Spotlight On: Sam Curtis, USC Football

Sam Curtis
Assistant Director of Football Operations
USC Football
Hometown: South Fulton, Tennessee
Education: Tennessee-Martin; Tennessee
Official bio
Twitter: @scurtis7700

What do the first two hours of your day look like?

I’m normally at my desk by 6:00 am, and over the next two hours I try to get as much accomplished as possible before we have staff meeting at 8:30 am. That includes checking emails, building my to-do list, 6:45 am Operations staff meetings, stocking the kitchen, meal reimbursements, etc.

Name one go-to resource (or two or three) that helps you with your duties. 

  • Teamworks
  • RedCard (CAMP App), which stands for College Athletics Meal Plan, allows us to provide a meal or snack to our players from various restaurants around campus without having to bring in caterers, waste food/money, or time. This app allows us to track what each of our Student-Athletes are eating, provides them with dynamic food options, and allows them to eat on their own time instead of the time that we allot for them.
  • “Reminder” app on the iPhone. Many tasks are given on the fly and inserting a reminder in my phone helps exponentially in following up or carrying out that task later in the day.

If you could go back to your first day on the job and give yourself one piece of advice, what would it be?

Honestly, I would tell myself to stay true to myself. Since the beginning of my career I’ve set out to do two things. The first is to try to have a connection with just about every person I come into contact with. Whether that is within our football office, our athletic department, or anyone on campus; I try to treat everyone with respect and build relationships. In my opinion, one of the biggest resources an Operations staff member can have is people.

Secondly, I try to keep my head down and work as hard as I can. No job is too big or too small. Whether that is organizing and planning travel, class checking, or even filling coolers. Whatever it takes to make your organization better, you have to be willing to do it. Do not let your ego get in the way of the overall success of your organization.

Name one new thing you want to accomplish within the next year?

As a team, I want us to take the next step and make the college football playoffs.

Personally, I want to stay connected with all of the contacts that I have made throughout my career. We often get caught up in our daily tasks, but I would like to take a few minutes out of each day to send a text to a former colleague or write a letter to a coach that I have formerly worked with. A little goes a long way.

As you look at the athletic operations field, what is one area that is growing/changing the most?

The immersion of technology as it pertains to graphics and social media has increased dramatically over the last couple of years. I think that it is vital that organizations push the boundaries on the social media frontier and strive to connect with the younger generation that we recruit.

Best career or work advice you ever received?

Jake Kirkendall, who was my mentor at the University of Tennessee and now the DFO at Vanderbilt, always taught me to never panic. No matter the situation, no matter what is happening, never panic and find the best possible solution that you can.

First event, person, or job that sparked your interest in this field of work.

David Elliott, who is the Associate Athletics Director for Event Management at the University of Tennessee, also helped the football team with team travel. When I first arrived at Tennessee as a graduate student, I began interning for him. He allowed me to assist him with various tasks such as data input for flight manifests, hotel rooms, bus routes, etc. Those tasks really grabbed my attention and eventually directed me into joining the Football Operations staff at Tennessee during my time as a graduate student.

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