One of the newest Miami University programs, the Sport Leadership and Management (SLAM) program, made a statement this summer, inviting distinguished sports and entertainment executive Bobby Goldwater to be the first member of Miami’s Alumni in Residence program.
A 1974 Miami graduate with over 38 years of industry experience, Goldwater said he jumped at the opportunity to return to Oxford and to help launch Miami’s new SLAM program in its inaugural semester. Goldwater said the new degree’s focus on leadership and management especially impressed him.
“When I heard about the concept for the Sport Leadership and Management program here at Miami I was tremendously excited about it because I had always wondered at a great school like Miami, why didn’t my school, my alma mater, have a program in some area of sports?” Goldwater said. “I think there’s just tremendous potential for this major.”
SLAM, which is housed within the School of Education, Health and Society, replaces sports studies in order to help better prepare students for the sports industry, according to SLAM professor Shane Fudge. Fudge said Goldwater’s visit was incredibly beneficial for students and for the program.
“There is no better way to get the point of something new across to a group of students than to show them a real-life walking talking example, and not just a walking talking example of something, but one of the most successful examples you could possibly find,” Fudge said. “There are few people in this industry that have had the levels of success that Bobby has had. To have him come in and just give us unbelievable access to his wealth of information, expertise, insight – it’s immeasurable. I can’t think of anything that would’ve been more beneficial this first semester.”
Goldwater met with students and faculty over four days, which included class visits and his Alumni in Residence Lecture, “Every Game Counts.”
Following a curriculum review last semester, Fudge said Miami switched from Sports Studies to SLAM to better accommodate students and to compete with other universities. The first professor hired specifically for SLAM, Fudge said the program provides theoretical and applicable work experience for students to adjust to an industry that is becoming very multi-disciplinary.
“You will be prepared to lead groups of people when you leave here,” Fudge said. “The direction we are heading in to me indicates we will be highly competitive [compared to similar programs].”
At Miami, Goldwater served as the sports editor and as the editor in chief for The Miami Student and was the vice president of the Men’s Glee Club, receiving the Scott Alexander Award as the Club’s outstanding member.
“No one had a better four years at Miami than me,” he said. “It has tremendous value. I can’t overstate how thankful, how grateful, how important my degree, my time here at Miami has been.”
Goldwater began his career working at Madison Square Garden (MSG) in New York before moving to Los Angeles after 24 years to work for the Staples Center. In 2000, he became the President and Executive Director of the DC Sports and Entertainment Commission in Washington, D.C. and was instrumental in bringing the Washington Nationals to D.C. However, Goldwater said the people he worked with stand out as much as anything and his passion for the industry helped tremendously.
“I think that this is just such an industry where you really have to make a commitment to it,” Goldwater said. “I’ve just been passionate about everything that I’ve done. So if people can bring, passion, energy, dedication, enthusiasm, I think that’s probably the most important thing [to have success].”
An industry innovator, Goldwater helped create the first eight-sided scoreboard system during MSG’s renovation between 1989 and 1991, and also made the Staples Center a strong, multi-purpose venue. Goldwater also assisted in the creation of the National Collegiate Hockey Conference, which Miami will switch to next season.
Goldwater said the increase of technology and coverage in the industry will continue to grow the business.
“I think there are going to be newer venues in secondary markets,” Goldwater said. “I think that’s where a lot of activity is taking place. There are certainly going to be continuing upgrades in technology [as well].”