When she found out she was a finalist for an award from TheStadiumBusiness, a leading trade organization, Kim Mahoney, a University of New Haven assistant professor of sport management, conceded that she was a longshot to win.
“This is an international organization focused on the industry, not academia,” she explained. “So it seemed unlikely for the judging panel to select an academic.”
In the end, it was Mahoney’s more than 20 years of experience working in facility and event management, including with NBA, NFL, NHL, and major U.S. intercollegiate facilities, as well as her commitment to imparting her expertise in her students that earned her TheStadiumBusiness’ “Unsung Hero” award.
“I was genuinely surprised,” said Mahoney, who has co-authored a textbook on venue management and has written a publication for industry practitioners about event management. “I believe that by awarding this to me, the organization acknowledged all faculty working to prepare students for the constantly changing field of sport management."
I'm very passionate about helping to provide a solid foundation for students preparing to enter this field.
It is that devotion that was lauded by the judges. “She continues to send the ‘elevator back down’ through her teaching and textbooks on venue management, providing the foundations for our industry’s next generation of rising stars,” they wrote in selecting her for the honor.
Mahoney’s interest in event and facility management was fueled by a graduate school internship she had at the Charlotte Coliseum in advance of the venue hosting the 1994 NCAA men’s basketball final four.
"After working there for six months, I was really drawn to the variety of sports and entertainment events and the fact that no two days were the same," she said. “I have worked in event and facility management in some capacity ever since.”
She went on to earn a Ph.D. in sport management from Ohio State University. She has held leadership positions with Columbus Arena Sports and Entertainment, the Ohio High School Athletic Association, and Show Pros Entertainment Services, where she served as the account executive responsible for the management of more than 600 game-day staff for the Carolina Panthers of the National Football League. She also has served as a consultant for 15 years.
Prior to joining the University of New Haven in 2012, she taught at the University of South Carolina and Ohio State University.
My favorite part is that the sport management industry is always changing. This creates new challenges and opportunities to learn.