Program of the Month Q&A: Sport Management Program Director Dr. Richard Jacob
“Coaching is not what I do; it is who I am.”
Whether he is leading a team on the basketball court or serving as the executive chairman of Western New York Coaches vs. Cancer, Medaille College Sport Management Program Director Dr. Richard Jacob’s passion for coaching and for giving back to others is transparent. He brings a natural inclination for leading and instructing, along with over 35 years of experience in coaching and various sport management roles – from a local to global level – to his work at Medaille. Dr. Jacob currently teaches sport psychology, sport history and philosophy to students in the program.
Here, Dr. Jacob explains how his various roles complement each other, touches on what makes Medaille’s sport management program unique, and gives advice to current and future students.
Having been a part of the Medaille community since 1995, what do you feel are some of your own or the program’s greatest successes over the years?
I was first hired as athletic director and head basketball coach at Medaille in 1995, and was charged with building a formal NCAA intercollegiate athletic program. I became the director of our sport management program in 2000, and received my faculty appointment about three years later. We are privileged to have a remarkable faculty at Medaille, and I have always been particularly proud to be a member of that group.
You are currently coaching the boys basketball team at the Park School. Have you learned anything in your years serving as a professor that has influenced or changed your coaching style?
I consider myself a coach by trade. Coaching is not what I do; it is who I am. I would say that coaching has influenced my teaching style, partly because of my attention to continuous improvement. I work to remain current in the discipline and to adapt pedagogy to best serve our students. I have also been influenced by my faculty colleagues throughout the years, and have taken some of the lessons learned from them back to my coaching.
What can future graduates of the sport management program expect to find when entering the field within the next five to 10 years, in WNY and beyond?
According to Plunket Research (2017), global sport is a $1.3 trillion industry. By design, our curriculum is balanced with sport specific and business courses. Our students are prepared with a business skill set that is focused on the sport industry, and this sets them apart from others in the field.
What advice would you give to current and future students who are interested in a career in sport management?
Focus on continuous improvement. Be sure to write well and sharpen your presentation skills. It helps to get involved in related professional organizations, like the North American Society for Sport Management (NASSM), the Sport Marketing Association (SMA), the National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA), College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA), the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) and the Association of Applied Sport Psychology (AASP). Above all, network. Build your resume every day through volunteering, shadowing and interning.
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