Four graduates of the Baylor Sport Management master’s program are making significant contributions as part of elite college basketball programs — right here at Baylor, where both the women’s and men’s basketball teams are vying for conference titles and the Lady Bears are ranked No. 1 in the nation.
Three graduates are working in the men’s basketball program and one in women’s basketball. They said that the Sport Management (SPM) program, which they completed through the School of Education’s Department of Educational Leadership, taught them to foster personal relationships as well as master financial management, facility and event management, marketing, psychology, and ethical issues in the sports world. Each Sport Management MSEd student also completes an internship. Opportunities are available in Baylor Athletics as well as in outside agencies including the American Football Coaches Association, Boys & Girls Clubs, Sodexo, SMG, Baylor IMG, and McLennan Community College.
Aditya Malhotra, who is Associate Director of Operations and Recruiting for Baylor men’s basketball, said, “I expected the program to be an ‘every man for himself’ situation, but the atmosphere was like a having another family. I loved it. The professors invested in me, and I was able to invest in others when I was teaching bowling and weight lifting as a graduate assistant.”
After graduating from the program in 2015, Malhotra said, he was blessed with a specially made position by Head Coach Scott Drew the same year. Baylor’s athletics teams have a low turnover rate, and the men’s basketball team had not added a position in years. He was surprised, but thankful to find his SPM studies aligned well with the diverse responsibilities he still discovers in his job daily.
“I thought working for the team would just be pure basketball, but everything I learned in graduate school found a way to line up,” Malhotra said. “I’m designing the locker room, running through blueprints, scheduling, and acting as a liaison between the Athletics Department and us. It’s things like management and administrative concepts that surface from the program in small ways like when I need the lingo in weekly marketing meetings to keep up.”
Down the hall from Malhotra is Men’s Director of Video Operations Ty Beard, MSEd ’10. As a Baylor undergrad, he was a student manager and then served as a graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team. He kept busy with late-night athlete-requested practice shots, swerving golf carts full of equipment across campus, setting up the court, and whatever the coaches tossed at him in between. He said he has loved every day, because his passion is simply basketball and everything connected with it.
“I recognized the value of organization and student relationships during the SPM program,” Beard said. “We can teach people what’s in a book or a play-by-play all day, but they learn through relationships. Coaching is all teaching. It’s the same relationships off and on the court, and those even translate into their own personal issues and goals away from the basketball.”
Beard manages scouting by reviewing and studying their own and competitors’ video footage of past games. He was proud when the men’s team reached the NIT (National Invitation Tournament) in the 2017-2018 season, but their ultimate goal every year is to attend the NCAA Tournament.
“The makeup of this season’s team has a stronger skillset in shooting and guarding compared to the last few years,” he said. “We need them to share the basketball with each other more. We need more excitement from the team. The more you have fun while doing anything, the better you’re going to be at that skill. It wears on you, but it takes time and I know the players will work on it.”
Also in the men’s basketball program is Assistant Coach John Jakus, M.S.Ed. ’14, who was a graduate assistant for the men’s basketball team during the 2012-2014 seasons. This internship through the SPM program gave him courtside experience as the team made the 2014 NCAA Tournament and won the 2013 National Invitation Tournament title. Like Beard, he worked with video operations to study and break down competitors’ strategy for the team. After completing the master’s program, he served as Gonzaga University’s director of basketball operations. Jakus came back to Baylor in 2017.
Around the bend of the Ferrell Center dome in the Lady Bears offices, Associate Director of Operations Kaylin Rice, BSEd ’15, MSEd ’17, can be found running back and forth from the offices to the court, offering her expert input in scouting and film breakdown. She was also a Lady Bears student manager for four years while studying education (secondary social studies) as an undergraduate. While working on her MSEd in Sport Management, she was a graduate assistant for the Lady Bears. Now in her second season with the team as part of the full-time staff, she is settling into her position’s day-to-day duties and considering her future behind the curtain of elite college basketball.
Rice said, “The X’s and O’s don’t always prepare you for a job by the court. The [Sport Management] graduate program prepared me for a job in an operations position — scheduling, traveling, handling financials, etc. I learned all the things you don’t realize come into play from the coaching, administrative, or operational side. It turned into a good foundation.”
Since 1985, the Baylor SPM master’s program has offered students internships, research, work experience, and career opportunities. Director of the Sport Management graduate program Dr. Jeffrey Petersen said the strong connections between the department, specific teams, and Baylor Athletics fosters relationships that lead to impactful professions and lives. The program provides students with a real-world view of what sports encompass and all the numbers and relationships that come with it, Petersen said.
— By Cameron Bocanegra
— Photos courtesy of Baylor Athletics
ABOUT BAYLOR SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
Founded in 1919, Baylor School of Education ranks among the nation’s top 20 education schools located at private universities. The School’s research portfolio complements its long-standing commitment to excellence in teaching and student mentoring. Baylor’s undergraduate program in teacher education has earned national distinction for innovative partnerships with local schools that provide future teachers deep clinical preparation, while graduate programs culminating in both the Ed.D. and Ph.D. prepare outstanding leaders, teachers and clinicians through an intentional blend of theory and practice.
ABOUT BAYLOR UNIVERSITY
Baylor University is a private Christian University and a nationally ranked research institution. The University provides a vibrant campus community for more than 16,000 students by blending interdisciplinary research with an international reputation for educational excellence and a faculty commitment to teaching and scholarship. Chartered in 1845 by the Republic of Texas through the efforts of Baptist pioneers, Baylor is the oldest continually operating University in Texas. Located in Waco, Baylor welcomes students from all 50 states and more than 80 countries to study a broad range of degrees among its 12 nationally recognized academic divisions.