Bachelor of Science in Physical Education; Emphasis: Sport Leadership; Concentration: Sport Management; Minor in Business; Coaching Certificate
Current Job Title
GRACEAC Athletic Director
What are your general job responsibilities and day-to-day
I oversee all aspects of the GRACEAC (Grand Rapids Area Catholic Elementary Athletic Council) league. This league consists of 17 of the Catholic elementary schools in the Diocese of Grand Rapids, along with a few local Christian schools around the area. The league is for students in 5th-8th grade, and we offer 13 different sports over the course of the school year. I am in charge of scheduling, communication, social media, budgets, development, website, event planning, etc. One of the primary goals of GRACEAC is to facilitate the development of student athletes who genuinely display the Christian qualities of good sportsmanship and fair play in every aspect of life. We strive to create an environment where athletics are an extension of our classrooms. I host quarterly meetings with the Athletic Directors at each member school to gather feedback. I chair a Rules Committee that meets after each sports season (fall, winter, spring) to discuss potential changes in our rules. I work with the assignors of our officials for volleyball, basketball, soccer, football, baseball, and softball to ensure everything is running smoothly. Sometimes the weather presents problems for us to get our games in, so it is my call whether to cancel and then communicate those changes to everyone affected. I host preseason meetings for coaches and officials to set expectations and give them a glimpse of how the season will run. My goal with the GRACEAC website is to offer a one-stop shop for any parent, coach, or official with any resource or answer to a question that they may have. When GRACEAC hosts events, I'm in charge of all event planning including securing officials, workers, trainers, etc. The most important aspect of the job is definitely scheduling and communication. This is the foundation for any sports league. People need schedules in advance to plan their busy lives. I am always striving to create a process to get schedules out as early as possible, and then communicating this as efficiently as possible. I want to be sure that everyone involved in our league (member schools, officials, coaches, etc.) has everything they need for the league to run successfully!
What factors contributed in your journey to becoming a sports
professional? (Volunteer, networking, etc.)
Sports have always been my passion, so I stayed as active as possible working in athletics during my journey toward becoming a sports professional. My first ever job was at 16 years old when I became a basketball official and baseball umpire for the GRACEAC league. I have been doing this ever since. I also worked at the GVSU Recreation Center for five years, working on both the recreation and maintenance staffs. I coached a 7/8 grade baseball and 7th grade boys basketball team for a GRACEAC school to gain my coaching certificate. I then interned at West Catholic High School working with their athletic department and helped them host home games at their facilities. I also interned with the city of Grand Rapids in their Parks & Rec department. I worked with the Recreation Supervisor and helped him with daily duties and run programs. Most of my working life has been spent in some form of athletics. All of these experiences taught me something new in the industry, and I was able to meet many people along the way. Staying involved in the industry and interacting with the people around me (parents, officials, coaches, etc.) helped get me to where I am today.
What advice would you give to current and future sport
Stay as active and involved as possible. Work as much as you can, whether you are volunteering, working, networking, etc. Meet as many new people as you can and open new doors. Introduce yourself! You never know when an opportunity will present itself. Make sure you are always approachable and people see you working hard! Always keep a smile on your face. Be a good listener!
What is your favorite undergraduate memory as a sport
The sport leadership club took a trip to Indianapolis in April 2013. We toured Lucas Oil Stadium (home of the Colts - NFL), Bankers Life Fieldhouse (home of the Pacers - NBA), and the NCAA headquarters. We ended the trip by watching the Pacers play the Thunder that night. What a day!