The Assistant Athletic Director for Regional Sales for the University of Idaho Athletic Department, Jeff Pilcher, had no idea he would end up working in the sports industry.
“I didn’t even realize there were careers in sports until I got to college and was around the athletic department and saw the behind the scenes work,” said Pilcher.
“We have a really great department. I get a lot of help from the other folks here,” said Jeff, the proud new father of a baby girl. “Plus, we have interns and part-time help.”
Jeff was a track athlete and graduated from the University of Idaho in 1993. After he finished competing in athletics and while still an undergrad, he served an internship with the University’s Marketing and Athletic Department.
“My internship with Idaho was unpaid. After I graduated, I had another internship that paid like $500 for the summer,” said Jeff. “I suffered through a few years of not making a lot of money, but I knew what I wanted to do and where I wanted to go.”
A typical day for Jeff consists of many different responsibilities. “Just about everything I do, I work on a little bit every day.” Typical duties include making sure all marketing and advertising is in place, planning and executing game day promotions and being in charge of the radio network.
“I am constantly making sure that we’re on the air, that our ads are being run, our features are being run and the quality of the radio broadcast is in tact,” said Pilcher. Another job added to that list recently was handling TV broadcasts. “We have television games. We just struck a deal with FOX Sports Northwest so I handle that aspect.”
It does not stop there. As is the case with many college and professional teams, the University of Idaho works with the community. “I am also in charge of our community outreach program,” said Jeff. “That includes a kids club which I work on daily, and outreach to different groups (like) elementary schools, churches, (and) other organizations.”
Pilcher came to the University of Idaho from the Phoenix Coyotes Hockey Club where he served as a Corporate Account Executive. Prior to his tenure with the Coyotes, Jeff was with the Idaho Stampede, a Continental Basketball Association team in Boise. He was the Stampedes Director of Sales and Marketing from 1997-98. He joined the Stampede after two years with the Spokane Chiefs Hockey Club, where he was a Sponsorship Sales Executive.
Jeff says the toughest thing about Working In Sports is getting your foot in the door. “The biggest thing I could say is just try to find an opening and get in. If someone is coming out of college or in college, the best thing you could do is get an internship or get some entry level position.”
“So many people want to Work In Sports and so many are willing to do whatever it takes to get in that door, you need to the same thing. (Even) if that’s an unpaid intern,” he said. “So (that’s) the biggest thing, to try and get your foot in the door anyway possible, whether it be internship or entry-level positions.”