Speech by owner of MLB’s Angels helps sports management club get off ground

| Sports Editor

Kevin Sullivan | Orange County Register | MCT

Boston Red Sox principal owner John W. Henry chats with Los Angeles Angels owner Arte Moreno on Oct. 6, 2008. Moreno spoke at Washington University on Thursday night to members of the Olin Sports Management Organization get off the ground.

While the NFL Draft, which occurred this past weekend, gave 255 college athletes a chance to play in the NFL, a club at Washington University is striving to get some of the school’s own students into the NFL and other sports leagues, but under slightly different job titles.

The Olin Sports Management Organization (OSMO), founded during the 2008-2009 school year, was created by students looking to help other Wash. U. students land jobs in the sports industry. This past Thursday, Arte Moreno, owner of the Los Angeles Angels of Anaheim, came and spoke to the club.

Moreno was the highest-profile speaker that OSMO had brought in since its creation last school year. The club got off the ground with faculty adviser Dan Stiffler and four varsity athletes: seniors Nick Vom Brack and Ross Kelley, and sophomores Jon Howard and Daniel Grimm.

“[We had] a passion for sports beyond just playing sports, and we wanted to work with people who like business and are involved in sports,” said Vom Brack, the club’s current president.

After the initial meeting and the addition of a fifth member of the founding group, senior Remy Midkiff, OSMO began bringing in various panels of speakers in the sports field while trying to get its name out to the Wash. U. public.

“In our first year, like in a business, we were just hoping we were still around at the end of the year,” said Stiffler, a career adviser in the Olin Business School.

Though OSMO had a number of speakers in before last Thursday, none had nearly the pedigree of Moreno. The club managed to bring him in through a connection to his son, Rico, a senior here at Wash. U. With Moreno already coming in to visit for ThurtenE weekend, there was a clear opportunity.

“I’ve been really lucky to know Rico for four years,” Midkiff said. “I thought it would be great to bring in his dad, and he said that he’d love to talk to us. It really just fell into place.”

Moreno’s speech, in which he discussed not just the Angels but also his ascension from selling billboards to owning a Major League Baseball team, seemed to impress the crowd.

“I originally thought it was going to be mainly Q&A, so I was really blown away by the material that he prepared about his career and the Angels and the multimedia stuff he brought in,” Midkiff said.

The implications of Moreno’s appearance, in terms of the club’s future, are unknown. The officers acknowledged that bringing in a speaker of Moreno’s caliber on a regular basis may not be realistic.

Regardless, OSMO is looking to obtain Student Union funding and recognition to be more visible across campus.

“Not only to get funding, to help us put on bigger-profile events, but just to get our name out there more and have the whole school know about us would be a big step,” Vom Brack said.

Funding or not, the club’s long-term goals have not changed. “We’ve had three goals from the beginning: one, to provide information about jobs in sports; two, to develop a network in sports; and finally, to contribute to the community,” Stiffler said. “Those are our three goals, and we’re doing all right with them.”