One of the absolute best parts of my job is the opportunity to work with motivated, hard working University of Montana students who want to learn more about intercollegiate athletics under the direction of the marketing department. Also known as our interns, these individuals give us their time and talents for eight months, a time period that is rewarding to everyone involved.
Christie* has developed quite the internship program during her tenure as Assistant Athletic Director at Grizzly Athletics. Starting off as a program that retained around four individuals, we now employ around ten. Believe it or not, three years ago at this very time I was an intern under Christie. Fortunately for me I happened to be at the right place at the right time and a couple months after my internship ended I got hired on full time to work in the athletic department and have the opportunity to help make the experiences of future interns just as positive as mine.
This month, the majority of our 2011-12 class of interns will graduate from The University of Montana. A couple who are currently juniors will return to school for their senior year and will come back and intern for us again. A couple more who were not students this past year but still interned for us will move on to other endeavors. Regardless of the different paths each of our interns take, I will always remember this class very fondly.
Our interns getting ready to work a football game.
Working for us in the marketing department can at times be very stressful and intense while at other times it can be very dull and tedious. Let’s start with exciting: When it comes to all the games where the marketing department has a visible presence (football, basketball, soccer, and volleyball), our interns are front and center running promotions and keeping us up with protocol. While I either have a press box or a designated corner to hide my face at games, our interns have the tough job and are under the eyes of thousands of fans. During football games the interns run around the field like crazy making sure the Greatest Show in Montana runs smoothly. With Christie and I screaming in their ears constantly (we are all hooked up to radios), these college juniors and seniors must think on their feet and perform under pressure. Coordinating the Monte entrance, getting VIPs to designated spots, helping with the skydivers, aiding Grizzly Sports Properties (our third party rights’ holder), running halftime, yelling at other people on the field, following the mascots, throwing beach balls into the stands, and picking fan of the game winners are just a few of the duties our team of interns are in charge of during football games. Let me also not forget the interns we keep up in the press box with us who help run the myriad of interactive Griz Vision promotions we now have at our disposal and who as well also serve as makeshift waiters and waitresses in case Christie and I need something to drink or eat.
At basketball games they are running all the fun and ridiculous on-court promotions. They are signing in people for the student fan club and recruiting people to do the aforementioned promotions. They are directing traffic for any special presentations we have during games and they are constantly completing odd jobs. Worst yet, if our men’s or women’s basketball team scores seventy-three points or more AND wins, they have to stay after and pass out chili coupons to every single fan in the building as they leave the arena…it is a thankless job.
3/4 of our girl interns (Christie, Katie, Steph, and Brooke)
Our interns also work several office hours for us each week. A lot of times these hours are fun and educational. They get to meet other employees in the department, deliver tickets/goods to community members, help with upcoming events, run errands with Christie and I, and help pick out pictures and images for marketing materials (such as posters and schedule cards). Other times, office hours are not so fun. Cleaning our storage closet, cold calling business owners, blowing up beach balls, and cutting out hearts and ribbons for our various pink games are some of the not so glamorous jobs we always give our interns. Sometimes though these jobs are heaven compared to some of the tedious social media jobs I delegate to my “lucky” interns. Have you ever clicked “follow” on twitter handles for a whole ninety minutes? How about invite 5,000 friends to a Facebook event when the stupid computer keeps freezing up on you every two minutes? Or how about accepting and rejecting friend requests for a mascot that has a pending list of over 1,000 Facebook users? Yeah….it gets boring.
But the thing is, these kids don’t complain. They come into our offices ready to work and even when we do give them a shitty job they respond with a positive attitude and a smile. It is remarkable. The hunger out there for experience is immense.
This year’s intern class is very close to my heart. They were a fun and unique group with many different personalities and talents but yet it seemed like I was able to connect to each one. They were also very loyal to the athletic department. Although it was a tremendous athletic year on the field/court, our department went through some very tough and trying times. Through it all, our interns stayed right by our sides and supported us and our program. That goes a long ways in my book.
To end this post, I would briefly like to thank the nine members that made up the Grizzly Marketing Intern Class of 2011-12:
(listed in alphabetical order):
Brooke – Always willing to tease me and give me fashion advice, you were a lot of fun to have around. Once we put you on Jim I don’t think he ever missed another on-field appearance.
Dan – With a lot on your plate this past year you still managed to contribute so much to the marketing department. You also served as a great role model and resource to the other interns. Thank you.
Dom – Go F@#$ yourself!! That moment will definitely be retold for years to come. I admired how you took this internship and applied some of the lessons and connections you got from it to Griz lacrosse. We got to go get a beer soon.
Jamie – I always looked forward to you coming in for your hours during the early morning and once I learned that you actually knew how to talk I looked forward to you coming in even more!! Hahaha jk. It was a pleasure getting to know you, I could always depend on you.
Katie – You have been around Christie and I for a while now and we are very fortunate to have had you help us in so many ways. I am very impressed with your fearless attitude. Move back to Missoula!
“Money” Mike – You are our human sports encyclopedia…you helped me out with player info and stats more than once! You have been a great resource and your passion has shined through.
Nick (Senior Intern) – What a great two years it has been with you. You have earned the once-in-a-lifetime internship along with all the other perks that have come along with it. You have a whole athletic department behind your back.
Steph – When I talked about being positive above, I had you specifically in mind. You did everything we ever asked of you and we are very lucky to have you coming back. I already have a big project for you that is going to be very important to the department!
Tim – I am really glad Nick brought you onto the team. You offered us so much this year and I can’t wait to have you back next year. I promise, no pies in the face during 2012-13.
Thanks again Class of 2011-12. I will remember each of you fondly. Good luck. Don’t Blink.
I give a lot of credit to our interns for helping us win the “Funnest Department” award at our Athletic Department Christmas party.
* – Christie is the Assistant Athletic Director for Marketing and Promotions. I have mentioned her several times in prior blog posts. She is my direct supervisor….a truly great person to work under!!