The Path to Becoming an Athletic Director - Work in Sports Podcast e035

By Brian Clapp | January 08, 2018

How Have 125 Division 1 FBS Athletic Director's Become Athletic Directors? Jeremy O'Brien Joins the Show to Share his Research

Hi Everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Director of Content for and this is the Work in Sports podcast.becoming an athletic director

We’re taking a slightly different approach to this QA session – earlier this year I had it in my head that it would be cool to track the career paths of 10 different general managers in the NFL, MLB and NBA. I charted where they went to school, their first job, how they progressed and tried to draw some patterns and conclusions.

It was a fun project and one that was well received on our site.

Well, a week or two ago I was doing some research for my podcast interview with Shaun Richard, Associate Athletic Director at Ohio State and I stumbled upon Jeremy O’Brien’s research that blew mine away.

Jeremy is a senior at Miami, Ohio University the alma mater of two of my good fiends from the sports broadcasting world Chris Rose from NFL Network and Mike Shiffman at ESPN…but I digress.

Jeremy decided to research the careers of all 125 div 1 athletic directors and look for patterns and themes that would emerge. It blew me away, so I invited Jeremy on to share some his findings about becoming an Athletic Director at major colleges.

Jeremy welcome in!becoming an athletic director

1: We’ll dig into some of the granular results of your research, but first off were there any major themes or patterns that emerged as you went through this process – what was your big over-arching takeaway?

2: Let’s get into schooling – How important was it for a Athletic Director to have their master’s?

3: What about legacy – did it make any difference if the Athletic Director went to a school in the conference? i..e. they studied at an ACC school and then became an Athletic Director at at ACC school?

4: What about major? Was there a consistent theme on what major or degree led to these successful careers as an athletic director?

5: After completing this research – what did you learn about your career from a personal standpoint, are you going to change anything in your pursuit of becoming an athletic director?

Thanks for talking this through with us Jeremy – great work, really valuable research.

Alright that’ll do it for this Monday QA session – if you have questions for an upcoming QA session email me at – until then Wednesday I’m talking to Dan Rossetti President of Prodigy Sports – one of the largest sports recruiting firms in the nation!

So tune in!

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