Alum: MCLA provides real-life experience
While he initially intended to use his business degree to open a sporting goods store, Shaun Richard '03 decided to embark on a different career path after he graduated from MCLA. Since then, he's worked for the Miami Dolphins and for NFL player Jason Taylor - including during Taylor's stint on the ABC television show, "Dancing with the Stars."
Formerly the associate athletics director for Colgate University, Richard recently began a new position as the new associate athletics director for sports administration at Ohio State University, where he works directly with seven of the university's teams.
"At the end of the day, I get paid to watch sports. It does not get any better than that," Richard said. "Of course, there is a lot more that goes into what I do, but all of the tough times seem to go away when you are at an event watching the student-athletes you work with compete on the playing surface."
What set him on this career path? While earning a master's degree in athletics administration from Springfield College, Richard - who grew up in North Adams - worked in the athletics department. He also volunteered as an assistant baseball coach.
"Knowing that athletics administration was my new career path, I wanted to ... see what coaches go through on a day-to-day basis, and also work directly with student-athletes. This experience has really served me well. It allows me to interact differently with coaches I work with now since I know what they go through," Richard said.
After graduate school, Richard served a one-year internship with the Miami Dolphins before he began a full-time position with the team as an operations assistant.
"In that role, our department oversaw all home and away operations, including team travel and meals for the team," Richard said. "I oversaw the training facility and its operation, and was the direct contact for game day credentials and game day pay for staff."
He also was part of the logistics team that went over and ran the first NFL game in London, England, as well as the Dolphins' Super Bowl XLI game, and two college Orange Bowl games at the stadium.
Next, he accepted a position as operations manager at the Jason Taylor Foundation.
"During my year there, Jason was on 'Dancing with the Stars,' and our office put together fund raising and voting campaigns to help him reach the finals. He came in second place that season. Our main goal was to empower South Florida children in need by focusing on improved health care, education and quality of life. We ran multiple fund raising events and youth events," Richard explained.
However, it was the many opportunities at MCLA - where he was a two-time, all-conference honoree for the Trailblazers' baseball team, as well as its captain for two of the four years he played baseball - that made him who he is today, Richard said.
"MCLA taught me to do as much as possible and to always grow. I mastered my time management skills there, learned how to be a leader and teammate/team player, and how to educate others as part of the leadership team on the Student-Athlete Advisory Committee and an active member in Mentors in Violence Prevention," he explained.
"Having a liberal arts degree allowed me to do things outside of the classroom and people supported that. That was very important to me," Richard continued. "MCLA gave me my start in the sports industry. There are so many opportunities to get involved on campus and grow your sports background. If you are truly interested in having a career in sports, a sports management concentration [within MCLA's business administration program] is a great place to start.
"You'll get to learn about the ins and outs of sports in the classroom, but the bonus part will be your learning outside of the classroom. You will be successful in the sports industry because you learn the background and basics from books, but your real-life experience is what will get you hired. MCLA will give you the opportunity for that real life experience."