Published on March 19, 2019 by Morgan Black  
Braves BT

When you’re a student looking to break into the sports industry post-graduation, nothing could be more helpful than having a mentor already working in the business to advise you.

Thanks to several Samford programs, the sports marketing concentration in Brock School of Business and the sport administration major in the School of Health Professions’ Department of Kinesiology, many students are receiving the ultimate mentorship opportunity through a partnership with executives from the Atlanta Braves organization.

In 2018 at the Daniel Summit in Atlanta, Samford Professor Darin White and former professor Nathan Kirkpatrick met Jim Allen, the Braves’ senior vice president for corporate and premium partnerships. Not long after their initial encounter, Allen reached out about the possibility of mentoring Samford students.

The partnership began in summer 2018. Students in the two programs formally meet with Braves executives twice each semester, once on campus and once at the new stadium, SunTrust Park, in Atlanta. Additionally, each student communicates weekly with their assigned mentor through texts, phone calls and other individual gatherings.

“The goal of this partnership is to help our sports marketing and sport administration students develop deep meaningful mentorship relationships with executives currently working in the sports industry,” White said. “The sports industry is one of the most difficult industries to gain employment in and it is imperative that you have a strong network of relationships in the industry if you hope to get hired.” 

On March 1, 16 Braves executives, including Allen, made the two-hour trip over to Samford’s campus to meet with the students. After attending the grand opening for the new M. Chad Trull Krowten Capital LLC Data and Sports Analytics Lab, the group gathered to hear a talk about leadership from lunchtime speaker Danny Wood, senior pastor at Shades Mountain Baptist Church and a Beeson Divinity School graduate. The afternoon concluded with a tour of Samford’s campus, including the athletic facilities, and one-on-one time for the students to meet with their mentors. 

In regards to Samford students, Allen said, “They not only have a passion for working in sports, but you can see that they have their act together and that they are confident in knowing what they want to do.”

The students will be heading to Atlanta in April to shadow their mentors during a game when the Braves play the Arizona Diamondbacks.

Brock School of Business’ sports marketing concentration equips students with the skills necessary for a career in the global sports marketplace. Students majoring in accounting, economics, entrepreneurship, finance, management or marketing can add this concentration to their program, which prepares them for opportunities in team marketing, sponsor relations, ticket sales, event marketing, sports retailing and league operations.

The sport administration major in the School of Health Professions’ Department of Kinesiology trains students in the business and leadership skills of the sport industry to be effectively prepared to work in intercollegiate athletic administration, professional sport business settings and other industry specific environments that revolve around the production or promotion of sport. Through market-driven coursework and rigorous academic environments, students will be prepared to enter into graduate programs revolving around sport administration or sport management coursework, including related Master in Business Administration or law programs. 

Samford is a leading Christian university offering undergraduate programs grounded in the liberal arts with an array of nationally recognized graduate and professional schools. Founded in 1841, Samford is the 87th-oldest institution of higher learning in the United States. Samford enrolls 5,791 students from 49 states, Puerto Rico and 16 countries in its 10 academic schools: arts, arts and sciences, business, divinity, education, health professions, law, nursing, pharmacy and public health. Samford fields 17 athletic teams that compete in the tradition-rich Southern Conference and ranks 6th nationally for its Graduation Success Rate among all NCAA Division I schools.