CSL Daily

March 13, 2017

Krieger (’13) Talks Gender Issues

Gender roles and issues in professional, college and amateur sports have generated much conversation and discussion in our classrooms. Monday, A CSL alum shared her insight. Hannah Krieger is the Director of Strategic Partnerships with the Alliance of Women Coaches, the premier organization dedicated to leading the field of women coaches, at all levels, by providing support, resources and unparalleled events and programs which address the needs and interests of its members. Previously, Hannah was the executive director of Sportswomen of Colorado, so she has significant experience in empowering and encouraging females in sports, which she shared with our graduate students. Krieger graduated from the CSL’s Distance Learning program. 

March 9, 2017

CSL’s Chappell Attends Sloan Sports Analytics Conference

by Wes Chappell, CSL Graduate Student

The Sloan Sports Analytics Conference (SSAC) in Boston, MA. SSAC is considered by many to be the pinnacle of the intersection of analytics and the sports industry where fans, students, athletes, and professionals from around the world come together to show off innovative ways that technology and data are being used to advance every facet of sports. The stars of this year’s conference included Alan Silver, Mark Cuban, Daryl Morey, and Billy Beane, amongst many others. I arrived in Boston anxious and unsure of what to expect from my first SSAC, but I returned to Richmond inspired by all of the brilliant people I met and heard,
feeling even more anxious and excited for the future of the sports industry.

The experience was surreal and surpassed my expectations. You’re surrounded by media personalities (Jackie McMullan, Darren Rovell, and Nate Silver), professional athletes (Sue Bird and Shane Battier), GMs from the MLB, NBA, and NFL, as well as executives from companies involved in sports analytics. Almost everyone was very approachable and willing to chat with the attendees. I frequently saw Daryl Morey casually walking amongst the crowd throughout the weekend.

For example, I met a speaker from a panel on the future of soccer analytics, Hendrik Almstadt, who spent five years on the football operations group at Arsenal FC and currently works in player relations with the PGA European Tour. After picking his brain about soccer and Arsenal, he invited me to sit with him during the next panel on overcoming cognitive bias in player management, featuring Billy Beane. Beane emphasized the importance of making decisions based on objective data rather than subjective observations and gut feelings. These tactics led to his success as the EVP of the Oakland Athletics, as featured in the best-selling book and hit movie, Moneyball.

Some of my favorite panels and presentations I attended, in addition to Beane’s Moneymind: Overcoming Cognitive Bias, were Juggling Expectations: The Emergence of Soccer Analytics, Transforming Big Data into Compelling Insights by SAP, Shark vs Fox: Politics and Forecasting in the Time of the Hedgehog featuring the uncensored Mark Cuban, and Sustaining Greatness featuring Sue Bird. Bird explained how advanced technology and training techniques have helped extend her career, as she’s still competing at a high level in the WNBA at age 36. I particularly loved her response when asked how she felt about her prolonged career destroying the dreams of 21-year-old athletes hoping to break into the WNBA – she frankly exclaimed: “I don’t care!”.

In addition to the insightful and interesting presentations, SSAC serves as an excellent opportunity for networking and career development for young professionals and students. I took advantage of resume reviews and informal interview sessions where I connected with professionals from the NFL, Jacksonville Jaguars, The Madison Square Garden Company, and Monumental Sports and Entertainment. There are also research paper and case competitions available to graduate students. I hope to see the CSL competing in one of these competitions in the future!

Here is my biggest takeaway from the weekend: I can’t emphasize enough how important this conference is to the sports industry and how invaluable it is to anyone interested in sports regardless of whether they’re into analytics or not. This is the direction that we are headed with all aspects of the industry: coaching and player development, front office management, sports media, sales and marketing, merchandising, collegiate, professional, etc. I think anyone would leave SSAC with a positive outlook even if they aren’t well versed in statistics or have a strong technical background. I highly recommend SSAC to any sports-enthusiasts reading this post, ESPECIALLY future CSL students! Lastly, I can’t thank the CSL enough for giving me the opportunity to attend this conference. This will surely stand out as a highlight amongst the many real-world experiences I’ve had in my two years of the program!


March 7, 2017

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.

Army West Point Athletic Director Boo Corrigan (’11) has been selected as a 2016-17 Football Bowl Subdivision Under Armour Athletics Director of the Year recipient. Boo is in his 7th season at West Point. The award is given out each year by the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics and will be presented to Corrigan at NACDA’s 52nd Annual Convention at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando on June 13. Boo earned his Master’s Degree from the CSL’s Distance Learning Program. 

Michael Clarke (’14) has been appointed the Head Coach of the Edith Cowan University men’s basketball team for their 2017 campaign at the Western Unigames. They will compete for a spot at the Australian Unigames. Mike is currently the Head Coach for the Men’s SBL for the Kalamunda Eastern Suns. 

March 6, 2017

What Does #CSLnetwork Mean to You?

#CSLnetwork isn’t just a hashtag to us. It embodies the value and importance that we place on building relationships with our students, alumni and industry partners. Thanks to alumni Shannon Roberts, Johnathan Mayo and Paul Sterbenz for sharing what #CSLnetwork means to them.

March 3, 2017

A10 Welcomes CSL Students to Legends Breakfast

A unique partnership between the Atlantic 10 Conference and the Center for Sport Leadership culminated Friday at the 2017 A10 Legends Breakfast.

For the past six weeks, CSL graduate students have been selling group ticket packages to the A10 Women’s Basketball Championship game to local businesses. The initiative, part of the CSL’s Sales and Development class, created a real world sales experience for the students.

“We couldn’t be happier with the energy, effort and professionalism of the VCU graduate students and look forward to working with them again next year,” said Debbie Richardson, Senior Associate Commissioner.

Richardson and Atlantic 10 Commissioner Bernadette McGlade invited all 23 graduate students who participated in the sales project to attend Friday morning’s Legends Breakfast, where one all-time great player from each school was honored. The breakfast turned into a networking opportunity for the students, who engaged with administrators from each of the conference’s member institutions, including Rhode Island AD Thor Bjorn.

“We want to thank the Atlantic 10 Conference for providing this invaluable experience for our students. One of our core values is empowering and it’s clear the A10 believes in empowering it’s students as well,” said Dr. Carrie LeCrom, Executive Director of the Center for Sport Leadership.

Following the breakfast, the students walked over to the Richmond Coliseum to support the VCU women’s basketball team in the quarterfinals of the Atlantic 10 Women’s Championship.


March 2, 2017

Alumni Profile- Matt Ensor (’11)

If you happen to catch a University of Arizona basketball game over the next month,
chances are you’ll see Matt Ensor (’11) sitting an arm’s length from the team bench. Matt is the Associate Director of Communication Services, serving as the media liaison for the Wildcat basketball team, currently ranked in the top 10 in the nation. A native of Oregon, Matt’s professional journey is a testament to his work ethic and drive. He enjoyed VCU’s magical ride to the Final Four and has worked at a Division Two school in Georgia most people have never heard of. The key is that he has valued each and every experience.
This Q&A was conducted by CSL graduate student Andy Hogue.


Andy Hogue: What aspect of the CSL program most prepared you for the position that you currently have?
Matt Ensor: I would say there were several aspects of my time in the CSL that contributed to where I am today:

Networking: I wasn’t really a believer or practitioner of networking before entering the program. Meeting new people and maintaining relationships with others in our field is crucial. If someone can bring up your name in a conversation, you never know where it can lead you. For example, I first heard about this position at the University of Arizona opening up through Scott Day (my old boss at VCU). Networking is also key in hiring because it’s essentially people who can give good references on your behalf.

Ability to work on the fly: Every day I come in to work is different than the one before. Multitasking is key because I am constantly working on something and forced to change gears and switch to a different project. My course load and coursework in class while I was a CSL student helped me prepare for that type of work style while working as a SID in the Athletic Communications office helped me refine that work style.


AH: What is the biggest obstacle you have had to overcome working in this industry and how did you do it?
ME: I would say the biggest obstacle I faced was securing my first full time job. In the final months of being a CSL students and the two months after graduation, I was unable to get a job. I had interviews with Washington State, Lehigh and West Florida. I wasn’t able to secure any of them with just the one year of experience as a GA in the CSL. I didn’t work in the Sports Info office as an undergrad at the University of Oregon, which came back to bite me at that juncture of my life. It was only when Georgia Southwestern State called me about a paid internship that I took with them. It was a $800 a month stipend (pre taxes) that included a free dorm room in a freshman building and a meal plan. The CSL encouraged me to take it and to put my head down and work as hard as I can and turn it into another opportunity. That’s what happened when I wound up at the University of New Mexico in a full-time capacity after my 11 months in Americus, Ga.


AH: How has the CSL network helped you not only getting started in the industry, but each step along the way in your career?
ME: After graduating graduate school, I think the CSL Network has been the most helpful with job opportunities. When I went to New Mexico, Tim Lampe (former CSL faculty member) helped me out as a former employee there. When I went to Arizona, it was Scott Day who first referenced me to the job. I have had classmates approach me about possible job opportunities to gauge interest. On top of that, I consider much of my Network as resources for any potential job I may want to pursue in the future at their institutions or within the same conference.


AH: What is the best advice you would give to a current student in the CSL in reference on how to manage their expectations of trying to get that dream job right after graduation?
ME: I think my experience presents several important pieces of advice:

Be prepared and open to move anywhere: I went to a state I had never been to after graduation as did a lot of my classmates. You can’t really afford to be picky on where your first job will be right out of grad school. It’s your first step, not your final step. You can always move for your next job.

Treat any job you have like it’s the biggest thing you have going on. When you act above your job or are too good for it, it’s one of the most off-putting things you can do. Chip Kelly had a quote that I love about this when he became the head coach of the Eagles. “The big time is where you’re at. If you just do your job every single day (and) come with a passion, appreciate where you are, (then) good things are going to happen to you.”. He went on to discuss how when Kelly was coaching at New Hampshire, he thought he was at the big time. When he went to Oregon, he thought the same thing. This is important because if you work as hard as you can at whatever job you are at, it will get noticed by a lot of people.


AH: How do you balance life and work being a Sports Information Director?
ME: I would say this is the biggest thing I struggle with and fail at personally. I am one of those people that is “married to their job”. Part of it is by necessity. When we have a home game that’s at 7 p.m., I usually arrive at 10 or 11 a.m. and don’t leave until midnight. I obviously travel a lot for away games, so I log a lot of hours during the season. Being 30 years old without a wife or children, I think kind of encourages this in my own warped sense of things. You spend a lot of holidays with the team somewhere during the season and can’t afford to take time off or miss a game for weddings and etc. Luckily Coach Miller and my own boss are always encouraging me to strive for a better life-work balance. I would like to have a family in the future and am trying to work at having a better balance. I have the mindset of a young lawyer joining a new firm, and I just need to outwork everyone and be the first in, last out of the office. Tampering this competitive nature of mine is part of the struggle.



AH: What is the most creative piece of content you have produced as a Sports Information Director?
ME: I pride myself in trying to be as creative and original as I can in my content in whatever form it takes; game notes, infographics, video concept, etc. I would say one of the most creative was trying to quantify how Arizona Basketball is “everyone’s big game”. When we play on the road, it’s always the other team’s “blackout”, “whiteout” or any other “out” type of promotion. So I began charting the official attendance at all of our away games and comparing it to the average crowd for the year before we played there. On average opposing crowds were 46.8% larger for Arizona in Pac-12 play. It’s a note that really resonated with announcers and Coach Miller would often reference it to the team.