CSL Daily

October 30, 2015

Get To Work… Sports Marketing

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.38.40 PM

One of the most unique aspects of the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU is the opportunity to provide students with a year of real-world experience while simultaneously earning a master’s degree. Each Friday, we will be showcasing one of our current students, highlighting their graduate assistantship within the Richmond sports community. 

12119975_10102813202092506_2357250666333513107_oIt’s no secret schools must stay creative when it comes to marketing their athletics, and VCU is not immune. That is why the athletics-marketing department looks to the Center for Sport Leadership for students with fresh ideas and a drive to keep VCU fans entertained and excited for the upcoming seasons. Ashley Alletto is one of those students.

Alletto’s position has her doing unique work both in the office and on the field. She was responsible for women’s soccer and field hockey this fall and was in charge of IMG_9070coming up with halftime promotions, creating promotional materials, running music during games and using her leadership experience to help oversee the other interns working the game. She will also be in charge of the VCU app “Fan House” and baseball in the spring.

Alletto has experience with college marketing from her time as a marketing intern for Bradley University’s athletic department. She loved the experience of planning for game days in undergrad and it inspired her to pursue an assistantship in marketing with VCU during her time in the CSL. Alletto feels “I have learned a lot in the short amount of time I have held this role, from figuring out what it takes to plan and implement marketing plans, to in-game management, and how to be a good leader.”

From a wide variety of promotions and game-day experiences, Alletto says her favorite moment with VCU marketing involves a promotion called “Selfie Sunday” with the women’s soccer team where people tweeted photos to win a selfie stick and fan photos IMG_9060were put on the video board. She loved getting the opportunity to plan the promotion and pulling it all off in real time.

Alletto hopes to work in sports marketing and event management someday and this graduate assistantship will help her develop skills in creativity, organization and leadership.



October 29, 2015

CSL Faculty, Ph.D. Students Present at SMA

photo 3 (30)

The Center for Sport Leadership at VCU has a strong presence at the 2015 Conference of the Sport Marketing Association in Atlanta, Georgia.  CSL faculty members Dr. Brendan Dwyer and Dr. Greg Greenhalgh have a joint presentation: A Case of Multiple (Brand) Personalities: assessing source and perceptions among fans and non-fans.

photo 2 (43)

Greenhalgh is also presenting with colleagues from Temple University: An Examination of Partitioned Pricing of Sport Event Tickets and Environmental Fees.

Second year doctoral students Mark Slavich and Lisa Rufer also presented at the SMA Conference. Slavich’s presentation: Can Concession Take You Out to the Ballpark, focused on the role sport event concessions can play in motivating people to attend sporting events, focusing on the increase in concession quality and variety throughout sports.

photo 2 (41) photo 3 (28)



October 27, 2015

Hat Tip Tuesday


On Tuesdays, we offer a “tip of the hat” to current students and alumni who have been hired, promoted, recognized for outstanding achievement or embarked on new opportunities. 

brock berenato

Brock Berenato (’15) has been hired as the Director of Video and Player Personnel for Georgia Tech Women’s Basketball. Brock worked as a graduate assistant with VCU Women’s Basketball last year while enrolled at the CSL and was elevated to video coordinator in June.

traci bonds

Traci Bonds (’14) has been hired as the Academic Advisor for Football at the University of Central Florida.  Most recently, Traci was serving as an Academic Services Assistant for Football at the University of Kentucky.

mike fisher

Mike Fisher (’12) has been hired as the Director of the OId Dominion Athletic Fund. Most recently, Mike was the Assistant DIrector of the Tulane Athletic Fund, a position he’s been in for almost three years.

October 26, 2015

Hosting ESPN’s College GameDay

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.38.17 AM

The last two stops for ESPN’s popular College GameDay show has been the University of Michigan and James Madison University. At both schools, there is a Center for Sport Leadership alumni supervising their athletics communications department. Ben Blevins (’12) is the Director of Communications for Michigan Athletics. Kevin Warner (’07) is the Director of Communications at JMU.  Another CSL alum Devon Howard (’12) is the assistant director.

All three shared some thoughts about the working with the production staff, crew and an on-air talent to put on the three hour live broadcast each Saturday morning.

Ben Blevins, Director of Communications, University of Michigan Athletics:
Having College GameDay on campus is a great three-hour promotion for your school and provides an unforgettable experience for not only the students but also the staff, cheerleaders, band and others involved. That being said it is also a lot of work to pull off in a week. In our case, we had to work with the city to shut down a street, get enough security and police officers to staff, move three events scheduled in the location, notify all the staff in the nearby buildings about the changes and that was all before we could announce the location. At the end of the day, it turned out great but there were a lot of meetings early on to make sure it happened that way.


JMU Director of Athletic Communications & CSL alum Kevin Warner (center) with his staff, including CSL alum Devon Howard (2nd from right)

Kevin Warner: Director of Communications, JMU Athletics:
I was ESPN’s primary point of contact for the entire event. While it was a long week with lots of hours, the exposure and visibility for our university, as well as the excitement that the show generated, were immeasurable. Everyone at ESPN – producer, show talent, behind-the-scenes crew and bosses in Bristol – called it one of the best shows in College GameDay history with one of the best crowds. Our social media and web analytics were off the charts and the TV ratings performed well as well. Needless to say, it was a week to be remembered for James Madison University.

Devon Howard, Assistant Director of Communications, JMU Athletics:
“Professionally, I don’t know that it gets bigger than this, especially for an FCS program because you always hope for something like this, but never expect it to happen. The amount of exposure this gave ALL of our programs and the university was unparalleled. It was a week of little sleep and a lot of “other duties as assigned”, but seeing it all come together on Saturday morning – the crowds, the talent, everything – was amazing.”

Screen Shot 2015-10-26 at 9.56.45 AM


October 23, 2015

Get To Work…Football Operations

Screen Shot 2015-10-30 at 12.31.15 PM

One of the most unique aspects of the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU is the opportunity to provide students with a year of real-world experience while simultaneously earning a master’s degree. Each Friday, we will be showcasing one of our current students, highlighting their graduate assistantship within the Richmond sports community and how they are gaining the type of valuable training future employers want to see.


Just because VCU doesn’t have a football team doesn’t mean our graduate students interested in working in football can’t get experience.  Just ask Chaz Coleman.  He is currently a football operations intern with the University of Richmond.

Over the course of this past season, Coleman’s responsibilities were varied. He assisted in coordinating travel for the team. That includes managing bus or plane arrangements, hotel lodging and team meals. Coleman also handles administrative work for the Spiders coaching staff, facilitates recruit visits and videotapes practices and games.

Coleman has always loved the game of football.  He played in college and, once he realized he would not play professionally, he decided to find another way he could stay connected to the sport. After college, Coleman worked as an intern for the Pittsburgh Steelers.  The experience opened his eyes to just how intricate the operations side of college and professional football can be. It was something he wanted to pursue so he applied to the Center for Sport Leadership and landed his current GA with the Spider Football Team.

Coleman had quite a ride with the Spider football team this season.  UR won the CAA Championship and advanced to the national semifinals in the FCS Playoffs before falling to four-time defending national champion North Dakota State.  Chaz also got to experience ESPN’s College Gameday when they set up in Harrisonburg prior to the Richmond’s game at rival JMU (a game UR won!)

While he’s a fan of the game, Coleman understands he has a job to do as he helps the Spiders prepare for the game and, hopefully, a victory.

Coleman believes his graduate assistantship is providing invaluable experience as he works towards of his dream job of working for an NFL team.

October 22, 2015

#CSLinBaltimore – Baltimore Orioles


Each year, the Center for Sport Leadership at VCU takes its graduate students on a road trip to experience and learn from the sports scene in another city. This year, we picked Baltimore, Maryland.  We had never taken the group to “Charm City” but there was two other main reasons why Baltimore was our choice: we have a strong alumni presence in the area and Baltimore has both an NFL & MLB franchise in addition to numerous college campus in the area. This blog will detail each part of visit.

From the moment we entered the offices of the Baltimore Orioles, we knew were in for something special as a sign welcoming our group greeted us.  When we entered the IMG_7001Designated Hitter Lounge on the 4th Floor of this converted warehouse, an Orioles cap rested on every seat, a table with drinks and snacks was available to our party and an insightful powerpoint presentation was loaded and ready to go.

Orioles VP of Marketing and Communcations Greg Bader talked about the team’s five pillars of Brand Identity: Fun, Family, Tradition, Partnership & Community. Clearly, the Orioles deliver on their mission whether it’s during one of their 81 regular season home games or hosting graduate students who want to work in sports.

In fact, the Orioles understand the need to develop the next generation of sports professionals, according to Kristen Schultz, Director of Community Relations & Promotions. She talked about the innovative Career Opportunities program they developed to offer a foot-in-the-door and game day experience to ambitious young people.

Our graduate students then took a tour of one of the most celebrated ballparks in Major League Baseball. In fact, the Orioles trademarked the phrase “The Ballpark that Forever Changed Baseball” to highlight the impact Oriole Park at Camden Yards has had in both stadium design and fan experience since it was built almost 25 years ago. A classic design with every modern amenity, Oriole Park is a living monument to the team’s heritage and the game’s romantic past.

We appreciate Orioles Chief Operating Officer John Angelos for allowing us to visit. Thank you to the Orioles staff for their insight and hospitality.

  • Greg Bader, VP of Marketing and Communications
  • Kristen Schultz, Director of Community Relations and Promotions
  • Neil Aloise, VP of Ticketing and Fan Services
  • Jim Cuddihy, Mid Atlantic Sports Network Executive VP of Affiliate Relations, Marketing & Programming