During my time as a sports industry management student at Georgetown University (and sometimes even during my undergrad career at Florida State), many of my classmates expressed interest in becoming Directors of Athletics. Specifically, most – if not all – had their eyes on AD positions at “Power Five” universities. However, most – if not all – had no idea how to get there, or even where to begin their journeys.
A common belief among this group was that they’d have to start their careers at large universities to get themselves established. In the words of my fellow Seminole Lee Corso, I say to them, “Not so fast!” As a recruiter, I have the good fortune to speak often with a wide variety of collegiate athletic administrators, and they all share a similar believe that it’s all about experience, experience, experience. In college athletics especially, it is vital to be as well-rounded as possible. Don’t get siloed into one area for too long, or you’ll forever be known as “the marketing person” or “the operations person”.
Getting this type of broad-based experience is often impossible for someone in an entry-level position at a large university. By choosing a smaller school, however (even in a different division), you are opening yourself up to more opportunities, more experiences, and ultimately, putting yourself on a shorter path to the top. So remember, when trying to map out your collegiate administrative career, bigger isn’t always better!