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Beyond the arena: Alumni in sports

Marquette grads tend to be a little sports-obsessed -- and some make great careers out of it. Sure, you might know about the Marquette ties of NBA All-Star Dwyane Wade or Boston Celtics Coach Doc Rivers, but other alumni have made a name in sports by manning the front offices of a pro team or penning award-winning journalism or scouting for the next big thing. Here are just a few. We know this list barely scratches the surface, so please add your own favorites in the comments section.

Len Kasper, CJPA '93
Play-by-play announcer, Chicago Cubs

Kasper's past is a blazing trail of stars. Before becoming a play-by-play announcer for the Chicago Cubs, he was with the Florida Marlins and hosted shows for the Green Bay Packers and Milwaukee Brewers.

Nancy Armour, Jour '91
National writer, Associated Press

This award-winning Chicago-based journalist is one of three national sports writers for the AP, and the only woman among that elite group. She has traveled the globe covering everything from the Olympics to the World Cup to the Masters.

Robert J. Quinn, Bus Ad '90
Executive vice president of finance and administration, Milwaukee Brewers Baseball Club

It runs in the family -- Quinn is a fourth-generation baseball executive in charge of money matters and administration for Milwaukee's beloved Brewers.

Kevin Byrne, Jour '71
Senior vice president, Baltimore Ravens

Talk about being a wanted man -- the NFL has called on Ravens veteran Byrne to provide media relations assistance at 24 Super Bowls and two Pro Bowls. Besides overseeing the Ravens' marketing, public and community relations departments and team publications, he had also negotiated contracts and been involved with the selection of head coaches.

Mary Beth Nienhaus, Arts '65
Owner, Winagamie Golf Course

The first female varsity student-athlete in Marquette history, Nienhaus joined the men's golf team -- yes, the men's team -- in 1965 and was the first to represent Marquette in intercollegiate postseason play. Nienhaus, who later earned the title of Wisconsin Female Golfer of the Year, now runs one of Wisconsin's largest junior golf programs.

Thomas Osowski, Jour '82, Arts '99
Central regional crosschecker, Detroit Tigers

Osowski helps shape the direction of the Detroit Tigers by scouting high school and collegiate players for the annual free agent draft. His scouting responsibilities include an 11-state region running from Michigan to Mississippi as well as Canada.

Steve Rushin, Jour '88
Sports columnist and novelist

Rushin holds the record for writing the longest story ever in the history of Sports Illustrated. Within three years of joining the magazine, he became the youngest senior writer at age 25 and has since been nominated for four National Magazine Awards.

Meghan Sheehan, Arts '99
Director of broadcast services,

Sheehan, a former Marquette basketball player, combines a love for sports with a knack for numbers at STATS LLC, the world's leading sports information provider. From her Los Angeles office, she helps churn out real-time statistics for thousands of professional and collegiate sporting events every year. (Read her recent profile in Marquette Magazine.)

John Steinmiller, Sp '70
Vice president of business operations, Milwaukee Bucks

A Chicago-area native, Steinmiller worked his way up from a part-time job his senior year to handling the day-to-day operations of a team with an estimated value of nearly $300 million.

Greg Heller, Law '96
Senior vice president and general counsel, Atlanta Braves

A graduate of Marquette's sports law program, Heller oversees the legal affairs of the Braves, including stadium and business operations, sales and marketing matters, baseball operations and minor league operations.

Mary Schmitt Boyer, Jour '77
Reporter, Cleveland Plain Dealer

When the LeBron James story hit last year, Schmitt Boyer was all over it. She got her start covering Marquette's Al McGuire and has gone on to an award-winning career reporting on the NBA and the Olympics for Ohio's largest daily newspaper.

Rick Burton, Grad '91
David B. Falk Professor of Sport Management at Syracuse University

A sought-after expert on the industry, Burton started his career in sports and entertainment marketing before transitioning to academia. Along the way, he served as commissioner of the Australia-based National Basketball League and as chief marketing officer for the U.S. Olympic Committee during the Beijing games in 2008.

Lauren Hazuka, Comm '09
Corporate analytics and services coordinator, Minnesota Timberwolves

Employed by one of the NBA's up-and-coming teams, Hazuka works directly with corporate partners through contract execution and event planning and oversees the sales reporting process for the corporate department. 


Comment by Lois ┼hlhauser at Dec 14 2011 12:12 pm
How about some cheers for Marquette graduates of 1947 (Lois-Nursing) and 1948 (John-Journalism) Ahlhauser who are staying fit with a sports/exercise program at MU called the MarqTimers. Other MU grads Senior Sports enthusiasts might want to join us--check with John at the Rec Plex. 414-288-7778. BONUS: Free parking!!
Comment by Jack Skagerberg at Dec 14 2011 02:36 pm
You forgot Charlie Pierce '75. He is a brilliant contributor to Sports Illustrated and many other magazines, newspapers and PBS.
Comment by Allison Wells at Dec 14 2011 02:52 pm
Steve Yanda ('08) worked for the MU Trib as a sports writer and editor and is now a reporter for the Washington Post. He covers mostly college football and basketball, but has also covered assignments in pro football, basketball and baseball.
Comment by Jennifer O'Brien at Dec 28 2011 07:30 am
Rachel Buck (Comm '06) worked for the Washington Capitals in its media relations department, and is currently the Assistant Director for Athletic Communications at George Mason University.
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