SBC Alumni Weekend 2019
Welcome our Alumni back to Madison!
List of Activities
Friday, March 29th - Alumni Bar Crawl
Saturday, March 30th - Alumni Speaker Panel & Networking Event
Sunday, March 31st - Brewers Game Farewell
A HUGE thank you to everyone involved for making this the best Alumni Day yet to date, especially our "esteemed alumni" for coming back to share their journey's and incredibly valuable insights into their various career paths. Looking forward to this annual event for years to come!
Sammy Gelfand was born in Chicago and raised a sports fan. He attended George Washington University right out of high school gaining a degree in political science and history. Shortly thereafter, interested in pursuing a career in sports, he got a masters degree in sports industry management from Georgetown University in addition to working in marketing and promotions for the school’s athletic department. After college, Sammy bounced around for a few years working various jobs in the industry. When he figured out that he wanted to work in analytics, Sammy got his start working for the D-League (Now G-League) affiliate of the Sacramento Kings. He then got his big breakthrough when he joined the staff of the Golden State Warriors in 2013, where he would be well-known in the analytics community for his work. According to this New York times profile, Gelfand has been called an “analytics guru” and was labeled the “left side of Steve Kerr’s brain”. In his time there, the team would go on to win three NBA finals. Now in his current role, Sammy is the Director of Coaching Analytics for the Detroit Pistons.
Q & A:
Thoughts on starting out with less than superior/unpaid positions in sports?
Sammy said that gaining those experiences earlier on in sports helped him narrow his focus of what he wanted to do and find out what his true passion was. Considering all the different and odd jobs he had, he says he was able to do some self reflection on what jobs he would be happy doing. Now in his current role, he has more compassion towards the business side because he has had experience there and understands where they are coming from.
When did you decide you wanted to do analytics full-time?
Sammy stated that he always liked analyzing and translating numbers into things that were actionable. Also, he had success doing it and enjoyed it thoroughly. In his first year with the Warriors, he had a lot of freedom to explore and have fun with the data considering the circumstances.
Story or moment from the Warriors success that you know they were gonna be special?
Sammy said that the defining moment when you could tell the team was special was the 2015 second round playoff series against the Memphis Grizzlies. They were down 2-1 and at that point Steve Kerr made a wacky adjustment with the match-ups, specifically shifting to a smaller lineup. This signaled that they had the coaches creative enough to try new things and players with a willingness to implement it. The Warriors would go on to win the series against a Memphis squad that they could not seem to defeat previously in the playoffs. After that, the players had shifted their mentalities.
Thoughts on his Graduate School experience for Sports Management?
Sammy said that the main goal in going to graduate school for himself was to get more internships and experience. He did not think the classroom work was anything special in terms of what he gained. For instance, he said he took a statistics course and compared it to high school level work. Nevertheless, he was glad he went to graduate school because of the experience and the people he was able to meet.
Analysis of 2016 NBA finals (Warriors Vs. Cavaliers)?
Sammy said at the end of the day, the team was burnt out. A good chunk of the team had lingering injury issues and the team really did not have enough left in the tank. In addition, Lebron and Kyrie were incredible in that series.
How is your Job different during the playoffs?
Sammy said that it is less busy as there aren’t as many games to do. Nevertheless, it is the most important time of the year because the data is very clear and succinct at that point. So when you can make something out of the data, it can give the team a real advantage.
Advice for students to get into player operations/scouting?
Sammy answered this question by stating that the main thing is to start gaining experience now if there is something you're passionate about and want to do. For example, if you want to be a scout, start developing scouting reports right now. The reports may not be all that good, but it shows effort and a willingness to learn. He also suggested to take advantage of the resources you have available as a student. Finally, the last thing that Sammy said was that when he is looking to hire someone, he looks for someone that is gonna work hard and learn without trying to become a superstar within a short period of time.
Thank you to Sammy Gelfand for taking the time to share his invaluable insight with our club about the ins and outs of working for in analytics in the NBA, as well as his advice on how to succeed in such a competitive industry.
Reach out and connect with Sammy Gelfand
Jesse Temple writes about Wisconsin football and basketball for The Athletic, where he focuses on in-depth stories and beat coverage of players, coaches and recruits that take readers beyond standard daily beat writing. He previously covered the Badgers beat for seven seasons at FOX Sports Wisconsin, ESPN.com and Land of 10. His educational background includes stops at Knox College for a bachelor's degree in English Literature and at the University of Kansas for a masters degree in Journalism.
While speaking to the club, Jesse touched on the mission of The Athletic. He stated multiple ways in which The Athletic seeks to differentiate themselves from the competition in sports journalism. These strategies include:
Here are a handful of the articles that Jesse touched on from his impressive writing portfolio with The Athletic:
For SBC members actively seeking employment or opportunities in the sports industry, Jesse reiterated that “whatever it is what you want to pursue, get real world experience and that will set you apart”.
Thank you to Jesse for taking the time to share his invaluable insight with our club about the ins and outs of working in the field of sports journalism, as well as his advice on how to succeed in such a competitive industry.
Reach out and learn more about Jesse Temple
Follow Jesse Temple on Twitter: @jessetemple
The annual Winter trip continued for the club this year with stops at Indianapolis, Cincinnati, and Columbus. We had great networking opportunities with a diverse set of sports organizations and industry professionals. The full recap is below:
January 15th - Indianapolis
Pat Boylan - On-Air Talent and Multimedia Producer
Sayna Sangster - Marketing Integration, Associate Director
Greg Rappaport - Web Coordinator
Chris Melby - Corporate Partnerships, Sales Director
Nic Hendrix - Director, Consumer Sales & Service
Mei Chao - Partnership Activation Coordinator
Aretha Thurmond - Managing Director of International & Championship Teams
Christopher Quetant - Anti-Doping Manager
Susan Hazzard - Managing Director of Communications
Ashley Mitchell - Marketing & Communications Manager
Zach Raubuck - Events Manager
January 16th - Cincinnati & Columbus
Greg Harrell - Senior Director of Sales & Service
Natalie Alderman - Ticket Sales Representative
Steven Hudy - Senior Manager of Digital & Social Media
Dave Tracy - Staff Accountant
Magda Stepien - Partnership Activation Coordinator
Matt Sikich - Senior Coporate Sales Manager
Jim Viers - Pro Video Coordinator
Leah Cover - Sr. Group Event Specialists
Sam Morgan - Corporate Partnerships Development Manager
Samantha Hagan - Partnership Activation Manager
Anthony Allocco - Digital & Social Media Coordinator
Carson Reider - Digital & Social Media Coordinator
Matthew Cacciato - Masters of Sports Administration Director
January 17th - Indianapolis
Amanda Benzine - Assistant Director of Championships & Alliances
Brandon Brunner - Assistant Director of Corporate Relationships
Andrea Farmer - Associate Director of Strategic Initiatives
Ryan Jones - Associate Director of Division II
Tiffany Martin - Associate Director of Championships & Alliances, Corporate Relationships
Ryan Lobsiger - Vice President of Corporate Partnerships
Eric Neuberger - Stadium Director of Lucas Oil Stadium
Attended Pacers vs. 76ers Game
@Bankers Life Fieldhouse
January 18th - Depart Home
Originally from Texas, Anderson had a very modest uprising to his extensive career. After his aspirations for being a professional baseball player were washed away while in college after baseball executives thought he would be a better scout than player. Anderson had to do some self-evaluation and soon found himself in broadcasting in baseball. He received his start with the San Antonio Missions, the Double-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, serving as a radio/television play-by-play announcer from 1994-98 and from 2000-03. Then on, from 1998-2000, Anderson handled minor league and Little League baseball telecasts for ESPN. Anderson finally got his breakthrough when he got on with Fox Sports Southwest as a sideline reporter for the San Antonio Spurs, 1999-2007, where he covered the teams’ three NBA Championships. Also during this time, he called college basketball for the network from 2002-07 and worked at the Golf Channel where he served as a play-by-play announcer from 2003-06. Now currently, Anderson is coming up on his 12th season as play-by-play announcer for the Milwaukee Brewers for Fox Sports Wisconsin, a position to which he was named in January of 2007. In addition to his role with the Brewers, Anderson has worked as a play-by-play announcer for Turner Sports. This impressive resume (via www.turner.com) includes:
Q & A:
What are your go-to catch phrases on air?
Anderson said he avoids using catch phrases on air and just calls it the way he sees it. He suggested that catch phrases are a previous generation kind of thing.
Favorite memory as an announcer?
Some of Anderson’s more favorable memories include:
Working in Sports takes a high level of commitment, how have you found your work-family balance over the years?
Anderson responded with that you really have to love the industry to do it. He spoke upon the fact that he has sacrificed a lot of time at home for his work. He thinks his life would have been totally different if he had a regular work schedule.
Favorite broadcast partner he's done a game with?
Anderson said he did not have a favorite, but a few memorable ones he mentioned were:
He also said from this question that he still texts or communicates with most of the people he's called games with.
Is there anything you would like to do in the future career wise?
Anderson said he would someday like to call a World Series or NBA Finals
How did the Brewers take it when you started broadcasting for Turner Sports?
Anderson said there was a lot of questioning if this was a stepping stone to something else, or per say a springboard to the next job. He never felt that had to be independent, although it did take a couple years to prove that he was fully committed to the Brewers. As a result of this, Anderson brought up the point that you have to find the right balance between showing some eagerness to advance your own career while still showing you love where your at.
Favorite places to call a game?
Also mentioned that he always enjoys working at the Kohl Center and thinks the Fiserv Forum is very cool.
Overall, the big message that Anderson reflected while speaking to the club was to be authentic in wanting others to succeed. He said your first job in sports is most likely not going to be ideal, but that shouldn’t prevent you from diving into the details of that position and assisting those around you. Anderson said the people he sees fizzle out with the Brewers usually have a self-centered mindset and are always looking to help themselves. Anderson suggested you should “be the person you would take under your wing”.
Thank you to Brian for making the trip from Milwaukee and taking the time to share his invaluable insight with our club about the ins and outs of working in the field of sports broadcasting, as well as his advice on how to succeed in such a competitive industry.
Follow Brian Anderson on Twitter: @BAndersonPxP
The Madison Area Sports Commission is a non-profit organization here in Madison that drives tourism through sport. Primarily funded by hotel taxes, it is designed to bring more sporting events and competitions to the area, as well as work to further the resume and the image of the area as a popular sports destination. Some of the recent events that MASC has recruited and established in the area are:
Q & A
What do you look at for events to bid on?
How they manage the work-life balance?
Thank you to Jamie and Kate for taking the time to share their invaluable insight with our club about the ins and outs of working for a sports organization like MASC, as well as their advice on how to succeed in such a competitive industry.
Learn more about the Madison Area Sports Commission -
Follow MASC on Facebook: @Madisonwisports
Check out the MASC Website
UW-Athletics Senior Associate Athletic Director for Sports Administration & Senior Women's Administrator
Special Projects Manager, Wei LAB at Wisconsin Center for Education Research and UW-Madison School of Education Graduate Student
UW-Athletics Career and Leadership Coordinator
UW-Athletics Director of Student-Athlete Recruitment
Q & A:
Favorite Memory or Part About your Job?
Terry said impacting student athletes
Kayla commented that she enjoys that her work is community and student oriented. Also, the fact that what she is doing everyday is making an impact, as well as being able to build relationships with a lot of different kids and thus establish lifelong relationships with those kids.
DeLaina really likes that she gets to see the potential of other people, that refusal to give up on someone. One example she mentioned was her relationship with Michigan State football player Khari Willis, who was a keynote speaker at the Big Ten football media days this year.
Kat said she values team achievements. She spoke upon the fact that coaches give a lot up for those moments and to be with someone elses kids and so to see that moment of elation and everybody coming together as a team is special. She specifically mentioned the 2014 men's basketball final four run.
Thank you to Terry, Kayla, DeLaina, and Kat for taking the time to share their invaluable insight with our club about the ins and outs of working in such a competitive industry and working through gender dynamics in the workplace.
Jeff Jurgella is currently the Minnesota Twins Senior Director of Corporate Sponsorships, where he heads the the prospecting and development of sponsorships within all categories for the Minnesota Twins. In addition to his work with the Twins, Jeff is a guest lecturer at the University of Minnesota for the Sport Management degree program.
An Alumni of UW-Madison, Jeff has an extensive background in sports beginning with his first gig with the Madison Muskies, an Oakland A’s minor league affiliate at the time. With the Muskies, Jeff was hired right of college as the Assistant GM with a low salary and no benefits. He described it as not ideal, but it was a start. His professional experience also includes stops at the Minnesota Twins, Fox Sports North, and Badger Sports Properties.
On a personal note, Jeff currently resides in Madison and is an avid fan of Wisconsin sports teams.
For SBC members actively seeking employment or opportunities in the sports industry and those interested in the field of corporate sponsorship, Jeff had this to say:
Q & A:
Thoughts on networking and volunteering?
Jeff stressed that the sports industry is difficult to get into so making connections and exploring volunteer opportunities is pivotal in improving your cause early on. He mentioned that he probably wouldn’t have been hired onto the Twins staff without volunteering with them first of all. He also said that sending handwritten notes can make you stand out in the hiring process.
Thoughts on Sports Management Degree?
Jeff mentioned that he was not a general fan of the sport management degree. He thought it is a fine minor, but not major for an undergraduate. He suggested that a business or marketing degree would be more beneficial as it possesses you with flexibility and transferable skills outside of the sports industry. That way you are in a better position if you decide to explore other industries or companies for employment, like general mills.
One thing that you wish you had known or done earlier in your career?
Jeff commentated that he wish he had took initiative earlier in his career to implore a natural curiosity: having the courage to connect, be curious, ask questions, and ultimately set yourself apart from the competition.
8 reasons why companies sponsor?
Thank you to Jeff Jurgella for taking the time to share his invaluable insight with our club, about his career path, the corporate partnership side of sports, as well as his advice on how to succeed in such a competitive industry.
Reach out and learn more about Jeff Jurgella
Follow Jeff Jurgella on Twitter: @JeffJurgella
Josh Belkoff, started as the Senior Director of Recruiting and Development for Sports Business Solutions in 2018. Josh resides in Arizona and he marks the club's first ever Skype Speaker Event.
Ian Kenyon has been the NFL Associate Editor for Bleacher Report, since 2012, and currently resides in Eau Claire, Wisconsin. In his role, Ian hires and manages NFL feature columnists for Bleacher Report and heads the production, creation, and execution of Bleacher Report NFL's content. Bleacher Report, owned by Turner Sports, is a leading digital sports and entertainment news and content platform.
For SBC members actively seeking employment or opportunities in the sports industry, especially opportunities in the world of sports journalism such as Bleacher Report, Ian Kenyon had this to say:
On what he looks for in writing hires...
" I really look for mastery of the subject. I can teach you how to write but I am looking for people who know what they're talking about and know how to express that. X's and O's. Writing in-depth things to show you have a mastery level of knowledge and topic, is key."
On Twitter as an asset and resource...
"Interacting with people, use it as a tool to talk with your favorite writer. Get to know community Twitters. Opportunities will come. It is all about making those connections and being positive. Being encouraging. Be cognizant of your Twitter profile, it may hurt your job chances."
"When it becomes antagonistic it becomes an issue. Cutting off groups and slandering is where we draw the line. Speaking out is great, in a smart way that does not offend."
On unpaid internship opportunities...
"I worked for unpaid or minimum wage internships. They are necessary to do to get your foot in the door. It is the reality of how it all works. You have to put in the time to boost your resume, make connections, and get yourself out there."
On the changing landscape of sports media...
"It will continue to evolve. How we consume sports and sports news changes frequently. We must change how we present it all. Early on it was very SEO based, then shifted to more social media based, and now it is very App based. It is an ever-evolving thing."
"There has been a pivot to video due to the ease of selling a video ad vs. a website banner ad. In the end, sports is a business to generate revenue. There is also allot of future in podcasts because they can be consumed anywhere and everywhere."
Thank you to Ian Kenyon for making the trip from Eau Claire and taking the time to share his invaluable insight with our club about the ins and outs of working for Bleacher Report and the sports journalism industry.
Reach out and learn more about Ian Kenyon
Follow Ian Kenyon on Twitter: @IanKenyonNFL
Learn more about Bleacher Report
Follow Bleacher Report NFL on Twitter: @BR_NFL