Five steps Stephanie Schoppe ’16, ’18 took to get into the business of sports
STEP ONE: Tell the world what you want to do.
Stephanie Schoppe ’16, ’18 played sports growing up. By the end of her sophomore year at the University of Redlands, she knew she wanted a career in the business of athletics. Since the University didn’t have a sports management major, she considered transferring. “But Rachel Roche [’96, ’02] caught word of that, saw great potential for me in the sports field, and wanted me to stay at Redlands,” says Schoppe of U of R’s sports information director. Roche suggested Schoppe consider creating a major at the Johnston Center for Integrative Studies.
STEP TWO: Figure out what your field needs, and try to fill that gap.
As a Johnston student, Schoppe explored business, physical education, and gender studies. “Gender studies [are important]because the sports world is still heavily male-dominated, and I wanted to learn how women broke into the workforce and how I can be successful in my chosen field.”
“[The Johnston professors] were really excited for me to join the program because they had never had a student choose the sports business route before, and I could pave the way,” she says.
STEP THREE: Make the most of your opportunities.
Before graduating from Johnston, Schoppe was asked to be the sports information graduate assistant for the University. This enabled her to not only gain two years of full-time work experience, but also earn a master’s degree in management in the School of Business at no cost. “The master’s program taught me how to better interact with my 18- to 22-year-old student workers, impatient coaches and officials, and even my friends,” says Schoppe. “I’ve become a better manager of people.”
STEP FOUR: Work hard.
The duties within the University’s sports information office exposed Schoppe to just about every aspect of preparing for athletic contests. “People often don’t think about how much work goes into game day—creating game notes, rosters, and bios; scheduling game-management workers; setting up scorers’ tables, computers, and streaming equipment; and then actually working the game,” she says. “At the end of the day, I’d be in the office for a couple of hours sending the stats out, creating graphics, and writing the recaps.”
STEP FIVE: Enjoy the rewards.
Schoppe interned with the Inland Empire 66ers minor league baseball team as a student, and today she’s working part-time with the San Jose Giants minor league baseball organization. Her duties involve working in the marketing office, customer service, and the press box as official scorekeeper. Ultimately, she would like to work with a professional sports team or in collegiate athletic communications.
People come to sporting events to have fun and be passionate about teams they love, she says: “There is a sense of camaraderie that you can’t get many other places. People go to escape work, so I am grateful I can call it work!”