Six University of Arizona undergraduates left for Houston today, where they will work this weekend as interns for the National Association of Basketball Coaches, or NABC, during the 2011 NCAA men's Final Four championship. The NABC founded the Final Four in 1939.
The four women and two men selected for the NABC internships are all members of the Sports Marketing Association, a student organization housed in UA Intercollegiate Athletics.
They include: Alison Ceppi, Taylor Heinlein, Annie Marum, Jeff Robin, Lauren Sokol and Cody Wingert.
"This is an amazing chance for us to network with sports professionals in the Houston area," said Taylor Heinlein, a senior in marketing and entrepreneurship at the Eller College. "Each of us is hoping to pursue a career in the sports industry, and I can't think of an opportunity better than this to get a foot in the door."
"In addition to working for the NABC, the students also will work with Coaches vs. Cancer, a joint partnership between the NABC and American Cancer Society," said David Vinturella,
an executive with FishBait Marketing who assisted in facilitating the internships.
"Through this partnership, college coaches such as Lute Olson and Sean Miller have helped to raise more than $50 million for cancer research. The events the students will work in Houston serve as fundraisers for the Coaches vs. Cancer initiative and will take place this Friday and Saturday evenings."
While in Houston, the students also will meet with the global marketing director of Shell to discuss how the company uses sports sponsorships to drive revenue for its brand. They will attend a Houston Rockets game as guests of Fox Sports Net, and then meet with former UA stars Chase Budinger and Jordan Hill, who both play for the Rockets.
Added Vinturella, "The Wildcats had a tremendous run in the NCAA Tournament, and while it would have been an amazing experience for the students to travel to Houston with them, it would also have been tough for them to keep the focus on working."
The Eller College of Management at the UA is internationally recognized for pioneering research, innovative curriculum, distinguished faculty, excellence in entrepreneurship, and social responsibility.
The Eller College supports more than 5,000 undergraduate and 600 graduate students on the UA campus in Tucson, Ariz.