Sports Business Pro Started Career as Student Manager

Interview with Vincent Accardi, Director of Corporate Partnerships

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Earlier pieces on the role of student manager highlighted a current manager and USA Basketball's Sean Ford, who started his career as a student manager. Adding to the series is this interview with Vincent Accardi, who works as Director of Corporate Partnerships at Stonybrook University.

His story highlights the power of the network you can start developing as a college student - and that it can last for decades.

How did you land your position as a student manager for basketball at St. John's?

Accardi: I landed my position as a student manager with the St. John's basketball manager through my two suitemates who were freshmen like me but both on the basketball team, Eric King (Brooklyn - Lincoln) and Tristan Smith (Amityville High School).  It was a random room selection and I was tripled in a room in the suite with eight other freshmen, which included Eric and Tristan who had single rooms.  I asked to go to practice with Tristan and Eric early in the season during preseason workouts and met with who would eventually be fellow managers Marat Kogut (now an NBA referee) and Adam Scigliano (now a producer at SB Nation). Adam and Marat recommended me to Alex Evans the Director of Basketball Operations who hired me to work in the office utilizing my work study received through the university.   

You worked for three different head coaches in your years at St. John's.  How did that impact your experience?

Accardi: I worked for Mike Jarvis, Kevin Clark and Norm Roberts and learned a lot from each of them and their staffs.  I still try to stay in touch with Coach Roberts and his entire staff that I worked for, which includes Chuck Martin (Assistant Coach - Indiana), Fred Quartlebaum (Kansas), Chris Casey (Head Coach - Niagara), Will Lanier (Assistant Coach - Niagara) and Glenn Bracia (Head Coach - St.

Francis). Each head coach had a different coaching and leadership style. Coach Jarvis, Coach Clark and the rest of the staff were about life on and off the basketball court and what the game taught you that you can utilize throughout the rest of life. Coach Roberts and his staff were all tireless workers on and off the court.  Especially in the development of players, recruiting and taking care of their families while creating a family atmosphere around the basketball program. 

Are you still connected with any of the other people you worked with while in the role?

Accardi: I have managed to stay connected to many members of the men's basketball program and St. John's athletics department by attending games, alumni events and through social media. Some have become lifelong friends who I keep in touch with on a regular basis such as Matt Abdelmassih (Assistant Coach - St. John's), Tom Lally (Store Manager - Modell's Sporting Goods), Paul Sclafani, Matt Bernstein, Marat Kogut, and Adam Scigliano.  

What is your current role at Stony Brook?

Accardi:  I have had three different full-time positions at Stony Brook University in their athletics department and started as a graduate assistant in Facilities / Event Operations in August of 2009.

  Currently, I am the Director of Seawolves United which is our annual fund for unrestricted giving to athletics. Our goal is to positively transform the lives of each of our student-athletes and we can do that by building meaningful relationships with our alumni, fans and throughout all of Long Island.  

Working in collegiate athletics, what other roles besides student manager would you advise students who want to eventually work in the sports industry to pursue?

Accardi: Besides being a student manager for any intercollegiate sports team there are a number of opportunities to gain experience in collegiate athletics. You can gain experience for credit, paid or volunteer to build your resume in such departments as external services, compliance, academic advising and facilities / event operations.

 

Also, when you are a student there a number of manager opportunities than just the football and basketballl which are "the sexy" managerial jobs that will give you tremendous opportunity to gain experience in such areas as operations, video, and coaching. I think every coach and/or assistant coach of an intercollegiate athletics team is looking for students who are passionate about that sport, being a sponge and providing assistance to the staff and their peers however they can and the head coach sees fit. 

Thanks to Vincent Accardi for sharing his experiences. You can follow him on Twitter at @VincentJAccardi.

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