While the achievements and pursuits of collegiate athletes tend to dominate the news, career paths available in the sports management arena don’t earn the same level of attention or visibility. Two professionals at Cazenovia College are working to change that dynamic, and as women in a career field that has traditionally been dominated by men, they have their sights set on innovations in the field and career opportunities this academic program can provide for all students.

Tracy Trachsler, Ph.D., program director and associate professor of Sport Management, joined the College in 2016. Tamara Demeree came on board in 2019 as a visiting instructor in Sport Management.

Prior to their roles at Cazenovia, Dr. Trachsler and Demeree both spent a number of years working in the sport industry. Trachsler has been an athletic administrator at an NCAA Division III member institution and a college softball pitching coach. Demeree, who has an M.B.A., was an executive director of a renowned community sports complex in Central New York and adds experience from 30 years in the sport industry working in both the for-profit and not-for-profit sectors.

Over the past five years, the Sport Management program has undergone significant development, Dr. Trachsler says. That includes creation of an esports initiative connecting academics and athletics, development of an advisory board of industry professionals, and an increase in supervised annual student internships. In addition, the program team has made curriculum changes to the major, added a new coaching minor, and forged new external partnerships for projects, internships, and experiences for students.

Those kinds of evolutions “have allowed the Sport Management program at Cazenovia to build off past successes while staying relevant to the quickly evolving skills students will need to be successful professionals in community based, recreation organization, and amateur sport roles,” observes Dr. Trachsler.

“Bringing Tamara Demeree on board really brought new insights and energy to the program as we embarked on a critical phase of reexamination and reinvention,” Dr. Trachsler says. “I am thrilled with the progress she and I have made together, and I value that aspect even more so in light of the uniqueness of our situation, one in which two women are setting the direction for this program. The changes we made were essential in keeping with the spirit of the program our predecessors poured their hearts into developing while adapting and adjusting to the times. We’ve leveraged our understanding of our program, our students, and our own work backgrounds to position us well within our competitive market and promote a program committed to diversity and inclusion at all levels of sport,” she says.

“We understand the value of bringing real-world experiences to the classroom,” Demeree adds. “We both draw upon our time spent in the industry. We think that our perspective as women practitioners in a historically male-dominated industry gives students a unique viewpoint, particularly in this time of needed diversity in our country and industry. It also affords us with knowledge to better identify opportunities to break down barriers and promote access for those who may have been marginalized from various professional opportunities in the past. We are committed to helping those who want to succeed in sport, regardless of their makeup or background,” says Demeree.

According to Cazenovia graduate Sydney Smith ’20, “Dr. Trachsler and Professor Demeree played a pivotal role in developing my interests and goals both inside the classroom and out. As a female in a male dominated profession, it is challenging to not be overlooked. Dr. Trachsler and Professor Demeree gave me immense support in finding my true passion in my professional career. I am proud to be a female in the sports industry because of what they have taught me.”