Being the Associate Director of Sports for YMCA, USA gives Augie Mendoza a full plate of responsibilities on both the local and national levels. “A lot of the work I do deals with collaborating with US Olympic Committee and National Governing bodies of Sports,” says Mendoza.
Augie started working with local associations of the YMCA in 1988 in San Antonio, Dallas and Oklahoma City. Prior to that, Mendoza worked as a high school tennis coach and taught tennis professionally.
“I thought I would go into coaching and teaching as a profession,” said Mendoza, not expecting to be in the position he is in today.
After majoring in physical education at the University of Texas in San Antonio, Mendoza found himself getting married and moving to New Jersey where he would start his career in sports as a coordinator at a private athletic club. “That’s how I got started in the sports industry, and I never did go back to teaching and coaching.”
Mendoza’s love for sports began as a kid. “Whether it be participating, watching, or pretending I was the next Roger Staubach, I have always loved sports. Growing up, I played all the core sports; baseball, basketball, football. As I got older, I was limited by my size to play high school football or some of the other sports. So I played baseball and tennis seriously going through high school.”
His willingness to get involved and see what was available in the industry is what led Augie to his current position with the YMCA. “As I grew up, I was naturally directed towards those activities that I enjoyed. After I got my degree, I started looking at YMCAs, Parks and Rec, etc… I was willing to grab anything that came my way in the sports arena.”
At the local level, Mendoza is responsible for implementing leagues and schedules for different core sports that the YMCAs do, depending on the needs of the community. “We work with the volunteers, train coaches, train officials, conduct parent meetings and provide sporting opportunities for the youngsters in the community. Our philosophy is everyone gets equal playing time. We do not have all-star or traveling teams. It is more focused on the younger kids, developing their skills, and implementing character development programs.”
On the national level, Augie serves as a resource and consultant to local YMCAs. “I help advocate issues that are deemed important on the local YMCA level, as well as work with a lot with the National Governing Bodies of Sport and the US Olympic Committee to establish grants and funding for local Ys. For example, we work with NFL Charities as well as collaborate with USA Track and Field in providing a training guide for sport administrators to conduct and start Track and Field programs at their local YMCA.”
After working part-time as a Fitness Director and Sports Official for the YMCA in Dallas, Mendoza came to realize that with his degree in physical education, he had a chance to further advance himself. “I was at that right place at the right time. I was able to get a full time Sports Coordinator position at a local YMCA. It was the second largest YMCA in the Dallas area. From there, my career took off with the YMCA and, specifically, into sports management on the national level. I am able to do what I enjoy and love, consulting and working with local sports directors on bettering their programs.”
If you are looking to “Work in Sports”, Mendoza says exposure to the business is a key factor. More simply put, get involved.
“Get involved in a Parks and Rec facility and see how it operates at that level. Work in a private club industry, whether athletic club or country club, see how they operate. Get involved in the coaching level voluntarily, officiating, work an internship with a sports organization so you can get a good handle and feel of what opportunities exist in the industry.”
All of these things will give a person a better understanding of the business on more than one platform, and that will increase their personal marketability. Mendoza added, “I think the more well rounded an individual is in the different entities of how sports organizations work, the more of an asset they’ll become to an organization.”