A year later, both are making waves in their new roles.
It’s no secret that sports business is one of the most competitive industries to work in. While it’s important to gain as much experience as possible and learn all that you can to get your foot in the door, it’s also equally important to keep that momentum moving in a positive direction once you land your first opportunity. When you set goals, you strive to meet them. When you meet them, it’s time to make new ones and start the never-ending process over again.
This past year, two of the many stellar individuals we spoke with were Chadwick Fischer and Austin Koon. Fischer, as you may remember, stepped away from his Director of Media and Public Relations role at the Louisville Bats to pursue a seasonal role with MLB Advanced Media in hopes of making his way to the big leagues. Koon, who built a wealth of skillsets in videography while interning at Clemson University, was a Football Videographer for Rutgers University.
In recent months, both Fischer and Koon have moved on from their previous roles and are now enjoying new positions that they obtained through continuous pursuits of development and making an impact in the industry. Fischer is now a Digital Content Coordinator for the Cincinnati Reds, and Koon is now a New and Creative Media Producer at the University of South Carolina.
We decided to catch up with them and have a little Q&A to share the new steps of their journeys, complemented with advice on how others can do the same.
• What is your current role, and what does it entail?
Fischer: I’m currently the Digital Content Coordinator for the Cincinnati Reds. Along with that, I assist in the operation of the club’s social media accounts. This includes game coverage, revenue generation, analytics, customer service and interaction with fans.
Koon: I’m a New and Creative Media Producer for the University of South Carolina. My role is to promote the brand of the Gamecocks, help create content for recruiting purposes and create basically anything related to athletics at the school. Whether it’s hype videos, highlights or anything of that nature, I’m involved with telling the story via video, graphics and photography.
• How your previous position led to your current one?
Fischer: My current boss had been looking to add a second full-time person to the social media staff and luckily I was in the right place at the right time. I left my full-time job as Director of Media and Public Relations with the Louisville Bats in order to serve as the in-game social media coordinator for the Reds during the 2016 season. However, that job was actually seasonal and employed by MLB Advanced Media. Luckily for me, the full-time spot with the Reds did become available and I was invited to join the staff.
Koon: Meaningful relationships with great people that I’ve connected with brought me here. I reached out to Justin King, (who was working for AL.com at the time), two years ago because I absolutely loved his work. We ended up getting to meet at the College Football National Championship that year. We continued to stay in touch after we met, share ideas, and build a solid relationship. When he got the new position with South Carolina, he contacted me and gave me the chance to work with him here. It was a dream come true.
• What drove you to the spot you’ve attained?
Fischer: I wanted to work full-time in Major League Baseball when I started as an intern with the Bats in 2011. I never lost sight of that goal when I was interning, when I was seasonal or when I was full-time. After three years as Director of Media and Public Relations, I took a risk leaving my full-time position believing I was approaching ‘now or never’ time. Ultimately, my gamble paid off.
Koon: This job is closer to my family and with a team that I grew up around. To be able to tell the story of a team I’ve always known and respected, all while connecting with their fans, sounded like a dream come true. I felt it was the perfect recipe for me.
• What is your advice and/or thoughts on seeking development once you get your foot in the door of sports business?
Fischer: You should always look to advance your skills while working in sports. It is such a competitive and constantly changing field. Never turn down a learning opportunity. You never know which of your skills may develop to become your best and give you the best chance at landing the job you’ve been working towards.
Koon: Push the boundaries of what you know and learned. Each job presents the opportunity to grow. Instead of tossing the formula that gets your foot in your door, expand it and try new techniques. Be observant of people you’re connected with and what their doing. Get involved in everything that you possibly can, even if it’s challenging.
• In your opinion, what is the biggest reward of development in sports?
Fischer: The reward is simple: getting where you want to be. The path may be crooked and full of tangents, but if you persevere, your hard work will result in a position you want.
Koon: To be able to look back and see how far I’ve come the past few years is easily the biggest reward. Not only am I living a dream, but I’m also learning and progressing within it. I’ll never be satisfied with where I am, but I’ll always have that excitement of developing visions and putting them into action, all while finding ways to improve. It makes every day one to look forward to.
• What advice or aspects of your journey have helped you get to this point?
Fischer: During my four years in college, I never once thought about working in sports. I majored in communication and wanted to work in a public relations firm or an advertising agency. I didn’t take one sports administration course and I didn’t once step foot in the athletics department offering to help. Although my goal of a big league position didn’t occur to me until I was a few years out of school, I was still able to meet it despite my lack of relevant experience during college. I’m not trying to discount the importance of coursework or early experience in sports. Those are very important opportunities that I wish I would’ve considered during my college years. That being said, aspiring young sports professionals should know that whatever your background is, you have as good of a chance as anyone to make your dream job in sports a reality.
Koon: I’m working in what I would consider to be my dream job, but I credit building relationships to getting me here. If I hadn’t connected with Justin a couple years ago, I would have had a lesser chance of getting this position. You have to constantly develop relationships and genuinely care for people. It’s not all about climbing a ladder. That might happen over time, but it will get lonely if that is your only goal. Don’t always look at building relationships as an equation or do it because you feel like you have to. Do it because you care, and have fun with it. Enjoy each day you get to spend with people. Working in this field is a blessing.
Fischer and Koon are becoming pillars in the sports industry and serve as proof that with the right mindset, a strong work ethic, and hunger to pursue big dreams, there’s no limit to your development.
Front Office Sports is a leading multi-platform publication and industry resource that covers the intersection of business and sports.
Want to learn more, or have a story featured about you or your organization? Contact us today.