Preparing Students for the Future
Senior | Human Relations | Spencer, Oklahoma | OU Women's Basketball Student Manager
Isaiah Flowers decided to attend OU because of the family atmosphere he felt on campus, and during his time working as a student manager for the women’s basketball team, he has discovered that the same family atmosphere is present in that program.
“The experience is probably the best thing I could have ever experienced in college,” Flowers said. “I always knew I wanted to work with sports, but I never thought I’d want to work with a specific team. I’ve been there for three years, so it’s the best thing I think that could have ever happened to me in college. It showed me what I wanted to do when I finished school.”
After Flowers graduates in December, he will be starting graduate school at OU in the intercollegiate athletics administration program. He will remain with the Sooners, working as an equipment intern, and plans to pursue a career in women’s basketball after completing his master’s degree.
Managers work both practices and games, with tasks including keeping water bottles filled, giving towels to players when they come off the court, and setting up chairs for timeouts, among others.
“If you like basketball, it’s a great job because you get to watch basketball all day,” Flowers said. “Being there at the games it really cool because you actually get to see the other side. Being at practice you get to see them put the hard work in, then being at the games you get to see the hard work pay off. It gives you joy, especially when you win just because you know how much they worked for it.”
Flowers also gets to travel with the team, which he said is his favorite aspect of the job. Last year, he went to the PK80 Invitational, held in Oregon to celebrate Nike Co-Founder Phil Knight’s 80th birthday. The trip stands out to Flowers because of the chance to tour Nike, meet players and coaches from other teams, and to be involved in a one-time event.
Junior | Public Relations | Edmond, Oklahoma | OU Athletics Communications Intern
A desire to work with people led Hannah Hill to choosing to be a public relations major at OU. Initially, Hill was interested in working in sports as an on-camera personality, but once she started the behind-the-scenes job in the OU Athletics Communications office, she realized it was a great fit for her as well.
During her freshman year, Hill met the sports information director for the OU women’s golf team when she was watching her older sister, Haley, compete for the Sooners. This is how she learned about the opportunities in the communications office, and she eventually interviewed and was chosen for one of the intern spots.
“It’s a lot of detailed work, but I noticed in the last three years that I like that more than being in front of everyone,” Hill shared. “It’s still the relations side of it because I’ve met so many media people that I get to talk to when they’re in press conferences or at post-practice interviews … It’s still very relationship based and just a different side of it.”
Hill helps with both men’s and women’s golf, writing recaps and previews for tournaments, taking players to media interviews, updating stats, and aiding with the social media accounts. In addition to her responsibilities with golf, Hill also handles extra duties for men’s basketball like updating the website with stats after road games and works a variety of other OU athletics home events, including for football, basketball, gymnastics, wrestling, and tennis.
“I really get the opportunity to be involved in any sport that I want to,” Hill explained. “Being an intern is kind of nice because you can just put your toes in where everyone’s at and help out where needed.”
Hill, who is also involved on campus as a member of Soonerthon executive committee, as the public relations chair for her sorority, in the Native American Club, and in the Association for Women in Sports Media (AWSM), said she has noticed that OU is really good about encouraging students to secure opportunities for hands-on learning.
“It’s really important how you do in the classroom, but it’s also important what you go out and do,” Hill explained. “I know if you go into business or if you go into public relations or if you go into another major, they’re encouraging you to get into an internship … I see people in my class that are on the field with me that weekend, which is really cool, and they’re all doing what they like, whether that’s the Daily or with OU Nightly or another opportunity. Everyone kind of finds an internship or finds something they want to get involved in, and then they have the support from the university to do that.”
Mary Kate Motley
Senior | Entrepreneurship and Sports Management | Sherman, Texas | OU Athletics Marketing Intern
With a double major in entrepreneurship and sports management, Mary Kate Motely is combining her desire to work in business and her passion for sports. Although she didn’t realize until her junior year that she’d like to work in sports, Motley has now embraced the chance to learn from internships within the OU Athletics Department.
Her junior year, Motley began working in marketing. Now as a senior, she is serving as the lead intern for women’s basketball and has the chance to gain more hands-on experience in that role. This includes taking a bigger role in coordinating themes and marketing promotions for games, like one centered around a partnership with Campus Activities Council’s Dad’s Day and another one where she worked to find 12 organizations on campus that would like to be represented at the game and building that partnership with them. To Motley, this relationship building and making connections are the best part of her job. She also attends planning and operations meetings, where she learns more about how women’s basketball works.
“It all starts with the faculty and staff here, and they obviously want to see you succeed,” Motely said of the support she has received at OU. “My boss asks for my input all the time, which is huge because you get to start thinking your own way.”
In addition to her marketing internship, Motley also began working as a recruiting assistant for the football program this season. Whatever area she ends up in the long term, Motley knows for sure that she wants to work in sports, preferably for a women’s basketball program. Right now, Motley is looking at graduate school options and is also involved with the Sooner Innovation Fund, where she is currently developing a sports product.
Two areas on campus in which Motley is involved are the JCPenney Leadership Program at the Price College of Business and the Sports Management Club.
“JCPenney develops my business side and sports management just gets to develop me and my connections a little bit more, so both involvements have been incredible,” Motley said.
Motley encourages prospective students to explore their interests when they arrive at the university, just like her taking on the marketing internship helped her realize her goal of working within athletics.
“If you have any ounce of passion for a certain area at OU, whether that be journalism or that be sports or that be something else, go ahead and dip your toe a little bit further,” Motely encouraged. “You won’t know until you experience it.”