Even if you’re too skinny or the wrong sex to make it as a linebacker in the NFL you can still have a career in football.
With a background in everything from public relations to groundskeeper to referee, odds are you can win a spot with a football team.
Cary Tapper, a former SDSU grad in communications recently made the move to Canada to become a part-time announcer for the Winnipeg Blue Bombers, a Canadian football team in Manitoba.
“It’s freezing up here but I love this job,” said Tapper. “Football is in my blood. I know I’ll end up back in the States, and my dream is to announce for ESPN. If I have to start my career in the middle of Canada so be it. I still get to work in football.”
The National Football League has a website that lists internships and jobs. NFL.com posts jobs as diverse as their teams: news producer, account coordinator, and mobile apps project manager are just some of the gigs listed on their site.
As for coaching — these jobs can be more rare than a Chargers Super Bowl title. But there are positions for those who understand the X’s and O’s of the game.
Dave Knight was an assistant football coach for more than two dozen high school and college teams before he hung up his whistle.
“I coached so many teams and moved so many times I don’t even remember them all,” said Knight of Escondido. “I love football and I love kids. I never got to play for the big guys but I had a hell of a career. Now I just watch the game on TV.”
NCAA.org lists a few coaching jobs, but for the most part this coveted position is by word-of-mouth a reputation.
“I would get fired on a Monday and have a new position usually within a few weeks, because people knew me,” Knight said. “It’s a crazy life unless you love the game.”
If you’re good enough to coach college kids the pay is pretty good. According to Education Portal, Salary.com lists the average salary range for lower-tier coaches between $55,000 and $91,000, and the big dogs can receive paychecks over $2 million.
For those brave enough, referee jobs can be found on sites such as Indeed.com. The average salary for this unappreciated gig is around $24,000 a year, so a second job is usually recommended.
“I started as a ref by volunteering in my brother’s Pop Warner games and went on to ref in high school games,” said Josh Kai of Del Mar. “I would like to ref some college games or a pro game someday, but I doubt it will happen. I’m getting my degree in accounting to make my parents happy and earn a paycheck, but being a football ref is my dream job.”
Sportsmanagementworldwide.com offers online classes in football scouting, management, and marketing. While college classes in business and accounting are a good way to go, you most likely need to have suited up and caught a few passes before you can make it as a coach. Workinsports.com is a top site to find the gig you want in the football industry including coaching careers.
Football is more often than not seen as a manly sport, but the girls can cash in on game day as well.
Football offers woman the opportunity to be part of the team as doctors, athletic trainers, board members, communication specialists, stadium managers, hospitality managers, football journalists, catering managers, sports agents, and cheerleader coaches.
Kathy Michaels was a cheerleader for Poway High School 30 years ago and parlayed her cartwheeling skills into a career.
“I was an assistant cheer coach at Oklahoma for five years and went on to coach in Virginia,” she said. “Cheer is big at the college level, and back then not a lot of women took their cheer abilities as far as I did. Football isn’t always welcoming to women, but cheerleaders are another story.”