Sport Management & Coaching

Sport Management

Brand-new program focuses on business management side of sports

Real Magazine sat down with Sara Woodward, an exercise and sport science instructor at Dakota County Technical College, to discuss her new program, Sport Management & Coaching.

Real: How did the program come about?

Sara: We definitely saw a need for this program. Exercise and sport science has a close relationship with sport management—they’re part of same family and usually go hand in hand. One of the main reasons for the new program is that lot of the students were turned off by the heavy science load in the Exercise & Sport Science program. There’s a lot of biology, physiology and anatomy. The question that comes up relates to students who just want to be a coach or manage a team. They’re more interested in the business side of sports, which doesn’t really require a deep knowledge of anatomy and physiology. So we created Sport Management & Coaching as the business counterpart to the science-based Exercise and Sport Science degree. It’s a diploma—48 credits—and covers the basics of running a team, sport or club organization or a recreational program. So, this new program really cuts to the management piece of the sports equation.

Real: Do you see having a lot of students taking both programs?

Sara: Yes, we have a lot of students who are interested in enrolling in both programs. I just talked to a student on the Blue Knights fastpitch softball team who is from Canada. Her dream is to open a facility with an athletic training piece and a personal training piece. She wants to train athletes and have scouts come in to see them perform. No facility like that exists in the area she’s from. She also wants to run the operation. I told she’ll eventually need a 4-year degree to get athletic training certification as well as certification to be a strength conditioning specialist. What’s great is that she’ll already have the sport management piece she’ll need to run the facility. She’ll understand the ins and outs of hiring, liability and other issues. The new degree also targets athletes because a lot of athletes are interested in being involved in world of sports. The only way to do that without playing is to be understand the sport management side.

Real: What process did you follow to create the program?

Sara: We had our sport science advisory committee and our coaches meet to discuss curriculum and development. We got the program finalized and approved in spring 2011. We rolled it out officially fall 2011. We had advisory committee, coaches, and an athletic director from Hastings brainstorm about classes. One of the people on committee has sport management degree. Head Soccer Coach Cam Stoltz and Student Life Director Nicole Meulemans got a lot of insight from people with sport management backgrounds regarding what courses to include. We see this program as a really good complement to the Exercise & Sport Science program. Right now, an adjunct instructor teaches the program, but we eventually would like a faculty member to come in and take it on as their baby.

Real: How does it compare to other schools?

Sara: A lot of schools have a 4-year degree in sport management. So this is clearly, getting in the door fast, getting the basics and the concepts and then getting to work. If students are interested in getting to the college level, the professional level, then they’re probably going to go on to get a 4-year degree. A lot of sport management, really any kind of management, is about contacts and networking, so that is something that we encourage. This program gives students the opportunity to explore some of the issues and concepts in the management side of sports through a very relevant curriculum. If sport management is something they want to pursue further, this program is a perfect doorway to jobs like managing rec centers or youth sport leagues. We do have the coaching certificate, which is another piece of the management puzzle. A lot of students who are interested in the sport management degree are interested in the coaching certificate.

Real: How has the response been?

Sara: So far the response has been really positive. But again, it’s really new. This is our first year. We’re looking at upping our marketing presence in the second year while ironing out some scheduling bugs.

Real: So, what’s important to know is that this is a brand-new program, and not a revamp?

Sara: Yes, you’re right, Sport Management & Coaching is a brand-spanking new program. We were able to do a redesign of our A.A.S. degree, but it has very little overlap between our Sport Management & Coaching A.A.S. degree and  diploma. There are three courses in Exercise & Sport Science that are required for both, the rest of it is new. We’ve included things like accounting, and there are a lot of general education courses for students who want to transfer and/or broaden their knowledge base.

Real: What do you tell current or perspective students who may be interested in this?

Sara: I tell them that they’re going to get a really good overview of the management concepts in sport—and that’s really what this diploma is intended to do. Also, we recognize that we need to market to a different type of student. Our Exercise and Sport Science degree is heavy in the sport science and a lot of people don’t expect that when they come to DCTC. But you can’t really train somebody unless you understand their anatomy. That’s not the case with business. You don’t have to understand all those heavy science principles. So it does target a different student. There are people who are really good with business. There are people who don’t want to be in the foreground. And there are people who are people-people.

Real: So you see quite a variety of people who are interested in the program?

Sara: Yes, absolutely! We’ve got people who are interested in the marketing aspect, people who are interested in running their own facilities—as owning their own Irish Sports Dome, that sort of thing. Then we’ve got people who are interested in the coaching side of sports or the team management side. We get a lot of people who are interested in a variety of aspects of sport management. It’s been good! So far so good.

Real: Do you have a mix of students, some pursuing a diploma and certificate or an A.A.S. and diploma?

Sara: Yes, we have students all over the place. The other thing is that with our degrees, the diploma only requires two credits of technical electives, but we have students in our A.A.S. degree who have to take 12 credits of technical electives. So, if they’re doing those technical electives, we have some who will choose to take the courses for the technical electives in the sport management diploma or in the certificates, so they can graduate with multiple awards. That’s a good resume builder. Even though people might want to tie sport management and sport science  together, most schools keep them very separate simply because they’re not the same. One is very much the business side of things, the other is very much the training or biomechanics or exercise physiology, the science piece. They’re like cousins, by marriage.

Sport Management & Coaching: Major Description

This program offers training and development directly related to positions in a variety of sport and recreation occupations. Core coursework covers exercise and sport science. Supporting courses involve academic areas such as business and general education. The curriculum provides ongoing practical education and experiences in conjunction with a final semester internship experience.

Sport Management Diploma: This program contains 48 credits of exercise and sport science, accounting, and general education courses. It is intended to prepare students for careers in sport management, recreation management, facilities management, and coaching settings. The program includes a two-credit practical experience either on campus or off campus.

Community Coaching Certificate: This 17 credit certificate includes courses that meet the expectations of most interscholastic organizations. It provides students with an understanding of coaching theory as well as injury care and prevention, sport management, and strength and conditioning for athletes. In addition, students will be eligible for First Responder licensure with the state upon successful completion of EMRG 1017 First Responder (includes First Aid/ CPR/AED.)

About Sara Woodward

Sara Woodward is an exercise and sport science instructor. She began teaching at DCTC when her program first started in 2002. Woodward has a master’s degree in kinesiology with an emphasis in exercise physiology from the University of Minnesota. She is currently working on her doctorate in kinesiology with an emphasis in sport psychology. She holds CSCS and NSCA-CPT certifications through the National Strength and Conditioning Association. She is also a certified Lifestyle and Weight Management Consultant through the American Council on Exercise. Regarding her teaching philosophy, Woodward believes that it is a teacher’s role to facilitate the learning and success of our students. She supports and encourages students to reach their full potential. Her interests include resistance training and martial arts.

For more information about Sport Management & Coaching at DCTC, please contact: