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Will Rock Sports Executive Showcase- Rob Kristiniak | Associate Athletic Director

Updated: Mar 17, 2023

Why do you work in the sports industry?

Sports has always been a huge part of my life growing up so keeping that in my life as I moved into the working world only seemed right. Additionally, being in this industry isn’t all that different than being part of a team… you are all pushing towards a common goal(s), you feel the emotions of the big wins or the heartbreak losses, etc. My goal is to continue to help people develop and achieve their goals within this industry.

When starting with your current organization, what were some factors that weighed into your decision?

  • Who I am working for/ alongside is extremely important. I didn’t think of this as much as I should have when I was first starting out but looking back, I have been extremely fortunate to have had amazing bosses for my career.

  • The Penn State brand not only within college athletics but sports in general, It doesn’t get much bigger. Along with that really felt there were opportunities to be a part of something special and the ability to come in and help make an impact.

  • The location and being able to provide a positive work-life balance that allows me to support and see my family.

What do you look for in potential candidates?

I look to see if the person is coachable, do they fit the culture we are looking to build, would they be a great teammate, and lastly their growth potential. I try to find people I could see running a team/department at some point in their career. These are essential traits I look for in any candidate whether I’ve been looking to fill an Internship position or an Assistant Athletic Director position.

What has been your most memorable moment working in the sports Industry?

There are a number I could list but from a personal and professional standpoint I would say closing down the Spectrum in Philly before it was to get demolished, while I was working in the AHL with the Philadelphia Phantoms. The last game was sold out and we were trying to find every way possible for fans to experience that last game in person to be a part of history. The place was packed, electric, and closed it down with a win! Personally, I had a ton of childhood memories going to Flyers games there with my parents and was essentially my introduction into professional sports outside of me playing as a kid.

What advice would you give sports executives in similar roles to yours?

Control the controllables, and focus/invest in your people.

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