A West Virginia University graduate has worked his way through the collegiate athletic administration ranks to reach the top leadership role at a respected New England university. Marcus Blossom, M.S. (2005) sport management, is the new director of intercollegiate athletics at College of the Holy Cross, Worcester, Mass.
As announced last year, Blossom oversees the development of Holy Cross’ 27 NCAA Division I teams as members of the Patriot League, Atlantic Hockey Association and the Women’s Hockey East Association.
Blossom, originally from Chicago, did not initially envision becoming an athletic director. Like many college basketball players, he dreamt of playing professionally, specifically for the Chicago Bulls or Boston Celtics. After understanding that ambition would not become a reality, Blossom had an epiphany that would jumpstart his career in the sport industry.
“I realized my calling was to work with young student-athletes and help give them a valuable college experience – one even better than what I experienced at Northeastern,” Blossom said.
Blossom credits Kevin Porter, WVU grad and former Northeastern University athletics administrator, for his decision to become a Mountaineer.
“Kevin helped us student-athletes at Northeastern in a variety of ways and always spoke positively about his experience in Morgantown and how it benefited his career. Those conversations helped solidify my decision to switch careers and pack my bags for Morgantown,” Blossom added.
Blossom’s degree from WVU has played an instrumental role in his advancement within the sport industry. “Obviously, having a degree from one of the most respected sport management programs in the country is helpful, but the passion and enthusiasm of the fans is what sticks with me the most regarding my time at WVU,” Blossom said.
While in Morgantown, Blossom says he was exposed to “big-time” college athletics, which provided him valuable learning experiences. “My time at WVU helped me understand how college athletics can be a galvanizing force that contributes to the greater good of society,” he said.
According to Blossom, numerous people in the WVU sport management program inspired him, including Drs. Dallas Branch, Floyd Jones, Gonzalo Bravo and Dana Brooks. Blossom also points to (then) Coach John Beilein and his peers such as Cory Lawson, Josh Merkel and Clark Riley as having a positive influence while he was in Morgantown.
“They showed me what this industry was all about while having a sincere interest in my ability to be successful,” Blossom said.
For students hoping to work in athletic administration, Blossom says never give up.
“College athletics is a small world and your reputation will always precede you. It’s important to take advantage of every opportunity you have and treat everyone with respect along the way,” he added.
“A positive or negative impression you’ve made on a supervisor, mentor or peer can either make your path smoother or significantly more challenging. It is critical to be a star in your current moment or that next opportunity may never come,” Blossom said.
As the athletic director at Holy Cross, Blossom’s goal is to make an impact in the lives of student-athletes, coaches, staff and the college. “For many student-athletes, the overall college experience is dictated by their involvement on the field or on the court,” Blossom says he intends to implement a positive culture that will transcend into the lives of the student-athletes while helping to elevate the college itself.
“I’ve had the opportunity to work for some really good athletic directors and have had many mentors in the industry,” Blossom stated. “Their leadership has helped shape me into the leader I am today,” he added.Before landing his new role at Holy Cross, Blossom worked within multiple athletic departments at distinguished colleges and universities such as Boston College, Providence College, Brown University and Central Michigan University. Blossom says that during these stints, he has had the opportunity to grow and develop professionally while gaining valuable insight from his peers.