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Striking gold in the Steel City

CPASS graduates and students contribute to Pittsburgh Pirates front office.

Panoramic shot of Pittsburgh from PNC park

The College recently caught up with CPASS alumni and students, to learn more about their experiences in Major League Baseball. We asked about their typical day, career goals, WVU mentors and advice for anyone wanting to get into the sports industry. See their responses, below, to learn how their Mountaineer experiences have helped them succeed and where they see themselves in five years.  

Lindsay Core, Syracuse, NY

BS 2018, Sport Management 
Minor, Business Administration and Communication
MS 2019, Sport Management

Inside Sales Associate for the Pittsburgh Pirates, 1 year

My typical day involves developing relationships with current, future and past consumers and businesses to find the best Pirates product that will fit their specific needs; informing prospects on current 2019 products as well as, 2020 products and opportunities; making a minimum of 300+ outbound phone calls a week and scheduling five appointments with prospects a week; and following up with consumers and business prospects on their experiences at the ballpark. I’m currently leading the sales floor in 2020 season ticket deposits for the Pirates.

Being a sales associate is a challenge and a grind every day. The reason I love it is because of the relationships I build with consumers and businesses. The ability to show someone our products and options first hand so that they can visualize their experience the next time they are at PNC Park is the reason I wanted to work in the sports industry in the first place. As a sales associate I have the ability and expertise to tailor opportunities specifically to what consumers value and enjoy the most about not only the Pirates, but baseball in general.

My future career goals within five years include being in a corporate sales position for a professional sports team creating, building, and retaining partnerships.

When I was looking at colleges, WVU was last on my list, but once I went down to Morgantown to visit, I immediately committed to the University. Once I stepped on campus I felt at home and as soon as I met WVU CPASS faculty I was convinced going to WVU was the best decision for me. I 100 percent believed that WVU had the best sport management program. After two degrees I still believe WVU has the best sport management program along with the best faculty and staff for my growth. WVU CPASS gave me the tools to grow both my professional and personal skills beyond my expectations. 

Drs. Gonzalo Bravo and Gary Lhotsky were two huge mentors of mine. They were always there to guide me in the right direction and encourage me through difficult times. Every opportunity I have had professionally has started with a connection they had, introducing myself and creating my own network. Exactly what they encourage to each student; build your network from every time you meet a new connection to the sports industry.

The best advice I could give to others wanting to get into the sports industry would be to never count out any opportunity. I personally never thought right after college especially after earning my master’s degree, I would go right into Sales, but I can honestly say it was the best decision I have made. Give every opportunity you have a try and the only time you should say you know you don’t like something is when you have already tried it and found out it was not for you. 

Erin Donley, Moorpark, CA

Dual Degree Master’s Program
MBA 2019 
MS Sport Management, projected completion, May 2020

Corporate Partnership Activation Intern
April-September 2019 (entirety of the 2019 season)

What I love about the sports industry is that there is no “typical” day on the job. Each day is filled with a wide range of tasks (both planned and unplanned). However, a typical game day usually consists of normal office hours in addition to my game day responsibilities. My game day duties involve meeting different clients and taking them onto the field to either throw the first pitch or watch batting practice. I take photographs of different signage and sponsorship activation. If the weather is nice, I might even stay to watch a few innings with my fellow coworkers.

Sports, both playing and watching, have been the only thing I have ever felt good about all the time. I enjoy the environment, atmosphere and working with people who share common values and interests.

In five years, I hope to be back on the west coast working in corporate sales. More importantly, I wish to be enjoying what I am doing and have a career full of value and purpose.

I am very excited to start my second master’s degree at WVU in sport management. My decision to attend WVU was not only based on the caliber of the program, but I wanted to experience a larger school on another side of the country. I wanted to utilize graduate school to expand outside of my comfort zone and challenge myself to experience life and work on my own.

My mentor at WVU has been my professor and MBA program coordinator, Dr. Jack Dorminey. Dr. Dorminey has the unique ability to fill his students with the confidence they did not know they had. If we had more people like him, the world, and the federal deficit, would probably be in a much better place. He always laughs at my jokes even when they are not funny.

My advice for others wanting to get in the industry, is to be nice to everyone and say yes to everything. Make a true and genuine effort to get to know those you work with whether that be a parking lot attendant, kitchen staff or a coworker who works in a department that you aren’t interested in. It’s the small things that people notice and those hints of kindness can go a long way. Getting to know others different from you will not only grant you a deeper understanding of the organization that you work for but will make you better individual.

Always say “yes” to everything and anything. Every opportunity is a learning opportunity and you are never above any task or request. There is such a small window for employment in the sports industry and the effort you put into the small things will eventually pay off in the future.

I am incredibly grateful for my time with the Pittsburgh Pirates. I think what made this experience so special was the people that I was fortunate enough to work with. Let’s Go Bucs! 

Andrew Gouck, Exeter, PA

ABM Program Sport Management
BS, projected graduation, spring, 2020
MS, projected graduation, summer, 2020

Began in May as a ticket operations intern; worked with the sales department, specifically with the group, retention, new business and inside sales teams; including office hours and every available home game.

Typical office hours started at 9:30 where we would work on various projects assigned by the sales reps. Later in the summer we got to make sales calls for certain group theme nights. We underwent the typical training that the inside sales team goes through which was a great learning experience. On a game day I would work in the ticket office supervising the ticket sellers or helping with season ticket event or group outing that might be at the ballpark that night. We rotated positions that we worked which kept games fresh for the interns.

I love working in sports because it’s what I’m passionate about. There wasn’t a day all summer that I didn’t look forward to work, which was a great feeling. Everyone I’ve met in the industry has been so nice and helpful throughout my experiences. Not to mention getting to eat my lunches at PNC Park was a surreal feeling.

As far as my future goals, I am currently working with Steelers as a full-time ticket office intern for the upcoming season. I will get to work office hours and many of the home games as well. I hope to finish this internship strong along with my senior year. From there I hope to join an inside sales team of a professional team next year when I graduate. Eventually in 3-5 years, I want to manage my own sales team and keep moving up from there.

My WVU CPASS experience has been very beneficial. I didn’t join the major until the spring semester of my sophomore year and right away I was enjoying the classes, professors and what I was learning. My mentor at WVU was Jackie Riggleman who is a former grad student of the sport management program. She was my boss at the West Virginia Black Bears, and she taught me so much about the sport industry.

My advice for other students would be to not be turned away from an internship experience just because it is unpaid. I started with the Black Bears unpaid and a year later was working with the Pirates. No matter the position, the experience will be so beneficial. Try to learn as much as you can about every department you’re around and not just the one you’re working in. Also, stay in contact with fellow interns and try to meet as many people as you can. You never know who will be able to help you out down the road.

Are you a student looking for career opportunities?

Check out the Opportunities for Success blog for a listing of available internships and other opportunities. 

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