Sport Managers of the Future: Meet the Incoming Spring 2018 Sport Management Class at KU

By Dominique Kropp- KU Sport Management Doctoral Student

For our third sport management feature, we are focusing on the newest KU Sport Management Jayhawks. Last week, our program welcomed its largest and most diverse class of majors ever for the Spring 2018 semester, including 60 students from four countries and twelve different states! While we would love to feature each of our new majors, we have selected five students to profile.

New Sport Management Majors at KU

Matt Shirhall — Roseville, California

Matt Shirhall is a sophomore from Roseville, California, who decided to come to KU after visiting the campus and falling in love with the atmosphere at KU. In choosing KU over San Diego State University, Matt was able to witness two incredible sports victories, which up until now, he considers his best experiences at KU. The first exciting event was a football victory over Texas last year and the second Matt highlighted was the comeback by the men’s basketball team to defeat West Virginia.

Matthew Shirhall, KU Sport Management Major

Matt is not only a spectator of sport. He has been quite active in sports throughout his entire life. “I’ve pretty much played everything, I’m especially fond of soccer and even delved into rugby for a couple seasons. On the side, I love to wakeboard and ski. ​Recently, I joined the Jiu-Jitsu club here at KU which has been an awesome experience it’s a great group of guys and I hope to keep progressing in it.” In summarizing his experiences specific to the Sport Management program at KU, Matt expressed his enjoyment of the HSES 289 — Introduction to Sport Management class offered by Dr. Bass, in which he was able to learn from many guest speakers. He explained, “I love that Dr. Bass invests himself in the program and that he takes the time to set up all these networking opportunities for students. Specifically, we had a project in (HSES) 289 where we got to interview KU alums and I got to speak on the phone with Jim Small, the Vice President of Major League Baseball Asia Pacific and that was an awesome experience.”

“I love that Dr. Bass invests himself in the program and that he takes the time to set up all these networking opportunities for students.”- Matthew Shirhall
Jirick Hunter, KU Sport Management Major

Jirick Hunter

Jirick Hunter is a sophomore from New Orleans, Louisiana. Jirick is a member of the KU Football Video staff, which he considers to be one of his best experiences at KU. He credits choosing KU because of the excellent assistance from the Financial Aid program in comparison with other colleges where he applied. With a dream job to become the General Manager for the New Orleans Saints, Jirick realizes that valuable experiences are important in achieving dream goals. He also hopes to be a marketing director for an NCAA football or NFL team someday. When asked about joining the Sport Management program at KU, Jirick discussed the program’s benefits: “I feel like KU Sport Management program is amazing, because there are professors within that are really helpful and easy to talk to. Also, KU has one of the top athletic departments in the country helping build credibility in the program.”

Qiongyu Shang

Qiongyu Shang is a sophomore from Karamy, China. In middle school and high school, Qiongyu played basketball for both a city and school team. Because of her interest in basketball, she has become an avid fan of the Golden State Warriors. Ultimately, Qiongyu would like to set up a basketball club in China. She realizes the significance of basketball in China, and sees a developing market for the sport. When asked about the curriculum in the KU Sport Management program, Qiongyu explained, “Learning sport marketing knowledge, getting more experiences about how to manage a sport company, and learning how to develop relationships in the sports market have been important to reaching my future goals.”

Qiongyu Shang- KU Sport Management Major

Kylee Kopatich

Kylee Kopatich- KU Sport Management Major

Kylee Kopatich is a junior from Olathe, Kansas, and a member of the women’s basketball team at KU. One reason Kylee came to KU is because it is close to home, so family members and friends can attend her basketball games. In the future, Kylee would like to work in community relations or sports marketing for a baseball team. As a member of the basketball team, Kylee has been able to participate in many unique and popular events, particularly Late Night in the Phog, which she has taken part in for the last three years. When asked about the benefits of the KU Sport Management program, Kylee stated, “The connections I have gained so far, I think is the best part about the Sport Management program. As teachers continue to bring in speakers and providing information for references, I gain more connections.”

Sami Laner- KU Sport Management Major

Sami Laner

Sami Laner is a sophomore from Dallas, Texas. When asked about choosing KU, Sami explained, “I have always loved the Midwest and the welcoming people and community of Lawrence. KU has contagious school spirit and is welcoming and full of opportunities. I felt at home the first time I visited.” Sami enjoys the competitive nature of sports, and focused on basketball, volleyball, and golf in high school. She explained that she will be a “forever fan” of the Dallas Mavericks, but also enjoys cheering on the Royals, Chiefs, and Jayhawks. She is keeping an open mind regarding a future career in the sports industry, but would love to work with an NBA team or the Special Olympics. In regard to the KU Sport Management program at KU, Sami stated, “The best part of the KU Sport Management program is that the professors, advisors, and other students are open and willing to help each other, whether it be networking, wanting to learn more about an opportunity or career in the industry, or simply being there for support.” She also explained that her favorite class at KU has been HSES 289 — Introduction to Sport Management. “I truly liked to learn about the sports world and I didn’t realize that I could make a career out of it. I loved being able to talk about current events in relation to athletics and hear from KU alumni about their paths and success stories.”

“The best part of the KU Sport Management program is that the professors, advisors, and other students are open and willing to help each other, whether it be networking, wanting to learn more about an opportunity or career in the industry, or simply being there for support.”- Sami Laner

We are excited to have such a great (and large) group of incoming Sport Management majors at KU. It is our hope that the classes and experiences provided in the program help students reach their ultimate career goals in the field of Sport Management.