Sports Career Spotlight

We've been featuring executives from the sports industry since 2001. Naturally, some of these executives have moved onward and upward in their sports careers. We believe these profiles remain relevant and valuable because they highlight the hard work, dedication, brilliant successes, and lessons learned in a variety of career paths through the sports industry.

Dr. Eric C. Schwarz

Dr. Eric C. Schwarz , President

Sport Marketing Association


Name: Dr. Eric C. Schwarz
Current Job Title: Associate Professor of Sport Business/President
Company Name: Saint Leo University/Sport Marketing Association
First sports job: Aside from Graduate Assistantships and Internships, my first full-time job was as Assistant Director for Facility Scheduling and Special Event Management for the Stony Brook University Athletics Department.
College education: Ed.D in Sport Management
Executive most admired: Robert Kraft, New England Patriots Owner
Brand most admired: Toss-Up between ESPN and NASCAR

Short Bio:
Dr. Eric Schwarz is in his third year as Associate Professor of Sport Business at Saint Leo University. Previously, he spent nine years at Daniel Webster College in New Hampshire as an Associate Professor and Program Coordinator of Sport Management within the School of Business, Management, and Professional Studies. During the 2006-2007 academic year, he took a sabbatical leave to serve as Visiting Senior Lecturer and Researcher at the University of Ballarat in Australia.

In October 2010, Dr. Schwarz was elected to President of Sport Marketing Association (SMA). The SMA is dedicated to developing mutually beneficial relationships between professionals, academicians, and students around the world through the creation, distribution, and implementation of sport marketing knowledge via conferences, scholarly activities, networking opportunities, and career development programs.

Tell us a little about your first job in the sports industry. How did you land it?
I got my big break for two reasons networking and an internship. When I was looking for an internship, I was in an unusual position. I was starting about one year into my doctorate and I had to complete a required internship. At the same time, the private school where I was coaching and teaching, which also was where I was going to do athletic director work as my internship, went out of business. So, I basically had already made a commitment to where I was going to live, but had no job or internship. I contacted someone in my network at the local university I had met her numerous times at National Intramural-Recreation Association (NIRSA) conferences. She contact her athletic director at Stony Brook University, I had an interview with him, and eventually secure an internship. Once the internship ended, it was moved to a full-time temporary position.

What advice would you give to students looking to make sports their career?
First would be to get a solid theoretical foundation through education at a quality university that supplements that education with real world experiences both in the classroom through practical projects, and outside the classroom through apprenticeships, practica, and internships. Second would be to build a network of professionals and colleagues through work experiences, conferences, and mutual contacts. The reality in the sport business industry is that to get a job, it is often who you know and to keep a job, it is what you know and can produce.

When hiring, what major traits do you look for in a candidate?
I personally look for people with solid educational credentials combined with real-world, industry experience. I want people who can take a leadership role in tasks, has good time and stress management skills, can write and verbally communicate well with colleagues and clients, and have the latest technological skills necessary for the job. I also expect them to have a value-based personal philosophy especially those with a high level of integrity, shows respect for others, has a desire to attain personal and organizational excellence, has the drive to personally development and grow, and can work within an organizational community of professionals.

Where do you see hiring in the sports industry heading in the next 3 years?
In my opinion, while there will still be positions available in the same traditional areas of the sport industry, there are three areas I see on the rise. First is with non-profit organizations. There seems to be a significant growth of these types of organizations in the sport industry, and they are a great way to get some good experience especially early in your career. Second is with private organizations taking over the management of public sport entities. With the reduced amount of tax dollars available to support public initiatives, private companies are coming in and taking over. Finally, opportunities overseas will continue to grow. With emerging markets in the Middle East, Africa, and South America, there will be a need for skilled sport business professionals who can make a difference in these global markets.

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