Their teams may face off against each other, but it's all smiles between Megan Julian '13 and Mackenzie Knoop '15. Both women help run social media for two NFL teams: Julian is the social media coordinator for the Los Angeles Chargers, while Knoop is the social media producer for the New England Patriots.
Knoop explains that the two positions complement each other. The social media coordinator and producer brainstorm ideas together, and then the producer creates the content, such as hype videos, while the coordinator strategizes the content’s rollout on social platforms. So while the women may not be on the same sideline, they have a strong understanding of each others’ roles and can offer each other support.
Knoop and Julian actually used to root for the same team—the San Antonio Spurs, where together they coordinated social media for the basketball team. And the similarities don’t end there: Both women graduated from Trinity with majors in communication and minors in sport management, which Knoop says perfectly set them up for careers in sports communication.
And, Knoop explains further, it wasn’t only their degree programs that affected their career trajectories: The people behind the programs made all the difference. During her sophomore year, Knoop suffered an injury that put an end to her tennis career. Feeling lost and floundering for a purpose, she approached Jacob Tingle ’95, director of Trinity’s sport management program, for advice. Tingle pointed her in the direction of communication and sport management, a combination he thought would work well for her. He was right.
"He’s the reason I work in the sports industry,” Knoop says. “The advice he always gave me was to go out and do things, because it's a process of elimination, finding out what you love to do."
So Knoop began exploring the sports industry through hands-on experiences both in the classroom and the real world. She took a summer course with Jennifer Henderson where she created a real-life marketing plan for the Spurs, which Knoop savored because “it wasn’t just sitting in a classroom.” And Tingle helped Knoop secure her first internship, where she worked with San Antonio Sports. That internship, she says, taught her that she “learned she loved to work in sports.” From there came a slew of other sports-related internships, including a “life-changing” public relations internship with Spurs Sports and Entertainment under Tom James ’90, which eventually led to a job with the basketball team post-graduation.
“Not being able to play tennis anymore was really hard for me when it had been my life for so long, and having a group of people like Dr. Henderson and Dr. Tingle, who were able to get to know me and help me figure out what else I loved outside of tennis, sculpted my professional career and helped me become a better person,” Knoop says. “Trinity, for me, was just about the people and the experiences.”