Express Alumni Update: Collin Yeager
It is time for another Express Alumni Update with the help of Lakeland University. Today we were able to catch up with Collin Yeager, Eau Claire’s Director of Marketing and Corporate Service for two seasons from 2017-2018. Yeager is currently an Assistant Director of Strategic Communications at the University of Central Florida and along with a litany of additional sports, is the communications contact for the Knights baseball team.
Eau Claire Express: How did you get your start in the sports industry?
Collin Yeager: I got my start in the sports industry as a student at the University of Central Florida. I remember changing my major four or five times, feeling clueless as to what I wanted to do after school was over. Some of my friends pointed out that my passion was clearly sports, being around sports, going to games, talking about my favorite teams, etc. and decided to look into the types of full-time roles that would interest me. Thankfully I was in Orlando, which offered a plethora of options for collegiate and professional teams to gain experience with.
My first internship came in the summer of 2015 with the Florida Collegiate Summer League, a non-profit summer collegiate baseball league in Central Florida that operated similarly to the Northwoods League. The following semester I gained internships in the marketing department of the UCF Athletics department, as well as Orlando City Soccer Club who had just transitioned to Major League Soccer from the minor league ranks.
ECE: You’ve worked with college athletes at multiple different levels of sport, what draws you towards working with collegiate athletes?
CY: I believe there’s a certain level of passion that you get with college sports, that you don’t get at other levels. That passion from collegiate athletes is infectious and makes it very easy to head to the office when you know all of your coworkers, coaches, support staff and athletes are so passionate about what they’re doing day in day out.
Selfishly, I also enjoy the variety that comes with multiple sport assignments, rather than just focusing on the same sport year-round.
ECE: In the sports industry there is often not a lot of time to relax in season, at the end of the season what do you like to do to reflect upon what you and your teams have accomplished?
CY: Due to bouncing around a handful of times in my young career working in the sports industry, I haven’t had many opportunities to enjoy an off-season, or look back and reflect on the accomplishments of a season. In the few off-season’s I’ve enjoyed, I usually try to escape from work to take some time for myself, spend some time with friends and family. After taking a break, I like to look back to see what worked and why, what could use some work moving forward, or what types of things that were done that need to be reevaluated.
ECE: What are your fondest memories of your time with the Express both on and off the field?
CY: My most fond memories with the Express come from the team staff and people of Eau Claire. When I moved from Florida to Wisconsin, I had never been to Wisconsin and didn’t know anybody in Eau Claire but I was welcomed like family by everyone. Express front off staff, part-time staff, interns, and the Eau Claire community welcomed me with open arms since my first day in Eau Claire.
ECE: How do you feel the Express helped you develop professionally?
CY: Working in Eau Claire was an experience like no other. As the Director of Marketing and Corporate Service, it was my first real experience managing a brand on my own. I was able to create graphics, run social media accounts, manage a website, and so much more in a way that allowed me to grow professionally than I ever could’ve imagined.
ECE: Do you have any advice for interns and young professionals in the sports industry?
CY: Ask plenty of questions and be a sponge. I believe that learning something new or enhancing an already existing skill, can be the most valuable thing for anybody in the sports industry.
Be willing to tackle any job, no matter how big or small.
Finally – Network, network, network. A large majority of the movement in my career has been due to knowing somebody within the organization that I was applying to.
The Eau Claire Express are a member of the finest developmental league for elite college baseball players, the Northwoods League. The Northwoods League is the proven leader in the development of elite college baseball players. Having completed its’ 26th season, the Northwoods League is the largest organized baseball league in the world with 22 teams, drawing significantly more fans, in a friendly ballpark experience, than any league of its kind. A valuable training ground for coaches, umpires and front office staff, over 230 Northwoods League players have advanced to Major League Baseball, including three-time All-Star and 2016 Roberto Clemente Award winner Curtis Granderson, three-time Cy Young Award winner and World Series Champion Max Scherzer (WAS), two-time World Series Champions Ben Zobrist (CHC) and Brandon Crawford (SFG) and World Series Champion Chris Sale (BOS). As well as 2019 Rookie of the Year and Home Run Derby Champion Pete Alonso (NYM) and MLB All-Star Jordan Zimmermann (DET). All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League website. All league games are viewable live via the Northwoods League portal. For more information, visit www.eauclaireexpress.com or download the new Northwoods League Mobile App on the Apple App Store or on Google Play and set the Express as your favorite team.