel, and equipment during the season. Our managers at Tennessee are also another great resource. They do a lot of work behind the scenes to make sure everything runs smoothly and we stay organized.

Best career or work advice I have received? I would say the best advice I have received is do the job to the best of your ability and adjust when necessary. All I can do in my role is be prepared in every situation, and like athletes, adjust when needed. I feel like if I am fully prepared, then I will be able to adjust. Just like any line of work, when someone is not prepared is when things really go astray from what was envisioned or planned. Things are never going be perfect, but that does not mean I cannot be prepared if I put in the necessary time and work.

First event, person or job that sparked my interest in this field? I believe my interest was sparked by playing sports at the college level. I knew when my career was over that I wanted to work in college athletics. Being a baseball player, there is no better job for me than baseball operations. I get to be around the game I grew up playing and get to provide the necessary resources for our team and staff to be successful. I can allow them to focus on the on field aspect of the game because everything else is taken care of. Al Woods at Memphis helped a lot because we had a close relationship when I played at Memphis that allowed me to understand what this industry is like. I can still talk to him and bounce questions off of him that allow me to be successful as well.

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