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News from Baylor School of Education

SOE Master’s Students Worked Behind the Scenes at ESPN College Gameday [12/06/2019]



Baylor SOE Sport Management students and ESPN hosts on the Gameday set: (l-r) Desmond Howard, Scott Visey, Stacy Falconieri, Reece Davis, Amber Corcoran, Shelly Stafford, Sarah Edmondson, Lee Corso, Matt Gillette, Kirk Herbstreet, Caleb Clark, Mike Muto, Hayden Johnson, S.K. Stevens, Maura Walsh

Students in the Baylor School of Education Sport Management program had the opportunity to work closely with ESPN College Gameday when the national broadcast aired from McLane Stadium on Saturday, Nov. 16, for the Bears’ matchup with the Oklahoma Sooners. The SOE master’s students worked with ESPN staff to ensure the broadcast and weekend events ran smoothly as hundreds of Baylor students and fans converged on the stadium to participate.

College Gameday, an ESPN football pre-game show, broadcasts live from various colleges and universities all across the nation. The show covers the college football stats and predictions for the upcoming games that day.

This was Baylor’s third time hosting College Gameday, and Sport Management master’s students have assisted previously, but it was a first and a unique opportunity for this year’s students to get to work with the ESPN professionals.

“This benefits our students with hands-on exposure to a top flight production operation and promotes valuable networking opportunities,” said Dr. Jeffrey Petersen, Professor of Sport Management, director of the program, and Interim Chair of the Department of Educational Leadership. “The rapid weekly turn-around and early start time associated with Gameday also provide students with insights on the atypical schedule associated with sport events and sport programming.”

Sport Management students working on the Gameday set

Sport Management student Kyle Combs, graduate assistant for the Sport Management program, first reached out through social media and the ESPN email to Gameday staff three weeks prior to Baylor being named the official host.

“I really just wanted Baylor to be on their radar,” Combs said. He also reached out to Baylor event and facility staff, all with the help of Dr. Petersen.

“After giving me ideas of who to contact, Dr. Petersen let me handle the rest of the logistics and checked in wanting to know any exciting updates,” Combs said.

Upon receiving news of Combs’ Gameday inquiry, former Sport Management student — and now Associate Director of Fan Engagement at Baylor — Derek Westbrook provided him with essential connections to Gameday staff.

Combs worked closely with ESPN, Home Depot, and Octagon event staff, who carry out the Sports Marketing for Home Depot. He additionally was placed in charge of the 16 Sport Management student volunteers who signed up to partake in College Gameday.

Stacy Falconieri, one of the student volunteers from the Sport Management program, worked closely with the Octagon team.

“It was a fun and enlightening experience. I enjoyed interacting with all of the different types of people — fans, VIPs, other workers, and TV personnel,” Falconieri said.

Combs said, “The hours were long and started early, but everyone commented on how efficient and hardworking our crew was, which meant as the day went on the more we could enjoy the show from backstage.”

The Baylor Sport Management program is not only a leading master’s program in Texas, but also across the nation. Graduates from this program serve in leadership roles in the sport industry in professional, intercollegiate, interscholastic, community and both for-profit and non-profit settings.

‑By Katie Coats

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For more than 100 years Baylor educators have carried the mission and practices of the School of Education to classrooms and beyond as teachers, superintendents, psychologists, health education professionals, academics/scholars and more. With more than 50 full-time faculty members, the school’s growing 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.

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.

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