While many people were lamenting their inability to participate in athletics at the height of the pandemic, Olivia Dandrow ’24 was busy figuring out how sports would factor into her future. Luckily, she did not have to look far for answers.

At the time, the Pembroke, Massachusetts, resident was studying computer science at another institution. Reflecting upon life during lockdown helped her realize that this was not the path for her.

“I thought about it and determined that a career in sports would be the best fit for me,” she said. “I’ve been involved in sports since I was 7 years old. In high school, I played varsity basketball and softball. Athletics have been important to me all my life.”

She transferred to Stonehill College and opted to major in its newly launched sports management major. Now, after having spent more than a year in the program, Dandrow couldn’t be happier.

“My classes have exposed me to different areas of the industry, from the business side to the team management side,” she said. “I’ve figured out that I’m interested in working directly with players. I want to become an NBA scout someday. It will be a long and challenging journey to get to that point, but if I keep pushing, I think I can make it happen.”

Above and below, teams of students in the Introduction to Sports Management course present their final projects.

Being Part of Meehan School Has Unique Benefits

Stonehill’s sports management degree provides students a broad knowledge base designed to help them hone skills tied to a range of functions in this fast-growing industry.

“We focus on sports analytics, a growing segment of the field,” said Professor Lauren Hindman, chair of the Sports Management Department. “We also help students understand the overall management process and realize what it takes to make live sporting events happen. Lastly, we want to help them explore topics related to ethical leadership, with a particular focus on sustainability and diversity, equity and inclusion.”

Stonehill’s sports management major, one of eight majors offered by the Leo J. Meehan School of Business, is accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB) International. Interestingly, only a third of all sports management programs are housed in business schools. Of those, only a small number offer AACSB-accredited courses.

Hindman believes students will benefit greatly from the program’s unique association with the Meehan School.

“They are prepared for jobs in sports but are also prepared if they later decide to make a career pivot,” she said. “They will be qualified to get jobs at many other organizations because they have that business background.”

Faculty Who Have Worked in the Field

Sports management students stand to gain not only from their major’s business ties, but also from opportunities to collaborate with experienced professionals like Hindman. Prior to joining the Stonehill community, the faculty member served as senior director of marketing for the Texas Stars, an Austin-based team in the American Hockey League.

Leveraging her industry connections, Hindman has invited several impressive speakers to campus for different functions. In fall 2022, for instance, she organized a screening of Let Noor Run, an ESPN documentary. The event included a discussion with director Shayla Harris and film subject Noor Alexandria Abukaram and covered the latter’s work combating discriminatory policies affecting her athletic participation.

Matthew Butler ’24, a sports management major from Canton, Massachusetts, has appreciated Hindman’s efforts to provide students with access to programs like this.

“I recently went with her and some classmates to a panel at Fenway Park,” he said. “A couple of members of the Red Sox organization talked about their work on the team’s social media channels. A general manager also spoke about finances. Hearing from people in the field is so useful because it helps us narrow down what we might want to focus on in the future.”

The careers available to sports management majors after they graduate are wide-ranging, including roles in:

  • Athletic administration
  • Event management
  • Public relations
  • Sales
  • Broadcasting
  • Marketing

Deep Ties to Boston’s Pro Sports Teams

Students’ ability to launch careers in these areas is enhanced by Stonehill’s existing connections to sports organizations in New England. Though the sports management program is relatively new, students and graduates of other programs have been employed by the Boston Red Sox, the Boston Bruins, the New England Revolution, the Boston Cannons and the Harwich Mariners.

The Boston Externship Program is a one-week career exploration and networking opportunity over the course of spring break in March and available to first-year students.

Many students pursue internships offered by Boston's professional sports franchises.

Sam Kennedy, president and chief executive officer of the Boston Red Sox, meets with students at Stonehill.

“The College also has a longstanding relationship with the Boston Celtics. Through our popular externship program, students visit the team each year. They connect with alumni working for the organization and explore the potential for internships and jobs,” said Christina Burney, executive director of student success.

Hindman notes that students are well-positioned to attain roles at major sports teams in part because of Stonehill’s proximity to markets like Boston and Providence. The College’s campus is located approximately 30 miles from both places.

“Being so close to these cities offers students the chance to really excel once their time at Stonehill comes to an end,” she said. “I’m excited that we are helping tomorrow’s industry leaders create opportunities for themselves.”

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