Joe DaSilva – Sport Management

Class of 2014

“I started my career in the sports industry at age 14 working in Minor League Baseball as a bat-boy/clubhouse assistant for the St. Lucie Mets. I quickly learned that long nights and early mornings were a token of the trade. What I didn’t immediately realize was that a great work ethic and a strong inner drive is not enough to reach the top. What was the missing piece to the puzzle? What separated the good from the great? I finally uncovered the answer after a campus visit to the University of Florida: an elite education.

I filled a missing piece of my puzzle by attending the University of Florida’s Sport Management program. The curriculum of this degree is one that tested my intellect with complex business courses and dynamic group projects. Yet education alone is not enough. What makes UF’s program so unique is that students have the opportunity to gain work experience at a top-tier Athletic Department while earning their degree. I jump started my career by volunteering at the University Athletic Association and picked the brains of the greatest minds in college sports, such as the Executive Associate Athletics Director for External Affairs Mike Hill and Director of Athletics Jeremy Foley.

The degree and experience I earned at UF immediately opened doors for me. After working tirelessly for years, I secured the opportunity of a lifetime via an internship at the Commissioner’s Office of Major League Baseball in the Special Events Department. For summer 2013, my job was to plan and execute the 84th MLB All-Star Weekend of events including the Futures Game, the Celebrity Softball Game, the Home-Run Derby, and the All-Star Game.

As I stood in the dug-out next to Tom Seaver before the first pitch of the All-Star Game, I looked around the stadium and heard the roar of the crowd as Apache helicopters flew overhead during a nationally televised pre-game ceremony I helped develop and thought to myself, ‘Man, I’ve come a long way from scrubbing toilets in Single-A baseball.’ That summer, I was also selected to be a part of the MLB staff brought in to execute the RBI (Reviving Baseball in Inner Cities) World Series in Minneapolis, Minnesota. The RBI program is an initiative that strives to make ‘Major League Citizens’ out of the inner-city youth around the world. Teaching more than 200,000 inner-city kids not only the fundamentals of baseball, but also of life. I was fortunate enough to return after my junior year at UF to intern with RBI full-time and worked the 2014 RBI World Series.

None of my experiences in the sports industry would have been possible without the foundation that the University of Florida laid for my career. Any student looking for a program that will position them for success should attend the Sport Management program at UF. No matter how many pieces to the puzzle you’re missing, I guarantee that the University of Florida will help you put it together.”