Western Illinois University: Macomb Campus
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Alumni Highlight - Michael Stephens
Courtesy: Terry Miller
Michael Stephens is currently the assistant athletic director for marketing, licensing and concessions at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln. His staff and he are responsible for overseeing the operations for day-to-day marketing, which includes the marketing for ticket sales as well as game-day promotions, concessions, and the Huskers Authentic Team Store, and the supervision of the Spirit Squad.
Stephens, a native of Omaha, Neb., earned his bachelor’s degree from Nebraska in 1991. Then in 1994 he earned his master’s degree from WIU. Stephens joined the Huskers’ staff in 2002 after two years of being the corporate sponsorship sales manager for the Kansas City Royals.
Stephens said that he’s been very fortunate to find work close to home. Also, he has been lucky to be able to stay with the same organizations, instead of moving from organization to organization to advance his career.
His career highlight so far has been Nebraska football’s consecutive sellout campaign. The Nebraska athletic department ran a campaign promoting the 300th consecutive sellout for home football game.
Stephens said, “It was very successful and at the end of the game I was excited to see how happy the fans were and how much they enjoyed it.”
Stephens said that time commitment is the biggest challenge with his job. He also stressed that the ability to negotiate corporate sponsorships is a skill that is very beneficial in athletics, and practical experience is essential for learning this skill.
He also offered several tips for those individuals trying to get hired in the sports industry. He believes that the best way to set yourself apart from other candidates is work experience in any capacity, whether it be a graduate assistantship position or serving as a volunteer. Also, being able to communicate both written and orally with others is another way he feels you can set yourself apart from other candidates.