The Copperheads provide Ohio University students with more than 80 internships annually.
Photo courtesy of: Southern Ohio Copperheads
Jul 19, 2010
By Will Frasure
Every summer, baseball players from across the country hone their craft through the Southern Ohio Copperheads, one of 11 teams in the Great Lakes Summer Collegiate League.
The same could also be said about the more than 80 Ohio University students who help run the organization as staff members.
Since the team’s inception in 2001, the Copperheads annually provides a unique, hands-on learning experience to students across the academic spectrum. While the student roster hails largely from the Department of Sports Administration , housed in Ohio University's College of Business, internship positions are also available in the areas of journalism, marketing and sales.
According to the team's website, additional relationships are being developed in the areas of sports medicine, management information systems, accountancy, theater and telecommunications.
“I’ve done internships elsewhere that don’t give a whole lot of experience, but you get a nice name on your resume,” said Assistant General Manager Jessie Martin, a graduate student in the OHIO's Sports Administration program. “This experience with the Copperheads gets you right in and gives you experience with what you’d do in the real world.”
With the Copperheads, students are given the opportunity to have a direct impact on their organization – opportunities that often are not possible working for bigger organizations, like a major or minor league baseball team.
“The Copperheads as an organization is small enough to where the staff and interns don’t have a lot of pressure on them,” said sports management major Bob Holmes, who serves as the Copperheads' director of game day operations. “But at the same time, it’s large enough where they can see how sports organizations works.”
The interns, who are led by Martin and Assistant to the General Manager Kate McGowen, are broken up into various staffs, from marketing to media to game-day operations. With the help of general staffers, each department carries out its given task.
This year's work began last winter, when interns would meet weekly with Martin to discuss plans for the upcoming season.
“We’ve been preparing with things like getting promotions ready, getting staffs put together, deciding what we’re going to do for marketing, things like that,” Martin said. “All of them have been working since December to get themselves prepared.”
The PESS 418E class headed by sport management professor Dave Ridpath also accompanies the work at the ballpark. Titled "Special Topics: Baseball," the class focuses on what happened during each week and how students can improve.
Ridpath also gives certain academic assignments to help accelerate the students’ growth, usually focusing on the business of baseball. Guest speakers, like Cleveland Indians’ Vice President of Public Relations Bob DiBiaso, are also brought in for the class.
Ridpath attends the games, but for the most part, supervises while Martin and McGowan lead.
“I don’t like to get too involved at the games,” Ridpath said. “For the most part, I’ll sit in the background and let everyone do their jobs.”
Ridpath also talked about the growth of the program over the years. It used to involve many more members who would rotate the dates they worked. Now, the students chosen work every home game, helping to build cohesiveness among the staff.
“Since we’ve gone to a static class, it has helped greatly with the students working together,” Ridpath said.
Both Ridpath and Martin both agree that this year’s staff has done an admirable job.
“They’ve been awesome,” Martin said. “I’ve been impressed by everyone. They’ve really stepped up and done what needs to be done.”
With the lessons of past years, the program has been able to steadily progress. Each year, Ridpath is more and more impressed by what the staff is able to do as the program grows.
“I just think the staffs get better every year,” Ridpath said. “This group so far has been nothing but fantastic.”
The Southern Ohio Copperheads have only five regular season games left to play at OHIO's Bob Wren Stadium.
To purchase tickets, visit http://aspnet.cob.ohio.edu/copperheads/tickets.aspx.