I thought it might be fun to start a new feature each Friday where I ask a student, alumni, friend, or faculty member associated with the KU Sport Management Professional Society five questions related to their profession or a timely topic. Our first participant is Justin Bauman, a 2004 and 2006 graduate of the Sport Management program. Justin currently serves as the Director of Operations for the the Wake Forest Men’s Basketball team and head coach Danny Manning. I caught up with Justin just after their 2017 season concluded.
Check back every Friday for a new feature!
1. Coach Danny Manning has filled the men’s basketball coaching staff at Wake Forest with former Jayhawks. What about the coaching profession lends itself to long-lasting relationships where staff’s may stay together for decades?
Coaching much like athletics is all about networking and relationships. When I was in 7th grade I started attending the KU Basketball Camps with Roy Williams. I attended those camps each summer till I was a senior in high school. I was a very average basketball player. Each year I came back to KU camp, my mother always told me to meet someone new on the basketball staff and capture their “mind space.” By capturing “mind space” she was telling me to make a great first impression, volunteer for things, put myself out there so they are familiar with me, and do not be shy.
Assistant coach Ben Miller became familiar with me. At the end of my senior year of high school when I was at camp. He sat me down and asked what I wanted to do for a career. I told him I wanted to coach basketball at the college level. At that time I was offered and accepted a scholarship to play at Lincoln College in Lincoln, IL (45 min from my hometown) by head coach BJ McCullum. Coach Miller wished me luck and advised me to stay in touch because he knew I eventually wanted to transfer to Kansas and hopefully work in athletics. After my freshman year at Lincoln College, I transferred to Kansas. I notified Coach Miller I was transferring. I told him I wanted to work with the basketball team. He encouraged me to attend walk on tryouts for the team before I did anything. I did that. I went thru 4 rounds of cuts. I made it to the final cut of 8 players and then was cut on the last day. After that I spoke with Coach Miller again about working with the basketball program. He informed me they did not have any positions at that time. I told him I would volunteer, do anything. After the first couple months of going to school as a student, no job in athletics, Coach Miller called me to film practices. I did that my entire sophomore year. I firmly believe the reason this opportunity came to pass was because I would go to practice daily and sit in the stands and just watch. I tried to take up as much of the staff’s “mind space” as I could by them just seeing me.
At the same time I worked in the KUStore.com for Stephanie Temple. The first and original online apparel store for KU Athletics. Stephanie was a great boss. She taught me the importance of relationships within athletics. At the end of my sophomore year I was asked by Kansas Basketball to be a student manager. I was then on the support staff for the rest of my undergrad degree and my Master’s degree being elevated to head manager. During this time I met so many people that have helped me with my career. The networking was endless. This is where I met Danny Manning. He was player at the time for the Dallas Mavericks. He would come to practice. I would offer to rebound for him and assist him with anything he needed. Every year he came back we would connect. My experiences and relationships I built at Kansas landed me my first job right out of college. The day I graduated I was hired by Rex Walters at Florida Atlantic University to be the Director of Basketball Operations. Rex was another former KU player I connected with. He actually coached me at summer camps while at KU. After spending two seasons at Florida Atlantic, Rex Walters was hired by the University of San Francisco. I was asked by Rex to follow him to San Francisco. I spent two seasons as the Director of Operations and in 2010 was elevated to an Assistant Coach with Rex. In 2012, Danny Manning took his first head coaching job at Tulsa. He called me to be his Director of Basketball Operations. It was a difficult decision because Rex Walters was the first one to believe in me, gave me my shot, I was with him for 6+ years. My experiences with KU, FAU, USF and Tulsa have been an invaluable source of knowledge and have prepared me to handle any type of situation that arises. It takes hard work, organization, clear communication and attention to details and deadlines to make sure an organization, program or institution operate in the upper echelon of collegiate athletics. I learned all of this through my relationships and network I built at Kansas starting with my advisors Dr. James LaPoint and Dr. Bob Frederick.
2. Much is made about the “millennial” generation of student and student-athletes. As someone who has been coaching since 2000, how much and how has your approach to working with players changed over 17 years?
I wrote this just a little while ago. I study this heavily since I deal with this generation of student athletes daily.
Communication preferences: Defining Generations I have been studying communication patterns. I wanted to share interesting facts as I believe they are important in getting the most out of today’s youth. At the end of the day each person communicates differently. What you do for one person might not work for another. The quicker you can identify how that person wishes to communicate effectively, the better off you are going to be. Here is some interesting information to think about.
Communication preferences: Defining Generations Generation — Age — Communication Preference
Traditionalist — 60 (born before 1946) — Let’s have a conversation
Boomer — 50 (born between 1946 and 1964) — Call my cell
X-er — 35 (born between 1965 and 1980) — Send me an email
Y’er/Millenial — 20 (born between 1981 and 2000) — Text me — They like instant communication, do need read mail, email, fax, etc.
• 43 — Number of times millennials check their phone per day. If they are awake 16 hours that is a little less then every 20 min.
• 77% of high school and college students check their phone first thing in the morning.
• 92% of high school and college students use their phones during downtime.
The key is for each party to be clear on what the other wants. A good communicator in any organization identifies this in the initial conversation with the potential player, employee, etc. With the continuing demographic shift, leaders who learn to bridge the gap between Traditionalists, Boomers, GenX and Millennials, who are mindful of their different communication styles and preferences, who are responsive and choose an appropriate method of communication technology, and who are able to find ways to communicate clearly will be the most successful.
In Jennifer J. Deal’s book, Retiring the Generation Gap: How Employees Young and Old Can Find Common Ground. She found that all generations are similar in the following areas:
1. Structure — the values that matter most, i.e. family, integrity, honesty, trustworthiness.
2. Wanting Respect — even with slightly different definitions, we all still want to be heard and valued for our contribution.
3. Trustworthy Leaders — without trust, relationships falter, communication stops, and productivity is lost. Y’er/Millenials want to feel loved/safe.
4. Nobody Likes Change — the stereotype says that Millennials love change, her research showed the opposite, no one generation is more or less comfortable than the others.
5. Loyalty — not a function of age, but a function of position in the organization, the higher position you have the more time you work.
6. We All Want to Learn — people want to do a good job and are willing to acquire new skills to do so.
7. Everyone Likes Feedback — people want to know how they are doing comparatively on their performance.
Communicating to the Y’er/Millenial: They are always wondering about what is next. They have a tendency to be more goal oriented, and feel comfortable with multitasking, so create participative conversations (to engage them) by asking questions until they bite on certain items. Understanding trends in today’s society is important… Music, video games, etc… We all know they like to communicate electronically, so send SMS messages, e-mails, and social media messages. SMS messages and social media messages leading the way, they are less likely to open hard mail or check a voice mail to return a call. Think about it they rarely leave voice mails when they do return a call or make a call. They value feedback continually about what your corporation/program likes about them or is looking for in them. Quality feedback of their strengths and weaknesses are important to them as well (hence them being goal oriented, wanting to get better).
Sources Jennifer J. Deal, Author, Research Scientist
Jared Kleinert, Author, 2 Billion Under 20: How Millennials Are Breaking Down Age Barriers and Changing the World
Forbes Magazine, The Generation Gap
Tennessee Bar Association
I would say communication has been the biggest item I have seen change. It amazes me daily how this area continues to decline for not only kids but adults. I just read this from Frank Martin (Head Coach at South Carolina). “You know what makes me sick to my stomach? When I hear grown people say that kids have changed. Kids have not changed. Kids do not know anything about anything. We have changed as adults. We demand less of kids. We expect less of kids. We make their lives easier instead of preparing them for what life is truly above. We are the ones the have changed.” Frank Martin. I believe this is so true. Texting, social media (in-direct communication) leaves too much to assume on the person being communicated with. Because of this I believe accountability, reliability, timeliness and attention to detail all suffer. Kids are much more visual today. So, over the years as much as I have tried to improve with my words I have had to improve with visual teaching, explanations, examples, etc.
3. March Madness is a spectacle like none other. Yet, fans know little about the mechanics needed to execute an event in such a short time frame. Describe your days during the time period when Wake Forest was selected for the First Four on Sunday, March 12th and had to play in Dayton, Ohio on Tuesday, March 14th.
6 PM — NCAA selection show
6:25 PM — Wake Forest chosen
6:26 PM — I met with our media relations staff on how we were going to reach the public with the excitement as well as details of playing in Dayton
6:28 PM — I met with Coach Manning to get his practice plan and ideas surrounding game preparation.
6:30 PM — I met with our senior athletics staff to explain our travel plans, practice plans and thoughts surrounding Dayton as well as advancing in the tournament. (That was the hardest part — I was essentially putting together 3 trips. One to Dayton, One to Sacramento if we won, One to return to Winston Salem if we lost. I finished this executive staff meeting around 9 PM.
9 PM — I called Coach Manning to tell him how much practice time he had, where our practice locations where, where we were going to do scouting reports, eat meals, lay our heads for rest as well as all the fine details surrounding the NCAA tournament with media and the public.
9:30 PM — I return to my desk and start filling out NCAA paperwork for both rounds. I prepare our airline manifests. I line up the ground transportation in Winston Salem to get us to the airport, pick us up in Dayton, take us to practice and the game in Dayton, pick us up in Sacramento or back in Winston. I prepare all our hotel menus for all our meals and submit them to the hotel and set our meal/meeting times. I emailed all staff and travel party so they have the details. I email all the players the plans for the next 4 days so they are comfortable and can concentrate on trying to win games. Lastly, I prepare my basketball scouting items. I prepare statistical scouting reports for our staff on all our opponents. I finished those along with Coach Manning’s play cards for the bench.
5:30 AM — Monday morning — I drive home pack my bags, pick up my wife Stacy, 3-year-old daughter Tatum and then leave for the airport around 8:30 AM.
9:30 AM — Wheels up to Dayton
11 AM — Land Dayton
12 PM — Check in hotel
12:30 PM — Lunch and team meeting
2 PM — Depart for open/public practice
3 PM — Open/public practice
4:30 PM — Return to hotel
6 PM — Dinner and team meeting/film
9 PM — Scouting report/team meeting
11 PM — Return to my hotel room and catch up on emails that I have not been able to get to since the selection show.
3 AM — Go to bed
7 AM — Wake up
8 AM — Team breakfast and meeting
10:30 AM — Depart for shoot around and final team practice
12 PM — Lunch and team meeting
1 PM — Return cell phone and office voice messages (I have a personal rule — all emails, voice mails must have a response within 24hrs)
4 PM — Film/Scouting report
5 PM — Pregame meal
7:15 PM — Depart for game
9 PM — vs. Kansas State
12:15 AM — Return to hotel, cancel all items for Sacramento since we lost, confirm all items back in Winston for our arrival home
3:30 AM — Go to bed
7 AM — Awake call airline, buses, etc. to make sure they are ready for us.
7:30 AM — Breakfast with team
8:30 AM — Depart for airport
9 AM — Flight to Winston Salem
10:30 AM — Land/Arrive home
4. In what ways has new media impacted the way you both recruit and evaluate student-athletes and promote yourself and program?
It allows to really sell our product and brand at the click of a button for recruiting not only student athletes but fans. This is the great part of “new media”. We can search and get a snap shot of a prospect to see their game, maybe an interview to see their people skills, etc. The tough part is everyone is using twitter, Instagram, personnel coach websites (www.coachdmanning.com), Facebook to connect, sell, promote. You have to come up with creative ideas to try and capture the attention of your audience. Creativity with video, Photoshop, etc. is evolving at rapid rate. So it is much more than just using new media. You have to be creative in how, when, where you use it to gain the most benefit.
5. Describe the favorite parts of your job and give some specific examples if possible. I am very fortunate to work for someone that trusts me/believes in me to do my job and run the program.
This is always the most difficult question for me to answer because I deal with so many different areas on a daily basis. I truly do enjoy all parts of my job. There are not any items that annoy me, I do not like, wish I did not have to do, etc. I am very lucky. This job really does not feel like a job to me. I enjoy the interaction with athletic department personnel, fans, media, parents, campus representatives, etc. If I had to choose one of my favorite parts is planning for senior day. This is because I know how special it is to a player and their parents. This is the final time a player will step on their home court. The final time, they will “likely” be in the spotlight. The player and parents have accomplished something great over 4 years. It is great to see the happiness on the parents and players faces during this moment. Both parties sacrificed so much over their lives to get to that moment of accomplishment (4 years of a player career and usually a 4 year college degree).