• Loading stock data...
Wednesday, July 24, 2024
Join us this September for Tuned In Request to Attend

Pound the Rock, Jonathan Rodak’s Journey through Lacrosse

By: Austin Weaver, @AustinTWeaver

Jonathan Rodak, Director of Lacrosse Operations at Notre Dame

For Jonathan Rodak, the road to the role of Director of Lacrosse Operations at Notre Dame was the product of living out a personal mantra.

“My dad always told me to keep pounding the rock. I may not break the rock on the first swing, but if you strike the rock enough times, eventually it will break. What you do every day has an effect. If you control the aspects of your day that are in your control, the rest will take care of itself.”

Like many former student-athletes, Rodak wanted to find a way to make his passion a career.

“After I graduated from Cazenovia College, I enrolled in a Master’s program at Manhattanville College and got hooked up with Trilogy Lacrosse. With Trilogy, I was doing a lot of office type work, answering phones, helping prepare for summer camps and working with the database management software. Trilogy runs camps and club teams all over the country, so I worked as the home base contact.”

Being in the right place at the right time allowed Rodak to move up within Trilogy sooner than expected.

“Right before the summer season started, the business operations guy left for a coaching job and I was promoted into that position.”

Similar to his predecessor, Rodak transitioned into a coaching position.

“I actually left Trilogy after that summer to pursue coaching, which, at the time, was something I thought I wanted to do. Trilogy actually helped me find a job coaching. I took a position with Wagner College in Staten Island, where I did a lot of work with video. I did that for a year while I continued working on my Master’s degree.”

Normally, coaching and graduate school would be more than enough to keep someone busy.

“During my year at Wagner, Trilogy called and asked me to come back part-time. I would coach in the mornings, then head over to Trilogy and help them out, this time on the sales side. I made a lot of cold calls, and learned about the business side of the industry. It was great because I was able to see the coaching side and the business side at the same time.”

After returning to Trilogy in a full-time role where he was tasked with overseeing the efforts of multiple club teams, Rodak jumped at the opportunity to join the staff at Notre Dame.

“Here at Notre Dame, I have a wide range of responsibilities, including the overall day-to-day management. I put together our travel plans and itineraries, work with opposing teams on practice times and work with our equipment staff and directly with Under Armour. I do a lot with our marketing efforts, ticket sales and our summer camps.”

With such a wide range of responsibilities, I asked Rodak what skills he thought people interested in Lacrosse Operation jobs should possess.

“In Division 1 Lacrosse, no operations job is the same. Some schools’ operations guys are more involved with breaking down film and other schools they focus on things like summer camps. I would say it is best to take a broad approach. Learn how to use the software that teams are using. Find ways to get involved with summer camps and learn how they operate and what makes some camps more successful than others. It is very important to both be yourself and also a people person. My job requires me to interact with so many different departments and people. I could be interacting with students, parents, teachers, athletics administrators, so being able to talk with others is very important. Relationships are key for me to be successful in this position.”

One of the tasks that Rodak oversees at Notre Dame is the student-managers program. He offered the following on what traits he wants to see in prospective managers.

“The biggest thing that I look for is fit. Our staff has created a culture, so I want to bring people in that fit in well. I am up front with the students I bring in for interviews and I tell them, the work itself isn’t all that challenging, but you have to be able to work on the fly. For example, if it starts raining and we have to move practice inside, I need to trust that the students I hire can handle making that transition quickly and effectively. One thing that I do is make all of the students I am considering hiring come in and work a practice. I want to see how they interact with the other managers, the coaching staff and the players. To me that is the best way to find out if they will fit in with our culture.”

While Rodak is still in the early stages of his career, I asked him what he has learned about the industry that he wished he would have known sooner.

“No one ever really gave me a good idea on how to go about building a network. Just the other day, I had a student reach out to me who goes to a school I played against when I was still in college. It was something that gave us another way of connecting. Finding people that share a commonality and a way to connect on a personal level makes building a network much easier.”

Not only is being strategic when reaching out to people in the industry a good practice, Rodak stressed the importance of working hard once you are given a chance to build relationships.

“Coming from a small school, I didn’t have a lot of connections. I looked at Trilogy as an opportunity to work with people that went to schools and played for programs that were well connected in the Lacrosse world. I went in and worked hard so that those guys would be able to say good things about me to their friends in the industry.”

“When nothing seems to help, I go back and look at a stonecutter hammering away at his rock perhaps a hundred times without as much as a crack showing in it. Yet at the hundred and first blow it will split in two, and I know it was not the blow that did it — but all that had gone before.”

— Jacob Riis

Copy Link
Link Copied
Link Copied

What to Read

2016 Baseball Winter Meetings Survival Guide

[caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”400.0"] The 2016 Baseball Winter Meetings will take place…

Learning as You Go: Andrew Heydt’s Path To Team Operations

This interview is presented to you by the University of Nebraska — Lincoln Master…

Theo’s Traits I Admire

By: Austin Weaver, @AustinTWeaver [caption id=”” align=”alignnone” width=”960.0"] Theo Epstein has broken…

Head Up Champ: Handling Rejection in the Internship Search

This article is powered by the SMU Sport Management Program. By: Austin…
podcast thumbnail mobile
Front Office Sports Today

NFL’s 18-Game Season & Contract Holdouts, Olympics’ Newest Sport


Featured Today

The FTC Noncompete Ruling Could Change MMA As We Know It

Fighters could see their options—and earnings—grow.
July 21, 2024

O No Canada: The Next Big Sports Betting Scandal Could Erupt North of the Border

‘It’s open-season for match-fixing up there.’
July 20, 2024

The Road to the Return of ‘EA Sports College Football’

This summer, the biggest development in college sports is virtual.
Apr 15, 2024; Brooklyn, NY, USA; Caitlin Clark poses with WNBA commissioner Cathy Engelbert after being selected with the number one overall pick to the Indiana Fever during the 2024 WNBA Draft at the Brooklyn Academy of Music.
July 16, 2024

Women’s Sports Merch Is a $4 Billion Market, but Supply Isn’t Meeting Demand

Retailers can’t make women’s sports apparel fast enough.

ACC Commissioner: FSU, Clemson Lawsuits ‘Incredibly Harmful’

Jim Phillips laid into FSU and Clemson during football media days.
July 18, 2024

College Football Playoff’s Next Era: Why Further Expansion Is on Hold

Twelve teams will make the playoff this season.
Jul 15, 2024; Dallas, TX, USA; LSU head coach Brian Kelly speaking at Omni Dallas Hotel.
July 18, 2024

SEC Football Coaches Say Their Rosters Will Cost $15 Million. But Will They Get It?

It remains unclear how the House settlement will be disrtibuted.

TopSpin 2K25 Brings the Legends of Tennis to Your Living Room

2K sports is reviving a classic with TopSpin 2K25.
July 10, 2024

Pac-12 Media Days Evolve Into a Cocktail Party at the Bellagio

The two-team ‘zombie conference’ is still hosting a football media day.
July 9, 2024

Big 12’s New Era Kicks Off: Expansion, Private Equity, and Global Ambitions

The new 16-team conference is holding media days in Las Vegas.
July 9, 2024

Arch Manning Will Be in EA’s ‘College Football 25’ After All

The NCAA’s most famous backup had previously opted out.
July 8, 2024

Dan Hurley Finally Has New UConn Deal After Dramatic Offseason

Hurley is now the second-highest-paid coach in college basketball.