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UT Students Take to the Field with NFL

Published: August 20, 2009
University of Tampa student Alex Miles never thought he’d be eating dinner, playing ping pong and joking around with Tampa Bay Buccaneer football players and hopefuls this summer.

As an intern at the summer training camp in Tampa, Miles does just that.

“They are all really entertaining,” Miles '10, said. “Defensive end Jimmy Wilkerson is probably one of the funniest.”

He said quarterback Josh Freeman jokes with him because he thinks Miles looks like Blake Griffin, who plays basketball for the University of Oklahoma. The camaraderie is great, Miles said, and the experience he is getting is even better.

“It’s really exciting to wake up every day and work here, to be around the coaches, the marketing department, and scouting. It’s been such a rush,” said Miles, a senior in sport management. “This has been three weeks of really great opportunities.”

Miles stays at the nearby hotel with the players, starting his days at 5:30 a.m., shuttling players to and from the practice field. He, along with a group of about 20 interns, helps make sure the days goes smoothly logistically. He assists with autograph sessions, charts plays for coaches, processes the credentials for media and celebrities and sits in on the video editing of play review tapes.

“I’ve been able to talk to everyone from the receptionist to the general manager and vice president,” Miles said. “You get an appreciation for hard work.”

He’s been offered a personal assistant job and asked to help out with game day in the fall. Most days, he can’t believe he was lucky enough to get the internship. Miles gives credit to University of Tampa professor Ross Bartow, who he said hosted Miray Holmes, the Buccaneer’s director of community relations, at UT as a guest speaker.

“I definitely believe UT is the best in the country for not only teaching but for the hands-on learning experiences you can get,” said Miles, who has worked with the Tampa Bay Lightning in their guest services department, volunteered with the Clearwater Ironman race and co-founded the Sports and Entertainment Management Society, which provides volunteer opportunities in members’ career fields. He also volunteered in January for the NFL Experience during Super Bowl XLIII.

Senior Meghan Lally, who landed a summer internship with the New York Jets, found her internship like Miles by seeking it out directly through the team.

Lally’s responsibilities were with the Jets’ events staff, coordinating Jet Fest, organizing practices and doing logistical work. The 10-hour days are worth it to see a successful event, she said.

“It’s an experience I can build on and will help my resume,” said Lally '10, a sport management major who hopes to land a job with the National Football League when she graduates in the spring.

Both Miles and Lally completed internships as a requirement of their degree program. Bartow said they try to host monthly discussions with professionals to give students a real-life look at the industry as well as encourage students to seize volunteer opportunities. He was impressed with Lally and Miles’ proactive desire to seek out internships specific to their interests.

“Everything we do prepares students for the day they apply for a job,” Bartow said. “It’s a tough business to get into and if they have a chance to show a potential employer what they can do as well as well as themselves, it’s a really positive thing.”

For more information on UT's sport management program,  click here.