By: Adam White, @FOSAdam
Front Office Sports is proud to have sat down with Cooper Irwin, SportsManias Intern and student at the University of Texas. Cooper was kind enough to share what it is like being a student at UT, what his sports business dreams and goals are and why for him, SportsManias has helped him flourish.
As a Junior at UT Austin, you have been at school now for almost three years. What is one key thing that you have taken away from your classroom experience and your practical experience?
UT is such a great school and I truly love it. The academics are fantastic and I have learned a lot of the foundations of advertising, business, and sports management. I feel like I have gained the by the book knowledge of how to be successful in the field I want to work in; sports marketing. I think school is only half of the whole college experience though, as there is so much extracurricular stuff that allows you to grow as a leader and person.
The student organizations I have been involved with have allowed me to gain experience in the sports marketing world. I covered a UT basketball game for Texas Student Television and Myles Turner’s press conference, I hosted UT football recruits at each game this season for the SHARE Athletics program. I was on a three-person committee for Camp Kesem, in charge of raising $65,000 to send kids whose parents had cancer to the camp free of charge. These are just a few of the great experiences I have had in student organizations at UT.
I have heard some great inspiring talks from the likes of Hank Aaron, Bill Russell, Matthew McCaughey, RJ Mitte, and Mark Cuban who all came to UT to talk to students. I also have made some of my best friends in my three years here and made great memories from Austin City Limits to SXSW to going crazy when Javan Felix hit a buzzer beater to beat North Carolina. I wouldn’t change my academic and practical experience so far one bit.
You have your own radio show. Can you talk about what that process was like to get it, how it all started and what you learned from the experience?
I started my own radio show with my friend Adam called I-35 Sports: From Dallas to Austin. UT has a student run radio station called KVRX so I reached out to the programming director with an idea for a sports talk show, went through the training, and got on. Our show is half Dallas professional sports (Mavericks, Cowboys, Rangers) and half Longhorn Sports. It has been a tremendous experience as you learn how to creatively voice you own opinion and I think Adam and I get better with each show. We have also gained additional marketing experience in finding ways to gain listeners with a small budget. One of the biggest highlights of the show last semester was getting the opportunity to interview former Longhorn and NFL Tight End Bo Scaife!
You are currently involved with the multiple student organizations on campus and have commitments outside of school. What are your tips for balancing your school and your other commitments?
I don’t get a ton of sleep haha. But, the main thing I do is set aside certain time frames for schoolwork, group organizations, a social life, and internships. Time management is truly a key for being successful in college. I keep a to-do list on my notes app on my phone and constantly add things to it and check them off as I go!
Why a career in sports? Where do you see yourself in five years?
Sports have always been a major passion for me. I really love watching, playing, and talking sports. I was a Dallas Mavericks ball boy in High School and it was a dream job. I absolutely loved the thrill of working alongside the best basketball players in the world and being so close to the action. When they won the championship in 2011, I felt a special sense of pride for being a part of the organization. I decided then that doing something with sports was the career I wanted to pursue because I would be doing something I truly enjoyed. In five years, I hope to be working in the marketing department for a professional sports franchise whether it be in the NBA, MLB, or NFL.
Can you talk about your experience with SportsManias? Why is a campus reps program like this so valuable for students to gain experience in the industry?
SportsManias Campus Reps is an absolutely tremendous program! As an Advertising and Sports Management double major, the internship perfectly blended both fields. It taught me so much about marketing campaigns, social media strategy, promoting with giveaways at tailgates, etc. I had learned about all of these advertising and marketing approaches in my classes but working with SportsManias allowed me to actually put what I learned into practice and help promote their app to students at UT. Pearce Falcon, my advisor, has been great to me and always given me fantastic feedback and advice. It’s valuable to gain experience in the industry because getting your feet wet is always a good thing and it allows you to grow and be a better candidate for when you’re actually looking for a job after graduation.
What advice would you give fellow students and young professionals currently pursuing jobs and/or internships in sports management?
I would say to get involved with as many extracurricular things as you can. Employers want someone who is well-rounded and has experience. Showing you can balance multiple organizational commitments and internships while maintaining good academics is a key. If you have that additional experience, it will make you a more competitive applicant and help set you apart.