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Designed for Action: Sport Management Major Completes Senior Capstone Project at Spooky Nook Sports

September 08, 2023
Austin Brown at a table in the gymnasium.

At York College, students aren’t just reading textbooks and listening to lectures. They’re working on community projects, solving real-world problems, and using their education to effect change. In Designed for Action, we meet the students who are making an impact outside of the classroom.

Sport Management majors are no strangers to York College’s emphasis on hands-on opportunities and experiential learning.

Recent graduate of the program Austin Brown ’23, (Hanover, PA) spent the summer putting that principle into practice. Brown completed a 450+-hour internship at Spooky Nook Sports in Manheim, PA. He worked as an Operations Intern and completed many and various tasks to help keep the sports facility functioning smoothly. The experience, he says, helped him put his education into perspective.

The internship

Sport Management majors are required to work 450 to 500 hours to fulfill their internship requirement, which is why Brow completed his internship at Spooky Nook over the summer. As an Operations Intern, he was responsible for a number of tasks that helped keep the activities in the complex running.

“The responsibilities varied on a day-to-day basis. We had different tasks every single day,” he explains. “These included setting scoreboards and fixing them, fixing basketball nets/rims, setting up rooms for our events, setting up outdoor events, retaping basketball courts, cleaning rooms, and helping out with parking on weekends.”

His favorite part of the internship, he says, was getting involved with the behind-the-scenes work that’s required for running such a large sports facility—the largest indoor sports complex in the United States at 700,000 square feet, according to its website.

“I got to sit in forecast meetings and hear about BEO [Banquet Event Order] meetings where they go over the upcoming schedule and plans to tackle the objectives. It’s eye-opening to see how much work and preparation goes into just a week of activities at Spooky Nook,” he says.

Additionally, Brown appreciated the chance to learn from management.

“I greatly appreciated the guidance from the leaders at Spooky Nook. They took me in and showed me so much about the operational side of sports,” he adds. “They had a huge facility that can be overwhelming, but with their guidance and knowledge it made it easy to adjust. I learned how to get tasks done quickly and efficiently by working in a team environment and understanding everyone's skills and personalities on the team.”

Education equals foundation

Brown credits much of his successful experience with his internship to his Sport Management education from York College. His practicum experience was particularly useful, he says.

“YCP has a great Sport Management program, and the biggest part of the program that has stuck with me is the practicum experience. We would have to help with different sporting events in the Grumbacher, setting them up and tearing them down, but also on the turf outside, for both the Men and Women’s Basketball and Volleyball teams. This translated into my internship where I did the same thing, but for a huge sports complex,” he explains. “The hands-on experience that I got from practicum helped me adjust and adapt on the fly for my internship. We had days where we got a bunch of calls regarding some issues in the facility, and that’s something that can’t be planned for. The same thing would happen in practicum, and we had to adjust.”

Additionally, Brown’s training in facility management and risk assessment and management were applicable to his internship, as there were certain instances when his manager would talk about conducting a risk management assessment on the facility, he says.

“It was neat to hear him talk about conducting the assessment, because I remember learning about risk management in class,” he adds.

Brown is hoping to get a job in sport or business analytics after graduation, or even in sport marketing, he says. But the field of sport analytics, such as analytical work for a professional sports team, is where he really wants to be.

“Analytics is something that really interests me, and I would love to work in that area of sport. Even business analytics would be awesome as a starting point, but one day I want to do analytics in the sports world. Sport marketing is another interest of mine, so if I could find a job that does a combination of both, that would be incredible,” he says. “It would be awesome to one day work for a professional team once I gain more experience. Sports has always been my passion, and it’s where I always saw myself fitting in. That would be a dream come true.”