Teresa Resch is the answer to a fascinating trivia question.
Name the college or university that has sent two of its graduates on to become high-ranking officials on teams that have won NBA championships within the past decade on both sides of the Canadian/American border.
That school is St. Thomas University, which can boast among its graduates Resch, who is the Toronto Raptors’ Vice President of Basketball Operations, and Andy Elisburg, who is the general manager of the Miami Heat.
The Heat won its most recent NBA title in 2013. The Raptors won their only NBA championship in 2019, thanks in large part to a front office headed by team president Masai Ujiri, who hired Resch.
“It was euphoric,” Resch said when asked how it felt to win that championship. “It was awesome to come up with a plan and then see it come to fruition.”
Resch said she is a “small-town girl at heart” – a native of Lake View, Minnesota, population 1,685. A good athlete at 6-foot tall, Resch was a middle blocker on the volleyball team at Augustana University in Sioux Falls, South Dakota.
During her freshman year of college, Augustana hosted the NCAA Division II national volleyball championships, and that sparked Resch’s imagination.
“That was my first time exposed to an event of that magnitude,” Resch said. “That’s when I made it my career goal to work in sports.”
Resch was then able to secure an internship, working for North Central Conference commissioner Mike Marcil, who is an STU graduate. Marcil strongly recommended Resch come to St. Thomas University for her Master’s degree, and she took that advice.
STU’s location in Miami was a key part of Resch’s development.
“South Florida is like a laboratory for sports events,” said Resch, who enrolled in STU’s famed sports administration MBA program. “Coming to STU was a great decision.”
With the help of STU and sports administration guru Dr. Jan Bell, Resch was able to secure internships with the Orange Bowl, the Miami Heat, the University of Miami and much more.
“I was the queen of internships,” Resch said. “I don’t think I got paid for anything, but I experienced a lot of sports and events in South Florida. It was a great learning experience.”
The internship that Resch used to complete her degree at STU was at Disney’s Wide World of Sports in Orlando. One of the events she worked on during that internship was the NBA Draft Combine.
Resch made some great connections in Orlando, and – after graduation from STU – she landed “my first job ever”, which was with the NBA league office as a staff assistant in basketball operations in 2006.
From 2008 to 2011, she worked in the league office as a department assistant in international basketball operations
The focus of the job was to develop basketball globally, and Resch was part of a team that hosted camps in countries such as China, South Africa, Senegal, India, Mexico, Spain and Singapore.
Resch handled logistics for that “Basketball Without Borders” program. In part because of that experience, Resch was hired by the Raptors and Ujiri. They met when Ujiri was a camp director at Basketball Without Borders camps in Senegal and South Africa.
“It all ties together,” said Resch, who has now been with the Raptors for 10 years. “It’s a small world, the sports industry.”
Resch, though, has never forgotten the role STU played in her pioneering career as one of the first high-ranking female officials in NBA history.
“I’ve been back to St. Thomas a couple of times to see Dr. Bell,” Resch said. “I’m never too far, and it’s great to see the progress that is happening at St. Thomas University.”