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Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Online News Day or Knight - Official news site of North Penn High School - 1340 Valley Forge Rd. Lansdale, PA

The Knight Crier

Alumni Spotlight: Maddie Herman makes a name for herself in the sports industry

Shreeya Patel
Professor Maddie Herman in University Hall at Gywnedd Mercy University holding mascot Merv.

“The professor and teacher that I am today is all a full circle moment because now I get to help students at the highest level.”

Maddie Herman, a North Penn alumni, transitioned from a flourishing career in the sports industry to becoming a highly respected professor at Gwynedd Mercy University.

While attending North Penn High School, Herman was diagnosed with a learning disability in math and organization. As a result, she faced challenges in high school and was uncertain about her future path as an educator.

“For my whole life, I wanted to be a teacher because I wanted to help others the way my teachers were helping me, but when I attended North Penn I was diagnosed with a learning disability in math and organization so I was struggling a lot in high school and I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do,” Herman stated.

After her diagnosis, Herman struggled to get into college as an education major. Herman knew that she needed to find something else she was passionate about if she wanted to get accepted into college. Herman eventually found that passion after the Philadelphia Phillies’ 2008 World Series. 

“When the Phillies won the World Series in 2008, I fell in love with baseball and the world of sports. I was so in love with baseball statistics like ERA and learning about all the players involved. But what I really love is how baseball connected to people and I love everything about it,” Herman explained. “I learned that sports management was a major while applying to colleges because I was having a hard time getting in as an education major. I got into East Stroudsburg University for Sport Management and that was where it all started for me”. 

Herman emphasized the impact of supportive teachers at North Penn, who instilled the belief that students can achieve anything they set their minds to. She now carries this philosophy into her classroom, aiming to inspire and empower her students.

If you support students and help them believe they can do anything they want. That is what my teachers at North Penn taught me, and I get to implement that into my everyday classroom.

— Maddie Herman

“If you support students and help them believe they can do anything they want. That is what my teachers at North Penn taught me, and I get to implement that into my everyday classroom,” Herman stated.

While in college, Herman interned at Villanova in the athletic department’s facility and operations. Despite initially pursuing a career in college athletics and facilities, the internship did not turn out to be as enjoyable as expected. 

“In college, I had to do an internship. I did my culminating internship for credit at Villanova and their athletic department in facility and operations. I worked at Villanova, and I had two different experiences at Villanova. When I went to East Stroudsburg, I worked at our rec center all four years, and I loved working in facility management and fitness,” Herman stated. “I was looking at going into college athletics and operations and facilities. So, I did my internship there and ended up not loving it. It was not fun for me, and I wasn’t enjoying it, and it was hard for me. So I look back on it and actually really enjoyed it because sometimes when you’re in something, it’s hard to see out of it”. 

During a full-time internship at Villanova, Herman took on a fitness center operations and program management role. This experience of campus recreation led her to realize the appeal of staying in the field. 

“While I was at Villanova, a full-time internship opened for the following year from August to May in fitness center operations and program management. It was a full-time, nine-month position. So, I wanted to return to Life Fitness Center management and those facilities. This is the year when they won the national championship in 2016,” Herman stated. “It was a really cool experience. That experience at Villanova is what made me realize that I want to stay in Campus Recreation, which is an avenue that a lot of sports management students aren’t aware of because they think of that like professional sports and college athletics, but Campus Rec is so fun, because you get to do a lot of student programming, and work in athletics, and still with students”.  

After working with the Villanova Wildcats, Herman got a position working for the Philadelphia 76ers. While with the 76ers, she had a significant role in working closely with former Sixer Thaddeus Young.

“When I was with the Philadelphia 76ers, I was working with one specific player a lot, Thaddeus Young, who is now on the Toronto Raptors. I was helping run his camp, specifically helping run his charity event in the winter. It was event management, and you’re just thrown into it; I had to help with registration and ensure we had enough food for the participants, his staff, and his people,” Herman explained. “Working in a high-stakes setting like that and working on my professionalism and communication, problem-solving, and decision-making. These were the most important things I learned when working with the Sixers”. 

Young and the Sixers had tweeted about the need for assistance with Young’s camps, and the person responded on Twitter. This interaction led to Herman’s involvement with the team, marking the beginning of a significant chapter in her sports journey.

“One of the coolest things from my Sixers experience is that I got the opportunity through Twitter, and Young and the Sixers tweeted that he was looking for assistance for his camps. And I like tweeted him back. And the rest was history,“ Herman stated with a smile.

Meeting Young was a highly memorable moment for Herman. Working with Young and being involved in the events, surrounded by fans, security, and the larger-than-life atmosphere, made Herman realize she was contributing to something beyond herself. 

“When I just got to meet Thad Young it was a really memorable moment for me. But, as a fan, when I started with my love for the Phillies, I then fell in love with the Sixers when I was in college, and like meeting him and seeing like, oh my god, this is a real person,” Herman exclaimed. “I think when I was working with Young, and all these kids were there and security and you’re around this, I’m working for something so much bigger than myself. And the way people connect to it, and I get to help be a part of that. And that’s how I explained what sports management is like when working for a team.” 

In the sports industry, gender bias is a significant issue. Despite these stereotypes, Herman embraced the challenge, recognizing she needed to work harder as a woman in the field. Herman disclosed that as a sports management professor, she does occasionally encounter doubt from students.

“It’s interesting because when I became a sports management major, the program coordinator was a woman. So when I went to declare my major, I never questioned it. Then as I started trying to get internships and volunteer, I noticed how many males were in my classes. I remember being like, okay, this is weird, but I never let it get to me. It never made me feel anything other than more determined to work extra hard,” Herman said. “I’ve always just had to work harder. But when I started working in the industry, I got the, ‘What do you know about sports’? It does happen, and it will continue to until women are like the majority and the equals of men in sports, but it’s gotten better. And sometimes, as a sports management professor, I get that a lot too, that they see this young female standing in front of the class, and they look at me like, what does she know? I can see it on their faces. And then I just start doing my thing and realize, like, I am a professional”. 

At Gwynedd Mercy University, Herman initiated and developed the intramural program and recreation from the ground up.

“At Gwynedd Mercy University, I started their intramural program and recreation from scratch. I built it up to 100 participants per year and 30 staff members, and we created something really important to our campus culture,” Herman explained. “I got to work with students and in sports, and that’s the best of both worlds to me because I love working with students so much and I love connecting with them. And that we love sports”. 

Having worked in the GMU athletic department for five years, Herman became involved in mentoring students through their role in intramurals and her connection with the sports management program at East Stroudsburg. 

“I worked in the athletic department for five years at that point. And through intramurals, I ended up mentoring students. Students would just come to know about sports management things as I was involved with the sports management still at East Stroudsburg. Then, I found out that the former professor was retiring, so I reached out to the program coordinator at the Business School of Arts for Sports Management and asked if there were any opportunities,” Herman shared. “There was a chance to adjunct teach, which means just teaching in one class, not as a full-time faculty member, just on an interim basis. At the same time, I was also starting my doctorate because I knew I wanted to be a professor. And then, the full-time position for Sports Management Professor opened up. I ended up interviewing for the faculty position and got it. It was like a dream come true”. 

One of the key lessons Herman learned from working in sports is the importance of collaboration and professional teamwork. 

“I think one of the most important things I learned working in sports is the importance of working with others professionally. Like problem-solving, be able to think really quickly on your feet. I bring that into what I do now into teaching. And when you think of teaching, and you think of education, you think of tests and quizzes, and, you know, papers and things like that,” Herman explained. “From the skills that I learned working in the sports industry, I find that the most important thing that I can do for my students from my experience is to give them relevant experience in the classroom. Being able to use those skills that I learned in sports, working in the sports industry, and bringing that into practice and into the classroom is the most important thing I can do to help prepare them and students for the sports industry”. 

Herman’s advice to those interested in the sports industry includes actively participating in career fairs, attending guest speaker events, and volunteering to gain hands-on experience. She emphasized the value of standing out by demonstrating genuine passion and commitment. 

“The sports industry is the most amazing career path there is. Being a part of something that’s so much bigger than yourself is just amazing, but to be successful, my advice to people who are interested in it is to learn as much as you can, make a Twitter/X account, and follow Front Office Sports or make the LinkedIn and follow some professionals in the sports industry. Be a sponge and soak up all the information you can and then when you do, even when you’re in high school and college, go to these different career fairs, go to different guest speakers just be a sponge and learn,” Herman advised. “Then once you know what you are doing start, volunteering. A lot of people are looking for paid positions now but what’s setting you apart, right? You’re going to volunteer and do something you know you’re doing just because you want to. Those are the things that employers notice. Sports is the most fun and rewarding industry ever”. 

Working in sports is so much bigger than yourself. And sport is such a big part of our world. And we get to work like one little part of something that’s in a bigger picture. I think it’s so cool. And working in sports, there’s something for everyone.

— Maddie Herman

“Working in sports is so much bigger than yourself. And sport is such a big part of our world. And we get to work like one little part of something that’s in a bigger picture. I think it’s so cool. And working in sports, there’s something for everyone,” Herman exclaimed.

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