Alumni spotlight: So you want to work in the NFL…

aug2012_bradgeeMeet Brad Gee (’08). He’s the manager of football communications for the Kansas City Chiefs. Sounds like a cool gig, right? Brad took some time to answer a few questions about what he does on a day-to-day basis, how he was able to turn something he loves into a career, and what advice he has for people wanting to break into sports communication.

Q: What is a “normal” day in the office for you during football season and during the offseason?
BG: A normal day at the office in the offseason is typically pretty light. We work on a variety of projects for our coaching staff and players, as well as our owner and general manager. The majority of our offseason is spent working on our media guide, setting up interviews, working on stat charts, and laying out our plan for the upcoming season. Because we work so many hours during the season our hours are very relaxed and we can come and go as we please for the most part.

During the season we put in anywhere from 80-100 hours a week, depending on the upcoming opponent, if we are home or away, and if we are on national television. Our main responsibilities during the season include preparing weekly press materials, updating our online media guide, and assisting our players and coaches with stats, contract numbers, interviews, etc. We conduct press conferences, assist at practice, and work with the weekly production crews on preparing for game day. Of course, the best part of the job is game day. Our responsibilities are much lighter, although the stress level is much higher because this job is about winning and there is a lot of money at stake. As you can imagine, winning makes our week much easier because our coaches and players are much more pleasant to be around. We travel with the team, so it takes away our weekends for six months — but to visit other cities is really an exciting part of the job as well.

Q: How were you able to turn something you love (sports) into a career? Favorite part about your job? Least favorite?
BG: Growing up, I was a huge fan of professional sports, specifically the NFL. I wasn’t quite sure how I was going to be involved, but I knew I wanted to be involved. When I came to Iowa State, a couple of members of the athletics communications department visited my class to talk about working in their office. I took their advice and got involved working for free in the athletics department. I worked there for three years under a lot of great people who taught me everything I needed to know about the business. I ended up applying and getting a summer internship with the Denver Broncos, which ended up turning into two more summers and a full season. After my full season in Denver, my boss there helped get me land a job with the Chiefs. I was able to get a couple of promotions to where I am now: manager of football communications.

My favorite part of the job is being able to be a part of the team, go everywhere the team goes, and enjoy winning when the team wins. My least favorite part is being away from my family. We spend a lot of time at the office during the season, and it’s very tough to be away from my wife and son.

Q: What advice would you have for someone who is interested in breaking into sports communications?
BG: If you are looking to break into sports communications, experience and time is the key. See if there are any opportunities to volunteer in the area you live to work at sporting events or help with sports communications. Make the most of these volunteer opportunities. Learn the programs, learn the business. When we look to hire in our department we aren’t looking to just hire someone with a communications degree, as many people have that these days. We are looking for someone who has taken the right steps, shown they really want it, and are dedicating their time to the cause.