14 questions with Drew Runkel, sport management major
Drew Runkel, a current senior at the University of Kansas, is preparing for his dream career as a sport management major in the School of Education and Human Sciences.
From a young age, Runkel had a unique passion for all things sport — whether it be participating in, watching, or learning about them. He soon realized that a sport management track at KU would be the ideal fit for his interests.
Now, with several internships under his belt, Drew is pursuing his goal of building a life and career in the sports industry. As he gets ready to enter the post-grad job market, Runkel shares how KU and SOEHS have shaped his collegiate and professional experiences.
How did you decide your major & program were right for you?
Going into college I had no idea what I wanted to study, I always had a passion for sports and sport management was a great program to express that into work,
What do you think is most valuable about being a student in the School of Education & Human Sciences?
Being a student in the SOEHS allows me to have a wide variety of resources I can use to become the best student I can be.
“Being a student in the SOEHS allows me to have a wide variety of resources I can use to become the best student I can be.”
I have developed great connecting skills by being able to communicate with students and professors and network with them.
What are you passionate about?
Obviously, I am passionate about sports, but working in sports I love to feel that I have an impact on a team/program’s success and being a vital part why they are successful. Sport management allows me to express my passion whether that comes to schoolwork or being able to volunteer/work events associated with HSES in the community.
What advice would you give to new Jayhawks?
The first piece of advice I would give to new Jayhawks is to connect with your professors. They are some of the coolest people and can help connect you with some pretty amazing people. I would also suggest trying to stay as active as possible and not spend too much time in your dorm room. Whether that is going to play basketball at the rec or just hanging out in common spaces to meet new people.
“The first piece of advice I would give to new Jayhawks is to connect with your professors.”
Give a shout-out to a KU mentor who’s made a difference in your life.
Kirby Boehm and Howard Graham have both done wonders for me. Howard was my first professor at KU when I took sport, university, and you my freshman year. He does an amazing job at connecting with students and getting them to tap in with the whole college experience. Kirby Boehm is a professor who cares about the classes he teaches and constantly asks me what I can do to help improve the class from a student perspective. These two professors are two big reasons why I love the sport management program.
Are you involved with any KU student groups or professional organizations?
I am the president of the sport management club and currently am a student supervisor for KU facilities and events in the athletic department.
Have you completed any internships, study abroad trips, or other learning experiences you’d like to tell us about?
I have completed an internship with Bullpen Tournaments and the Indianapolis Colts. Bullpen Tournaments was an operations internship at Grand Park Sports Campus in Westfield, Indiana. I was part of a team that ran tournament operations for 26 baseball/softball diamonds. This required 60+ hour weeks of grueling work and dealing with frustrated parents and coaches and scheduling games along with changing diamond dimensions. With the Indianapolis Colts, I interned for training camp this past summer in PR/Communications. On a day-to-day basis I worked with the players, coaches, and local/national media to communicate availability and transcribe their interviews. It was an amazing experience being able to work in a professional sport setting where you can see what all of the rotating pieces make up a NFL team. This past January, I went on the study away trip to Maui, Hawaii and volunteered for the PGA Sentry Tournament of Champions with other undergraduate/graduate students. It was an amazing experience both socially and professionally getting to meet so many people like myself (and duh Hawaii is amazing).
What do you want to do after you graduate?
My goal is work in professional sport somewhere hopefully in the field of communications/PR. The sport management program has taught me to put my head down and work to make connections all over the country and not to look at the pay of the jobs but the quality of them.
“The sport management program has taught me to put my head down and work to make connections all over the country and not to look at the pay of the jobs but the quality of them.”
Favorite KU tradition:
The hum at KU basketball games.
Favorite memory in the School of Education & Human Sciences:
The study away trip to Hawaii (I made some of my best friends on that trip).
If you could go to a KU basketball game with any Jayhawk, living or deceased, who would it be?
I would love to go to a KU basketball game with Paul Pierce and hear about his time playing at KU and all of his favorite traditions.
Best study spot on KU campus:
The DeBruce Center.
If you could eat one food on campus for the rest of your academic career, what would it be?
Easily the crunchy chicken cheddar wraps. I might need to re enroll at KU just to get on the meal plan again for those.
What is the most underrated spot in Lawrence?
Going on late night drives around Clinton Lake.