Check out installment #8 of MOAM's blog series featuring former student managers now achieving success in their professional careers.
Professional: Scott Carr
Current Title: Senior Associate AD Auburn University
Student Manager Experience: University of Florida
Career Notes: Scott Carr exemplifies a former student manager who was on a mission. Carr attended the University of Florida where he was involved with the baseball, track, and football teams. He graduated in 1995 with a degree in business management. After graduating he became a graduate assistant Equipment Manager from 1995-1997 and received a master’s degree in Sports Management. After his tenure in Gainesville, Carr served in various capacities with the FedEx Orange Bowl from 1997-2001. Carr was then hired by the University of Southern Mississippi where he served for eight years in various capacities as the Associate Director of Athletics, External Affairs (2003-2006); Assistant Director of Athletics for External Affairs (2002); Assistant Director of Athletics, and Facilities and Event Management (2001-2002). In his most recent role with the Golden Eagles, Carr oversaw the external affairs of the athletics department as well as serving as the sports administrator for baseball. He had direct supervision of the marketing and promotions department, ticket operations, media relations, broadcasting, community relations, and the athletic department’s licensing program. During Carr’s tenure, the athletic department underwent over $55 million in facility construction projects including a $32 million south end zone expansion that included the addition of suites and club level seating. Carr is currently serving as Auburn University’s Senior Associate AD and oversees external affairs. He has direct supervision of the marketing and promotions department, including ticket sales, ticket office, event management and community relations. He is responsible for the game day experience at all sporting events and oversees all athletic department contracts including but not limited to ISP, Under Armour, and Sodexho. Carr is married to the former Pam Snowe. The couple has two daughters, Ashton and Katie.
Scott was kind enough to sit down with Managers On A Mission and provide some amazing insight on how he got started as a manager and his advice for current student managers:
1. How did you get your start as a student manager, or what made you want to get involved as a student manager?
For undergraduate, I worked with baseball and track & field for 5 years, and for 2 years as a GA with Football. My older brother started as an Equipment Manager at Florida before I did so it was a natural fit for me to seek this opportunity through my brother’s connection because it provided a partial scholarship. I basically already knew as a senior in High School that I would be going to the University of Florida as an Equipment Manager. I can honestly say it wasn't 100% what I wanted to do from a career standpoint, but I definitely had a heavy lean towards working in college sports just having grown up in it. I still didn't know what component of sports I wanted to work in though, if I did go in to sports. Probably by the time I was at least half way through my sophomore year I knew I wanted to work in college sports.
2. How did this experience help you to get to where you are at today? What is the biggest takeaway (skill, life lesson, etc) from your student manager career that remains with you to this day?
Number one is work ethic. Having been a student equipment manager, I now know when I meet student managers or trainers, I’m 99% sure that person has a great work ethic. Of course there are always the outliers. But here you are as a college student, and you’re giving up spring break, at least part of Christmas break, and making a big commitment to working early mornings, and late nights. It’s teaching you to make those sacrifices at a younger age than most people do. Time management is definitely the second biggest skill I gained.
3. Who have been key influences in your career to help you achieve your goals?
Definitely starts with my dad (Bill Carr – Former University of Florida AD). Obviously growing up the son of an Athletic Director, he had a tremendous influence on me. Eric Poms, CEO of the Orange Bowl, (former University of Florida Basketball Student Manager) who I worked under for 4 years after graduating from Florida. Richard Gianini the former AD at Southern Miss who was also an Associate AD at Florida while my dad worked there was a great mentor for me, and of course Jay (Auburn AD). All of my supervisors have had a very strong influence on me, have treated me well, and mentored me during my time with them. I’m sure by just giving you a list of those four, I’m missing 400, but those are certainly the ones that come to mind right away for me.
4. What advice would you give to current/future student managers who want to have a career in the sports industry?
I would tell them to build relationships with people in athletic administration. Certainly the relationships need to be built with their coworkers, and the student athletes and with the coaches of their respective sports, but I encourage them to build relationships with the person running event management, and the marketing people, etc. Building these relationships, and gaining their trust can lead to a GA position or internships when your time as a manager comes to an end. These individuals can help bridge the gap even if you’re looking for opportunities outside of sports. I would also recommend something that I failed to do. I sort of approached being an equipment manager as ‘this is a way for me to pay for school.’ I enjoyed it and had a wonderful experience, but I wasn't approaching it as ‘I’m building my career.’ I’d encourage student managers to have fun, but approach it in a way of ‘what can I do today to prepare me for my future?’ Meaning if you have an opportunity to travel to a tournament, attend a player reception, or other special events.. Do so. Pay attention to what is all happening. How do they handle certain things? This really became clear for me after I started working for the Orange Bowl. I learned that even as an intern, they were really relying on me for information. They knew I had been the Equipment Manager Graduate Assistant for football for 2 years, and that both of those years Florida went to the National Championship. They wanted to pick my brain. What did they do at the Sugar Bowl that you really liked? How did they handle this at the Fiesta Bowl? Questions like that. This allowed the light bulb to go off for me that I had a lot of valuable information, simply from doing my job as a manager. This could have been even more information if I would have approached my time as a manager with more of a ‘what can I learn’ opportunity versus ‘do I really have to go to that meeting, or attend that event?’ At Southern Miss they really relied on me pretty heavily for this information when all of a sudden it came to football bowl trips, or when Southern Miss first became interested in hosting a baseball regional. It was very enlightening to realize how much I learned, even though I wasn't necessarily trying to learn it. If you’re interested in working a career in sports, make the most of this time as a student manager. Volunteer to go on road trips, see if there is a way for you to go on special trips, even if means you have to ride in the Equipment Truck. If you really want to be in this business, soak up as much as you can. Be a sponge. If there is an opportunity, do not let it pass you by.
5. You've certainly had a very successful climb throughout your career. Your dad was hired as the AD at Florida as the youngest ever AD, after starting out as a GA there. What advice do you have for GA’s and Interns that maybe don’t realize how close they are to being in a leadership position they one day dream of landing?
The advice I would give is focus on you, and your organization. If you’re a person of integrity, have a strong work ethic, and you treat people the right way, you will advance. Of course you still have to know what you’re doing, but these are all things that you can, and will learn. You can’t teach somebody integrity. They either have it, or they don’t. It’s very difficult to teach someone that is 25, 30 years old to have a good work ethic. People often either treat others properly, or they don’t, by this age. So if you have these proper ingredients, success is going to come. I think there are too many people that focus on success, and advancement. My mentality is that when the time is right, and the Lord will let me know when, I will be an AD. Do not get ahead of yourself, and start chasing that timeline. My goal is to one day be in charge of an organization (an AD, Director of a Bowl Committee, Conference Commissioner, etc), and hopefully make it better. This is a humble dream, and humble goal, but it is one of those things where I must be willing to accept that I can’t fully control when that time comes, or if it ever will come. It’s about me as a follower of Christ first, husband and father second, work third. If you’re doing the right things, you will move up in an organization. There may be people that will move up faster than you doing the wrong things, but they will also fall much faster than you as well. Whether it is in 2 years, or 30 years, it will catch up to them. It sounds so cliché, but the most important thing is that if you do the right things, you will be successful. Of course this will still require you to network and seek professional development, but it all starts with being a person of integrity. The great news is that if someone is truly a believer in Christ and bearing fruit... the integrity, the work ethic, and treating people properly should all come. Of course, we are still all human, and must remember that Jesus defines success differently than we do. I want people that know what they are doing, but for me it all starts with whether or not they are a person I can trust, and will treat people the right way.
To God Be The Glory!