Assistant Director of Missouri Sports Hall of Fame: Ken Knierim, Missouri Sports Hall of Fame, Springfield, Missouri

Below is the results of an interview between Seth Bayless, an Entertainment Management student at Missouri State University and Ken Knierim, the Assistant Director of the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame. The interview was conducted in the fall of 2001.

Q: Could you give me a description of what your job details?
Ken: My title here at the Missouri Sports Hall of Fame is Assistant Director and I work along with our president and executive director Jerald Andrews and also associate executive director Kurk Elmquist. The three of us primarily handle the fund raising. Being a not for profit organization the only way were funded is through moneys and dollars were able to raise through the events we have here at the hall of fame. Among other duties we all pitch in on events. We do primarily fund raising for the hall.

Q: What would you consider being some of the pros and the cons the job?
Ken: There are a lot of pros. Number one I enjoy the job and love working with sports and trying to do what we can to preserve the past and look to the future as far as Missouri sports and be able to perpetually commemorate all events and great athlete that have come through the state of Missouri either born here and played some were else or born else were and play in Missouri. Being able to perpetually commemorate there achievements in what ever sports its been every thing from auto racing to golf, bowling, swimming, baseball, basketball, football all those sports. That is the greatest joy I have plus being around it every day. That’s my passion and I really enjoy it. One of the cons would be not being able to make all the sales you want to make and not having more people involved in what your trying to do, were getting there and it takes time, but we will get there.

Q: What does your workday or workweek consist of? And what hours?
Ken: I come in each day and my responsibility are varied. I work in sales and fund raising for the hall. That?s the primary thing in my responsibilities and that is any event we have we sell tables for luncheons, we sell teams for golf tournaments, we sell tables for the enshrinement banquet, we promote running for our hill of fame run, and what ever other events we may put on. What I’m constantly doing is canvassing southwest Missouri for businesses that are interested in what were trying to do at the hall of fame. We are always looking for corporate sponsors; we have 26 of those right now here at the sports hall of fame. With there corporate sponsorship they get two teams at all our golf tournaments, they have a table at ever luncheon, and a table at the enshrinement banquet. I am also responsible for the brick sells on the front walk. We do that with the people that have done a great job at whatever sport they have participated in. We try and have the families or High Schools purchase a brick on there behalf for winning individual state championships in wrestling, golf, tennis, soccer, basketball, baseball, and football. When people come to the hall of fame they stop and look at that on their way in. I’m also in charge of the gift shop. I work very closely with Jerry Vickery who is our curator. We are now in the process of redoing our gift shop. We are giving it a different look and bring in some new items that will help bring in some new revenue. I also work with the tourism industry. Now we are working on a package with Grayline. The people that go to Branson can stop here go to Bass Pro, stop here at the Hall of Fame, and then catch a Ducks game. This would put together a sports package, and we’re working with them on that. Our hours vary. Normally I’m here by eight o’clock in the morning and usually leave at five. When we have an event or a luncheon it may detail longer hours especially at enshrinement time we normally work all day Saturday because the enshrinement is on Sunday night. We have to get all the tables and items out there for the event. It’s the same with the luncheons at the hall of fame; we put everything up and take it all down.

Q: What career path would you recommend for someone wanting to get into this business?
Ken: My major in school was communication studies and my interest was radio and television. I would recommend for anyone wanting to get into the entertainment management industry to hook up with anyone in the business. When I was in college for two years in Oklahoma I worked with a radio station there and traveled with the play-by-play gentleman who was the sports director. At that time they did games for two high schools and Oklahoma Westly University. I would go with him and work for nothing and it got to the point were he would let me do some of the play by play along with him. I would say do anything you can to get experiences, any kind of internship. I would say the best thing to do would be aggressive, assertive, and enthusiastic, and approach people and say this is what I want to do is there anyway I can help at no cost to you I just want to gain the experience.

Q: What education and what skills would you recommend for someone?
Ken: I think the key things today is try and get some business experience, and major in Entertainment Management. Get some communication skills as well, that will help you all through life no mater what your doing. Be well versed in technology because every thing today is done on a computer. I would say any kind of technology classes and any kind of business and finance will also be very helpful. The more you know and the more you’re exposed to the business the better off you’ll be.

Q: What type of personality does some one need?
Ken: Really needs to be a type A person. Not necessarily a dominant person, but someone who is aggressive, assertive, and not afraid to approach people. You can’t set down someone who owns a business and be intimidated by them or there title. You must be a good communicator, tell people what you want, and don’t be afraid to ask for what you want.

Q: What draws people to this career?
Ken: I think their passion for sports. In this business there are a very few people at the top making a lot of money and there are other people that don’t make a lot of money. The bad rap on this industry is it’s something everyone wants to do so we don’t have to pay people very much to do it.

Q: What kind of salary range could someone expect?
Ken: I would say particularly in this business (sports event marketing) coming out of school around $30,000, but sometimes with the major sports organizations you could make from $25,000 up to $500,000 or even more. It’s a wide range based on the position you have and the responsibility. I think it would be safe to say $25,000 and up.

Q: How fast could someone expect to advance?
Ken: I would say don’t be in a hurry to get married if you want to excel in your career. If you want to advance fast you need to put all your energy to that and sometimes family can take away from that, and with good reason. It’s hard to work 60 or 70 hours a week and maintain a healthy relationship with a spouse. I would say the biggest key to advancement is mobility and if your single your obviously more mobile than if your married and your spouse has a career also. Mobility is the big factor. For example Herk Robinson wasn’t general manager before he came to the Royals in the 80?s, but he was mobile and able to move to make a career change.

Q: How limited are the job opportunities?
Ken: As far as entertainment management I would think there would several opportunities for someone wanting to get into sports marketing or work for a professional organization. There are about thirty-two teams in every sport meaning the big three (football, basketball, and baseball). There are also several minor league teams that feed into these organizations. Too get into those jobs it come down to whom you know and how well you network.