For several years, the Center for Sport Leadership has used Fall Break as an opportunity to introduce our graduate students to some of the best practices in the sport industry by taking a trip to Charlotte. Thanks to a combination of dedicated, successful alumni in the area and many long-standing partnerships with sports organizations in Charlotte, our students have behind-the-scenes access to collegiate and professional sports organizations and face-to-face mentoring from some of the most innovative and brightest minds in sports.
One of the most impressive stops on our trip to Charlotte is the U.S. National Whitewater Center. It features the world’s largest man-made whitewater river, offering premier outdoor activities including whitewater rafting and kayaking. In addition, the complex sits on more than 11-hundred acres that also offers mountain biking, rock climbing, zip lines, a canopy tour, rope courses and various team building activities.
Jeff Shelton, CFO of the USNWC, talked to our students about how this innovative vision became reality and how they continue to grow and expand to attract new visitors. Several of our students hit the rapids while others participated in the other outdoor activities offered on site.
Before the outdoor fun, the students got to hear from a few successful CSL alumni that live in the Charlotte area. The alumni panel discussion was an opportunity for students to ask candid question to our alumni. Topics ranged from finding that first job to switching from one area of sport to another. We appreciate the alumni that took part in the panel discussion:
- Brent Beam, Sales Director, Atlantic Coast Conference
- Ashley Champigny: Director of Championships, Atlantic Coast Conference (ACC)
- Jeff Champigny: Director of Operations, Rhino Sports & Entertainment
- Karlyn Dixon, Owner & CEO of The Elite Athlete Training
- Kelsey Kearney, Asst Dir of Development, Western Carolina Univ
- Kelsey Kraus, Events Intern, UNC Charlotte
- Alex Ritter, Deacon Athletic Fund Intern, Wake Forest University
- Zach Rutledge, Assistant Director of Events & Planning, UNC Charlotte
- Pete Stuart, Director, Marketing Communications, NASCAR
- Shannon Wighington , Marketing Assets Manager for Colleges, Coca-Cola
Following the panel discussion, the CSL hosted an alumni reception for all of the alumni that live in the area. The state of North Carolina and specifically, Charlotte, is home to the largest pocket of CSL alumni outside of Richmond.
(From clockwide) Greg Burton, Jeff Champigny, Greg Greenhalgh, Ashley Champigny, Carrie LeCrom
Karlyn Dixon (’15), Justin Batts (’15) & Marie Davis Swepson (’16)
Shannon Wighington (’05), Jarian Kerekes (’03), Pete Stuart (’05)
Tommy Saunders (’04) & Alex Ritter (’16)
Ashley Champigny (’09) & CSL graduate student Jenna Orner
Shannon Wighington (’05) and CSL graduate student Vanessa Moore
Karlyn Dixon (’15) and CSL graduate student Evan Charles
CSL graduate student Andy Hogue and Zach Rutledge (’02)
Pete Stuart (’04) and CSL graduate student Maggie Brocklebank