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College to Career: My First Job at STU Athletics

By April 21, 2020Alumni, STU News

At St. Thomas University, we are committed to the success of our students inside and outside of the classroom. Our College to Career series will feature and celebrate  STU Bobcats and their internship and first job experiences. Get to know STU Bobcat, Jon Leatherman(right), and about his first job experience with the St. Thomas University Athletics Department!

  1. Name: Jon Leatherman
  2. Major: B.B.A. and M.S. in Sports Administration
  3. Graduation Year: I earned my bachelor’s in 2017 and my master’s in 2018.
  4. Where do your work and what is your title? Currently, I am the Manager of Athletic Communications in the St. Thomas University Athletics Department. In my role I cover 21 sports internally and externally through live broadcasts, statistics, social media, local media engagement, articles, and press releases.
  5. How did you find out about your job and secure it? My start in the Athletics department goes back to my freshman year in 2013. I approached our Head Baseball Coach, Jorge Perez, about a position with the team as the manager. I started with simple tasks, such as statistic keeping, helping around the office, or assisting the coaching staff or players. As I advanced in my studies, I knew I needed an internship to complete my undergraduate degree. At the end of my junior year, I approached Athletics Director, Laura Courtley-Todd, about how I could get more involved with the Athletic Department. I earned an internship that allowed me to broadcast our sporting events, which has now grown into the Bobcat Sports Network. In my role, I covered events as a camera-man, producer, or play-by-play commentator, working under the previous Sports Information Director, Phil de Montmollin. I was interested in the statistic-side, but the roles were filled by future alumni, Nick Fernandez, Michael Craig, and Michael Lopez. After I completed my undergraduate degree, I decided to further my education at St. Thomas. I continued assisting the Sports Information department and  got more involved in the statistics side. Under the direction of de Montmollin and Lopez, I began covering the entire sports roster.  As I entered my final semester of graduate school I was Phil’s main assistant. Later, Phil informed our team that he would be pursuing another opportunity. Once he made his announcement, my colleague Michelle Murch and I knew it was time to step up and take on the opportunity for professional growth. In my last semester of graduate school, I was balancing my school work and a full-time position. It was a lot of hard work , but it was the perfect chance for me to show that I had what it took to work for STU Athletics. Making those connections while being a student was instrumental in my success upon graduation. I showed up and went above and beyond, and on January 3, 2019, I was hired as a full-time employee in my second home, St. Thomas University.
  6. What does a day at work look like? Work days are best when I have game days to look forward to. From August through May, we have at least one game, four days out of the week, especially on Saturday. In the fall, Saturday’s are for football. My days can start at 8 a.m. for set-up, run until noon for kick-off, continue to in-game statistics, post-game wrap-up, printing box scores for coaches, packing up to transition into a volleyball match, then wrapping up volleyball to cover two soccer matches. Each game gets a recap story, so an average five-sport Saturday doesn’t end until 11 p.m. In November, we transition into our Basketball season, which is also when the majority of fall sports are reaching their playoffs. The same transition also happens in the spring, as basketball season ends,  baseball, softball, track & field, and tennis follow. Spring season does not end until June, depending on playoff runs and National Championship appearances. In addition to the games and those recaps, I have written feature stories on athletes and coaches, signee stories, organized on campus media visits, overseen NBC College Week, social media posts and in the process of revamping an all-time statistic record book.
  7. What’s your favorite part about your job? My favorite part of being the Manager of Athletic Communications is that I get to promote our student-athletes. I have the opportunity to showcase student-athletes through media pitches, social media, or articles and more. Any chance to promote our athletes is a point of pride for me. Another point of pride, is the growth of the Bobcat Sports Network(B.S.N.). It started as a way to show the games on a nightly basis. Since taking over, Michelle Murch and I have revamped the broadcast. B.S.N. is now an entirely student-run operation, headlined by Nick Izquierdo, Giovanni Rosello, and Josh Leatherman, with help from different student-athletes that simultaneously earn internship hours or class credit. During games, I primarily focus on the live statistics with help from Sports Administration students, Alyssa Ramirez and Taelor Schmitz. Nick is the producer for the broadcast, providing highlight clips for social media pages, while Giovanni and Josh have become the voices of Bobcat sports. Their growth and the advancements of the broadcast shows the impact that our office has on the student-athletes.
  8. What challenges have you faced at your first job and how have you overcome them? Every job has its challenges; in Sports Information or Athletic Communications, they are unique. Working in Athletic Communications allows me to have an impact on the athletic department and a deeper understanding of each sport. We get to travel with the teams, providing coverage during road games, develop more personal relationships with coaching staffs and players and get to be a fan from the first row at every game. The main challenge are the long hours on the weekend and computers issues. But, the perks of the job, working with student-athletes, watching them grow athletically, personally and professionally far outweigh challenges presented.
  9. How does your job connect back to your coursework and extracurricular activities at STU? Most of what I learned for this job I have learned while in my career. My writing competency, leadership, communication skills, and work ethic have all improved in the role. However, it would not be possible to be in this position at St. Thomas University without my studies and the push by several professors to pursue a graduate degree.
  10. What advice do you have for Bobcats that are starting the job hunt? Some advice I would give to Bobcats in the job hunt would be to be patient and to not settle. It’s important to find a place that knows and appreciates your value as well as allowing your work to speak for itself.  St. Thomas has, and always will be home for me. I’m fortunate to work in an Athletic Department that has grown with me. Professionally, I have learned a lot as I’ve grown and developed in my work and I attribute that to the freedom I have working at a place like St. Thomas. I’ve been given the space and resources to evolve and grow and to be adaptable in an ever-changing industry. None of this would be possible without the tremendous help and guidance I have received along the way. There are so many more people that have assisted me in getting to where I am today. I am eternally grateful to my parents, Dr. Bell and the lifelong friends, I have made at St. Thomas University, I really am fortunate to have an incredible support system.
  11. Describe your job in a GIF?


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Michelle Tulande

Author Michelle Tulande

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