It Takes a Pro to Manage Community Rec Leagues

With a plethora of professional sports leagues in the United States, from the ‘Big Four’ of the NFL, NBA, NHL, and MLB to the associations for boxing, tennis, and other sports entertainment, it can be easy to forget the millions who engage sports recreationally. While there is substantial business for the watching of sports—a 30-second ad for Super Bowl XLIX cost $4.5 million—humankind invented sports so that we could play. Gina-Marie DiPierro of Cohort 15S at the Southern California campus, works to provide her community with that opportunity.

As Director of Youth and Adult Sports, DiPierro, who graduated just last Friday, May 22nd, manages a $200,000 budget to serve the needs of the Uptown Whittier YMCA. That ranges from working with local businesses and leaders on events and sponsorships to strengthening public health and, most importantly, ensuring individuals have a fun, safe environment to play sports in the leagues she creates and administrates. For one recent project she designed a series of speed, agility, and strength clinics to help kids lead active lifestyles.

Certainly the Sport Management Master’s Program cannot claim all of the credit for DiPierro’s hard work. Yet she does credit Dr. Cellini’s Leadership and Critical Thinking class, as well as Dr. Agha’s Research Methods class, for instilling a deeper level to her thought process and attention to detail. DiPierro remarks “When people credit my ability to think under pressure and outside of the box, I smile and think to myself ‘I wish they could meet my professors!’” She has also found the group projects throughout the program rather valuable, hardly surprising as her time is divided between small business CEOs, internal program directors, children playing basketball for the first time, and everyone in between.

At the end of the day, DiPierro loves working at the grass-roots level of sports and guiding young athletes into their sport careers, recreational or otherwise. And placing students into a field they truly love is really the only goal of the University of San Francisco’s Sport Management Master’s Program.