John Kirtland II
corporation athletic director, Shoals Community Schools, Shoals, Ind.
"As an athletic director, my best advice to anyone interested in going into athletics administration would be to pursue a degree in education. As you grow as a teacher and coach you learn the fundamental backbone of what education-based athletics is all about. Taking the time to grow in a school, while advancing your education through a master's degree in athletics administration, will pave the way and open the doors to being a highly successful athletic director."
director of sports development, Rockford Area Convention and Visitors Bureau, Rockford, Ill.
"Be deliberate about putting yourself into projects, positions and settings that make you a bit uncomfortable. We all have strengths that we'll naturally lean toward, and we should. But the most growth you'll experience — personally and as part of a team or organization — occurs when you push the boundaries."
student services coordinator, University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee Student Union, Milwaukee, Wis.
"It's okay to learn as you go! Running the operations in the rec center was an add-on to my programmatic responsibilities, and it's become one of my favorite parts of my role. Don't be afraid to go for it and trust your ability to pick things up on the job."
PE teacher/coach, Vincennes Rivet Jr./Sr. High School, Vincennes, Ind.
"Talking with many young people who are trying to break into high school athletics, I have learned one thing: they don't have a clue how much work it is. My advice would be to take some time and learn more about the game or sport to develop your skills as a coach (at lower levels or as a volunteer). Learning from experienced coaches is an aspect of athletics that should be utilized to garner respect and learn the do's and don'ts of coaching. Remember, winning isn't always what the student-athletes remember."
This article originally appeared in the April 2018 issue of Athletic Business with the title "What advice would you offer someone looking to succeed in your profession?." Athletic Business is a free magazine for professionals in the athletic, fitness and recreation industry. Click here to subscribe.