Author: Melanie Conner
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Start a sports management degree at American Public University.
By Melanie Conner, APUS Alumni Affairs Liaison and Malone Silver, APU Graduate
Malone Silver has won numerous sports awards. In 2008, he was a North Carolina All-State football player in high school. He was also a football student-athlete at Elizabeth City State University. In 2018, he received the Professional Promise Award presented by the National Association of Academic and Student-Athlete Development Professionals for his dedication and service to student athletes.
As an APU student, Malone completed a master of science in sports management in 2014. After graduation, he worked in collegiate athletics at Prairie View A&M University, where he was the football advisor and the men’s and women’s basketball advisor.
In his role as an advisor, he guided student athletes on academics and helped with day-to-day life at the university. That included tutoring, academic coach sessions, time management skills, tools needed to be successful academically and socially, and help with finding internships.
In 2018, Malone accepted a similar position at the University of South Carolina, where he currently serves as the football academic advisor. In his role, he is responsible for providing student athletes with academic advice, counseling and life skills that will prepare them for life after college athletics. Malone also ensures that student athletes keep up with all NCAA eligibility rules.
We connected with Malone to learn more about his career as a football advisor and his interest in the sports management field.
What inspired you to pursue a career in this field?
My passion is helping people reach their full potential not just in sports, but in life as well.
As a child, I always wanted to influence lives of other people, and I wanted to use my personal experiences to help people. My schooling background, involvement in sports, and strong coaches have given me a teammate mentality, which drove me to share with others and make an impression with students and people.
Has the knowledge you acquired for your master’s degree assisted you in the field?
Absolutely! The master’s program at APU helped me to gain the knowledge and the understanding for working in collegiate athletics. I learned the importance of constant communication and the value of using resources. The courses broadened my intellect within the sports management field.
What are the biggest challenges that you face in your role?
The biggest challenge as a football advisor is getting young men and woman to understand that there is life after their playing careers.
I help these athletes focus on finding internships and provide one-on-one counseling where I meet with students on daily basis to talk about real-life experiences. I challenge them to think about the transition from college football to the real world and I teach them important life skills, such as budgeting bills.
I stress the importance of finding a niche outside of football, and I act as a motivational tool by sharing my personal experiences and the journey that led me from a high school football star to a football advisor. I share the resources that ultimately get them to where they need to go.
What advice do you have to give to people seeking a career in your field?
I would say to get as much experience as possible. For example, look at paid or unpaid internships.
Also, attend conferences and workshops. Two that I recommend are the Breaking into Sports Workshop hosted by the Charlotte Hornets and the National Association of Collegiate Directors of Athletics (NACDA) Conference.
Most of all, don’t be afraid to put yourself out there and let people know who you are. Find a mentor to advise you.
What is your greatest accomplishment to date?
Being in a position to see young men and woman that I have advised succeed in life, whether that’s graduating college or getting that job that they have been working hard for.
One particular young student was the first in his family to go to college. He went to college to play a sport, and he was in a situation where people had not talked to him about life beyond sports.
I took him under my wing to share that there is more to life beyond sports. We had real-life conversations and I shared the potential of what could happen if he excelled academically.
I didn’t let him take any shortcuts and held him accountable. We had daily check-ins and his grades changed drastically within the first semester once he saw that I cared about him. He ended his first semester with a 3.000 GPA, and this spring, he will be a first-generation graduate.
This young man expressed gratitude to me saying that his success was a testament to my staying on him as a mentor and a father figure.
What is your life motto and why?
My life motto is work hard in everything that I do and be passionate about what I want out of life. This motto helps me to be humble and to treat people well.
What do you do in your free time?
I like to attend sporting events, travel to experience various cultures and historic monuments, and play intramural sports.