Kevin King, MA, is a teaching specialist for the Sport Management program in the School of Kinesiology. King earned his Bachelor of Science (BS) degree in Organizational Communications from Eastern Michigan University and his Master of Arts (MA) in Sports Administration from Wayne State University, in Detroit, MI. He is now the primary instructor for many of the School’s courses required for the Sport Management BS program.
King’s journey to teaching in higher education has been a winding road, filled with many different experiences both in the sport industry and in others.
“I believe students can relate to me because I have spent a lot of time working in the industry,” King said. “I also can understand and relate to our students’ goals. When I was an undergraduate student I wanted to work in professional sports. Many of our students have that same goal.”
King chose his undergraduate degree in organizational communications because he wanted to be a spokesperson for an NFL team. At the time, sport management programs didn’t exist in many universities.
“I had to network in a different way,” King said. “There weren’t sport management associations or degree programs that brought together the people who were working in the sport industry.”
During and immediately after his undergraduate experience King worked in several internship positions in the sport industry. He worked in the Sport Information Department at the University of Michigan, and was a training camp intern in the team operations department for the Minnesota Vikings. He held intern positions with the Detroit Lions and the Chicago White Sox as well.
“I did three years of internships,” King said. “Not only did this give me a great foundation of sport industry experience and contacts, but I was also able to do it my way—keeping my experiences in the communications and PR field.”
From there, King got his first full-time position with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in their sales and marketing department.
“I was excited to have a full-time position in the sports industry,” King said. “But, after working there for two years, I realized that I was getting away from what I really wanted to do, which was communications and PR work. I knew I needed to get some solid PR experience, so I moved outside of sports, and took a job at the American Red Cross in Tampa, Fla.”
King spent three years at the American Red Cross where he built his skills and experience in PR. Then, when he chose to move on, he was hired at the Xtreme Football League (XFL) in corporate communications. And that role morphed into being a publicist in the consumer products division with the World Wrestling Entertainment (WWE).
“Honestly, at that point everything felt like it was going really well,” King said. “I still hadn’t considered a career path in higher education.”
A relocation led King back to his home state of Michigan, where he worked with a PR Firm that was promoting a client speaker to Madonna University in Livonia, Michigan. In his interactions with the university, they found out about his background in sport communications and asked him to sit on an advisory curriculum council for their soon-to-be sport management program.
“After I sat on the advisory council they asked me to teach media relations in sports,” King said. “I’d like to say the rest is history. I eventually became the director of their sport management program. I led the program, advised and taught at Madonna, and during that time I was hired as an adjunct professor at the University of Michigan-Ann Arbor, in their sport management program.”
During his time at Madonna, King went back to school and earned his master’s degree in sport administration, providing him with more specific sport management knowledge and allowing him to teach higher level courses.
“If someone would have told me as an undergraduate student that I would end up teaching in higher education I would have said they were crazy,” King said. “This career path wasn’t in my dream of possible options. But I saw an opportunity, and I took it. I tell students all the time to never overlook an opportunity, even if it’s not something they would have originally thought of.”
King teaches many courses in the School of Kinesiology’s Sport Management Program, including Introduction to Sport Management, Organization and Management of Sport, and Business of Sport, to name just a few. King said his favorite course to teach is Organization and Management of Sport because it imparts lessons and life skills that students can use regardless of their future careers.
“We cover core values, company mission statements, culture, diversity in the workplace, leadership, emotional intelligence, and more,” King said. “All of those skills are relevant regardless where a student might go. No matter what they do, this course will add value to their lives.”
King’s advice to students considering a sport management degree?
“This industry is broad, and incredibly competitive. Explore what you’re good at, take classes, and get experience doing that specific thing. Never say you’ll do anything, because people will take advantage of that. Identify your skills and shape your experience to match those.”
The School is incredibly proud to have Kevin as a lecturer in the Sport Management Program! Thank you for imparting knowledge and inspiring students everyday, Kevin.