Have you ever attended a football or basketball game on campus? Or have you seen the other great 20 sports teams compete at home?
Well if you have, Rich Carragher, Associate Athletic Director For Event Management, and Patrick Pagano, Associate Athletic Director for Facilities and Operations, are the two individuals who share an important role in making the regular season/championship games a reality.
Some of their many responsibilities include managing all the games, reaching out to visiting coaches and referees, and preparing the stadium, lockers rooms, lineups and fields.
“My experience has been great. It is always a thrill to be on the sidelines and be close to the action,” Carragher said, reflecting on his experience as a manager. He graduated with a business degree from St. Joseph’s University in Philadelphia and has been with Monmouth University since 2001.
During his time at the Jesuit college, Carragher was the manager of the St. Joe’s Hawks elite men’s basketball team. Since he grew up in Spring Lake, he has always been aware of Monmouth’s influence in the local community. Sports have also always been a critical part of Carragher’s life as well; he played baseball and ran cross country in high school. Carragher is a fan of the Hawks, but also enjoys watching the Philadelphia Eagles, New York Yankees, college basketball, and horse racing.
Pagano, who recently joined the University in October 2021, is native to Hamilton Township and attended Towson University obtaining his bachelor’s degree in sports management, and his masters in sports business administration at Temple University. During his time at Towson University, he gained experience working as a supervisor for the sporting events.
With so much preparation needed in order for a game to run smoothly, Pagano and Carragher receive help from a team of students and community members to make the magic happen.
Orlando Ferreira, a junior homeland security student, talked about his experience as an event staffer working directly with Carragher and Pagano.
Pagano and Carragher both agreed that their respective positions allowed them to get to know other people within the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA).
Carragher said, “It is a great way to meet and network with others in the large world of college athletics. It is always fun to watch a major event on TV like the Final Four and see referees on a major stage that worked a basketball game at Monmouth earlier in the year.”
Pagano added, “Most people hold big name coaches and officials in a higher regard, but in reality, they’re just regular people with a passion for sports.”
Every job comes with its challenges, and these are not the exception. Pagano explained, “Sometimes you come across individuals who aren’t the easiest or best to work with, but by and large, most are good people. You make personal relationships and connections with many of them.”
Nevertheless, what they have learned throughout their roles outweigh any obstacles they may face. Carragher mentioned that this role has helped him learn more about sports he wasn’t so familiar with, like lacrosse or field hockey. At the end of the day, Carragher was able to understand how fast paced and exciting the world of sports can be.
Pagano noted that overseeing 24 sports has helped give him a different perspective about the athletic environment. He explained, “My exposure and interest to sports such as rowing/crew and track and field was limited to major events like the Olympics. Now, I deal with those programs daily and am much more intertwined into the game and the inner workings of it.”
Lu-Ann Russell, Senior Director of Conference Services and Special Events, works collaboratively with the Athletics Department for the utilization of space for internal and external clients
Russell said” Rich and Pat not only assist in the formal execution of the event but also serve on committees to ensure a voice from the Department is heard in the creation of the event.”
Russell also emphasized the vital role that the events team of students and staff play when it comes to retaining clients year after year. “Whether they are converting the space, scanning tickets for entry, or picking up trash left behind, they do it with a smile. We cannot say thank you, enough.”
Becoming an event staffer gives students who are passionate about sports the ability to be a part of this world on a regular basis while picking up career skills for the future.
Ferreira said, “I definitely made friends and I did get to appreciate other sports on campus during this job, especially because most of the events were my first experience working at them or even seeing them, such as football.”
Carragher noted, “The Event Staff job is a great way to build customer service skills by the frequent interaction with spectators.”
Pagano added, “The event staff provides a fun and engaging atmosphere for you to meet your fellow classmates and grow your network. We employ a wide range of students with different majors as well as athletes, so it definitely gives you the chance to become friends with individuals you never thought that you would.”
He also highlighted that not everything is about work, because they also have fun. Pagano mentioned that this is a great opportunity for students to get their foot in the door if they are interested in event management or hospitality.
Carragher concluded, “Working in Event Management is a rewarding career, and the Monmouth community is a great place to be a part of. I’ve certainly enjoyed being a part of it for 21 years.”