A College of Physical Activity and Sport Sciences graduate’s career grew from humble beginnings as a young teenager while writing for a local newspaper and serving as a DJ for a radio station. Since then, Jonathan Norman, CPASS Sport Management Master’s degree (1999), has climbed the career ladder to his current position as Director of Partnership Development for Tepper Sports and Entertainment (TSE), the parent company of the Carolina Panthers, Charlotte FC and Bank of America Stadium.
“As someone who grew up in a small town in North Carolina, to now working for my hometown franchises in Charlotte, it’s been a dream come true. I am truly fortunate to be a part of what we’re building in the Carolinas,” Norman said.
Norman, from Boonville, N.C., leads partnerships for TSE properties, collaborating with brands to develop marketing campaigns and solutions through the clubs and facilities based in Charlotte
“I came from a sports family and began working in the industry at an young age. Each of those early experiences fueled my passion to work in sports. The countless people who have supported me along the way – all of them have helped me to achieve what I could not envision,” Norman said.
As an undergrad at UNC Charlotte, Norman served as a student assistant for sports information and athletics marketing, gaining valuable experience with the Charlotte Hornets, Charlotte Checkers, Sports South and NBC Sports.
While at UNC Charlotte, Norman worked closely with fellow CPASS graduates Dan DeVos and Doug Sweeney who encouraged him to continue his education at WVU. In addition, he counts his mentors in the CPASS program as critical to his success. “Sport Management Professors Drs. Branch and Alsop were instrumental in my time in Morgantown,” he said. “My path to where I am today ran through WVU. I can trace my experience back to opportunities to network and connect through the program.”
Once he arrived on campus, Norman landed a graduate assistant instructor position with CPASS along with student work at WVU Athletics and the Mountaineer Sports Network.
His internship took him to work stints with Tar Heel Sports Network and VilCom Media at the University of North Carolina. Following his assignments, he worked for the SportsBusiness Journal with their NBA Daily publication.
He shifted into sports promotion with GMR Marketing, focusing on strategic brand marketing and sponsorship role for the following 12 years. At Goodyear Tire and Rubber Company, Norman headed up national partnerships, managing company relationships with NHRA off-road and performance racing.
An opportunity arose to reunite with two mentors at Bespoke Sports and Entertainment, which developed into a five-year run leading the agency’s strategy, before Norman joined Tepper Sports and Entertainment in early 2020.
While at WVU, Norman’s favorite moment was meeting his wife, Laurie. “She is the captain of our family. She and I have been together for the span of my professional career. Without her support, I would not have been able to achieve my accomplishments,” he explained.
When asked for advice about how to launch a career in the sports industry, Norman tells emerging talents to consider one of two paths. “Take the time to go to graduate school or begin your career in collegiate or minor league sports. Either will provide you with a barometer to what you really want to do, or not, with your career,” Norman said.