University of Nebraska–Lincoln alumnus Kyle Doperalski ’05 shared his career experience in athletics with the master of arts in business with a specialization in intercollegiate athletics administration (MAIAA) first-year students on October 30. For the last five-and-a-half years, Doperalski has worked as the associate athletics director of external operations at the University of North Dakota in Grand Forks, North Dakota and also serves as an MAIAA advisory board member.
A former track and field standout at Nebraska from 2002-05, Doperalski's experiences as a student-athlete and student assistant in the Nebraska Department of Athletics led him to pursue a career in the field. While an undergraduate student, he spent any free time he had working in the Sports Information Office.
“When I first heard about this MAIAA program, I wanted to get involved,” said Doperalski. “The focused curriculum combined with the hands-on experiences in Nebraska Athletics will give these students a significant step up when it comes to applying for jobs in college athletics.”
In his current position at North Dakota, he oversees media relations, marketing, video production, broadcast properties, sponsorships and licensing along with other responsibilities in event management and sport supervision. After leaving Nebraska in 2005, he landed his first position as the Aggie Sports Network broadcast coordinator at New Mexico State University in Las Cruces, New Mexico. Doperalski quickly proved his worth, building a television broadcast network called “Aggie Vision” from scratch, which provided live telecasts of Aggie sporting events to over eight million homes.
“Maybe the biggest reason I am at North Dakota is because I had the opportunity to create and develop Aggie Vision along with two talented NMSU students. I learned how to work with regional sports networks such as FOX Sports Arizona and Time Warner Cable Metro Sports along with securing distribution throughout New Mexico on Comcast. At that time only football and men’s basketball had games produced for television. Aggie Vision significantly increased exposure for those sports and also produced several volleyball, women’s basketball, softball and baseball games. My advice to young professionals today is to find your niche in what you are really good at and work your tail off to provide value to your department. If you have an idea and think it can help the department, keep working on it even if people do not believe in it at first,” he said.
Despite working in an athletic department he enjoys, his journey had some twists and turns. Wanting to be a Division I sports broadcaster, the year after graduation, he emailed all 323 (at the time) schools with Division I basketball programs to see if there were any opportunities. New Mexico State answered his email and he worked there for over six years gaining valuable experience in many different areas such as broadcast, media relations, marketing and sponsorship. He took the job because of the on-air opportunities but quickly realized he could contribute to the department on the administrative side.
His experience implementing and developing Aggie Vision helped him find the North Dakota opportunity. He also relied on past connections and references.
“I want the MAIAA students to know it can be a wild journey working in this industry at times. They have to love what they do and never take anything for granted,” he said.
Applications for admittance into the 2018 MAIAA cohort are due by February 1, 2018. Go to: business.unl.edu/maiaa
for more information.