It might not be the most glamorous or well-known position with a sports franchise, but the role of director of player personnel is crucial to its success. Directors of player personnel serve at the collegiate and professional levels and in every type of sport. Women have made strides breaking into professional sports as athletes. However, outside of women's pro leagues such as the WNBA, the number of females in front offices, including as directors of player personnel, is still low. For example, in Major League Baseball in 2012, women made up only 18 percent of all senior administrators.
What It Takes
A four-year bachelor’s degree is typically all it takes to earn a spot as a director of player personnel. Most employers are more concerned with your professional experience. They typically ask for a minimum number of years of experience in sports management, sports administration or other front office positions. You should also have a solid background in whatever type of sport employs you. Prior to taking over as director of player personnel, many directors played or coached that sport previously.
Special Skills You’ll Need
Along with education and experience, you’ll need certain skills. These include management, general business and accounting skills for handling contracts and team budgets. When seeking out new recruits and players, you’ll need excellent communication skills, both written and oral, and also be able to relate to a variety of different types of athletes from different backgrounds, some with large egos. You should be well-organized and have a keen eye for detail, especially when going over player contracts. The ability to multitask is another must. Since you’ll be doing a lot of traveling, you should be flexible and willing to put in long hours.
Day-to-Day Job Duties
Similar to how a human resources director oversees the employees at her company, the director of player personnel manages players on a team. In some cases, you might manage the contracts of players and negotiate with players or their agents, all while staying within your team's salary cap. You’re also the player's liaison to the team’s front office. As director of player personnel, you develop relationships with the players, answering their questions, addressing their concerns and providing them with professional support. Depending on the team, you might also manage the players’ travel details for away games, setting up flights and hotels.
Another big part of your job as director of player personnel is evaluating and recruiting new talent to the team. At the college level, the director might oversee the recruitment process by visiting high schools, using recruiting websites and viewing game tapes. You’ll gather as much information about each player as possible, using that information to evaluate players and make decisions on who to woo to your team. The director of player personnel and coaching staff send letters, write emails, make phone calls and visit recruits in person. At the professional level, directors of player personnel help search out talent at the high school, college, amateur and pro levels to find players with the talent to help the team succeed. Because of this, directors of player personnel must have a keep eye for an athlete's physical and mental skills.
Lindsey Thompson began her writing career in 2001. Her work has been published in the Cincinnati Art Museum's "Member Magazine" and "The Ohio Journalist." You'll also find her work on websites like Airbnb, Chron.com, and USAToday.com. Thompson holds a Bachelor of Science in journalism from the Scripps School of Journalism at Ohio University.