How to Turn Your Love of Sports Into a Job (And Pay For Your Master’s Program)

Danny Day
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Whether  you’re a Division 1 college athlete or you’re the captain of your intramural bocce ball team, if you love sports, you’re probably not ready to leave them behind when you enter into the working world.

One option you have is to join a grown-up sports team like I mention in our post “How to make friends in a new city,” but what if you want to turn your love of sports into a job? Well, you might want to consider following in Daniel Day’s footsteps.

Danny graduated from the University of Redlands in May 2012 with a BS in Business Administration. Upon graduating, he continued on to get an MA in Management from the same university.

During his undergraduate years, Danny played for the men’s soccer team as a four-year starting defender.

Now, as he pursues his Master’s degree, he is working for the university as the Sports Information Graduate Assistant.

What interested Danny in this position?

Danny has always loved sports. This job offered him a fantastic opportunity to begin a career in a sports field, specifically sports information.

Sports information is a type of Public Relations that relays statistics and other notes about a college’s sports teams to the media. As a former college athlete, Danny is already well informed on the way these numbers and notes work and he is excited to be able to cover his alma mater’s athletic teams.

The bonus?

Working for his school is enabling him to pay off the tuition for his Master’s degree.

How did Danny get this job?

While studying as an undergraduate, he looked for a job through the university’s work-study program. He knew that he wanted to work with the sports on campus and was excited to get an interview with the Athletics department. After his interview, Danny was hired in the January of his freshman year.

As an undergraduate, Danny proved he could be an asset to the Athletics department. When he graduated, his current boss was already aware of his talent and so the application/interview process was pretty brief.

What is a typical day like?

Danny’s schedule changes depending on whether there’s a game that day or not.

On non-game days:

The day will usually start around 9am and end at 5pm.

Danny writes game recaps, creates game notes, produces video features on student athletes, and plans for the Bulldog Bench Golf Classic. He updates athletic team schedules, rosters, and bios. He also coordinates social media communication for Bulldog Athletics through Facebook and Twitter.

On game days:

His work day usually starts at 8am and ends at around 10pm or 11pm. During the game, he is in charge of setting everything up—live video streams, scoreboards, statistical computers, public address announcements, etc.

He simultaneously takes down statistics while also managing all of the previously listed equipment and observing the game.

He is also in charge of supervising the student staff at these events and updating fans with live stats through social media outlets (Facebook and Twitter).

When the game is over, he takes down everything that he set up at the beginning of the game and heads back to the office. Once back at the office, Danny will do a game recap and update any statistics that have changed. Then he distributes a release along with the stats to the media and coaches.

What are his favorite parts about his job?

Danny loves watching sports and seeing the joy that it brings to the student athletes when they succeed. He loves that he gets to be a part of that process.

He also really enjoys the writing aspect of his job. Not only is it an opportunity to showcase his skills, but it also allows him to show the world what Bulldog athletes and teams are doing.

Danny has also spearheaded video features on the athletic website. They’re definitely a fun addition to his job and have given him a great experience moving forward.

What are the biggest challenges Danny faces with his job?

As the Sports Information Graduate Assistant, Danny is not just dealing with one coach, but 21 different head coaches. Each coach prioritizes their team and it’s Danny’s job to balance all of their needs. This can be pretty demanding at times, but he works hard to keep every coach and his/her staff happy.

What’s it like balancing work and studying for his Master’s?

It can definitely be tough at times. To keep everything in control, and maintain some work/study/life balance, Danny makes a list of things that need to be completed each day.

“While this may sound simple, it is essential in my line of work where there may be a million different things going on at once.”

What advice does Danny have for students interested in pursuing a career in this field?

Be prepared for long/odd hours. Some days you may only be in the office until 5pm but on other days you’ll be working late covering the athletic event and then finishing the game recap late into the night (sometimes 12am or later).

“It can be a very rewarding field, but at the same time, if you don’t find a balance for your personal life, you can get burned out. Be sure to find time for your personal life.”

[Editor's note: Danny accepted an offer to become the Sports Information Director at Corban University. He will be starting his new job on June 9th]

Homework time! Danny got his job through his school’s work-study program. He was offered the position after graduation because he worked hard as an undergraduate. Even if you don’t think you’ll continue on with your current part-time or work-study job after graduation, be sure you’re always doing your best work. Leave your employer with a good impression.

Danny’s job often has long or odd hours. Take some time to reflect on whether this is something you would be able to work with. Explore the opportunities available on AfterCollege. Look at the job descriptions and give your feedback on which type of job would work for you.

One of the best parts about Danny’s job is that he gets to work at a job he loves while paying for his tuition. Take some time to look into different opportunities like this that your school might offer.

P.S. You can read a little more about Danny on his Redlands profile. You can find a link to Danny’s social media work by clicking here.

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