DAPHNE, Ala. – United States Sports Academy alumna Karen M. Carty is using her master’s degree to lead the sports marketing program at Louisiana’s Grambling State University (GSU).
A native of St. Croix in the U.S. Virgin Islands, Carty is completing her first year as the assistant athletics director for marketing and communications at GSU. Prior to Grambling, Carty worked in the athletics department at South Carolina State University (SCSU) as the director of marketing and in media relations for the school’s volleyball, women’s soccer, women’s basketball and softball teams.
Carty earned her Master of Sports Science degree in sports management from the Academy in 2009. She earned her bachelor’s degree in business from Norfolk State University (NSU) in Norfolk, Va., where she played collegiate tennis.
“I chose to pursue my master’s degree at the Academy because I knew I wanted to work in sports and I felt that the classes offered by the Academy would properly prepare me for the career I wanted,” Carty said, noting that the Academy’s expansive network of graduates also led her to her final decision. “I spoke to an alumnus of the Academy who was on the football coaching staff at NSU and he had great things to say about the program.”
Because of the Academy’s flexible scheduling, rolling enrollments and online learning options, Carty was able to work full time in the sports field while pursuing her master’s degree.
“The absolute best part about earning my degree was that I was working in sports while I was going to school, so just about everything I was learning was being practically applied at work,” Carty said.
“Additionally, I used what I was learning to help me stand out in my department, which ultimately prepared me for the journey that has been my career in sports. Earning my degree from an institution that only focuses on sports made sense because I knew I was going to be trained by faculty who were well-versed in teaching a sports curriculum.
“I thoroughly enjoyed my time at the Academy. The faculty and staff were amazing and very helpful. I always make sure to have my degree hanging in my office so that when students come in and see it, I can tell them about my great experience getting my degree from the Academy.”
At Grambling, Carty is responsible for all marketing and promotional efforts for the athletics department, as well as enhancing Grambling’s game-day experience. She oversees the institution’s sports information office and staff.
“The biggest parts of my job are formulating game scripts for all of our home games and ensuring that all of our sponsorship activations are properly executed,” Carty said. “What I like most about what I do is seeing our fans and student-athletes enjoy an event or promotion I planned and executed. Knowing that people are enjoying the things that I planned brings me great joy.”
Carty’s 14-year career in sports began when she worked in the sports information department at NSU as an assistant sports information director. From there, she worked three years as the head sports information director at Baltimore (Md.) City Community College.
Carty later worked at SCSU, where she worked as the assistant sports information director and was promoted to director of athletic marketing after eight months on the job. She was named the South Carolina State University Staff Employee of the Year and Staff Employee of the Year for the Division of Athletics after the 2015-16 academic year. She also served on the SCSU planning committees for its Athletics Hall of Fame, Homecoming, Sports Awards Banquet and Former Athletes Golf Tournament.
“At SCSU, I was charged with increasing season ticket sales/game attendance for the 2015 football season, but I did not have a budget to do any paid advertising,” Carty said. “Leading into the season, I used a no-cost digital marketing campaign to increase average attendance by 5,000 fans per game, helping SCSU to lead the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in average attendance (15,629) in 2015 and rank 10th in the Football Championship Subdivision (FCS).”
The Academy is an independent, non-profit, accredited, special mission sports university created to serve the nation and world with programs in instruction, research and service. The role of the Academy is to prepare men and women for careers in the profession of sports.
The Academy is based in Daphne, Ala. For more information, call (251) 626-3303 or visit www.ussa.edu.