Sports

Professors from the Pitch: Jones, Berkopec Take on the Classroom

Loyola AthleticsLoyola men’s soccer head coach Neil Jones and women’s soccer assistant coach Katie Berkopec are teaching classes at Loyola this semester. Jones teaches Globalization of the Sport Industry and Berkopec teaches Social Aspects of Sport Management.

Loyola men’s soccer head coach Neil Jones and women’s soccer assistant coach Katie Berkopec are used to presiding over the free flowing movement of a collegiate soccer game, but now they’re presiding over the free flowing discussion of a college class. Both coaches have been chosen by sport management department head Keith Lambrecht to teach classes this semester. 

Jones is teaching Globalization of the Sport Industry (SPRT 345) and Berkopec teaches Social Aspects of Sport Management (SPRT 320). 

Jones’ class looks at the organization and management of international sports, including topics such as the Olympics and U.S. professional sports. Berkopec’s class looks at the role of sports in American society, the impact it has and how culture influences sports.

“My mother has been a teacher for 40 years, so I have it in my genes, I guess.”

Neil Jones, Loyola head men’s soccer coach

Sport management and marketing double major Kate Stone said Berkopec’s coaching experience makes her a valuable teacher because she deals with more than just the physical aspects of sport with her team.

“She knows so much about how to deal with her players, and what her players go through every day,” Stone said.

Michael Watson, a sport management and marketing double major from Jones’ class, said having Jones as a professor is nice because of his experience with sports on the global stage, such as playing for the New Zealand national team.

Since Jones had the credentials necessary, including a master’s degree in educational leadership, he accepted the offer to teach Globalization of the Sport Industry. He said since he’s from New Zealand, and he played and coached professionally, he feels this class was the best fit for him to teach. He said this class is his first actual teaching job.

“My mother has been a teacher for 40 years, so I have it in my genes, I guess,” Jones said. “But I’ve never actually taught formally [for] a university class.” 

Berkopec said she was interested in teaching Social Aspects of Sport Management because she thinks these are the aspects that impact athletes the most. With an undergraduate degree in physical education, Berkopec said she had experience in student-teaching for her major. She said she’s substitute taught before, but this is her first time teaching at the college level. 

“I think … her coaching experience at Loyola and definitely her being a female in a … male dominated industry is very inspiring and very helpful in this class.”

Kate Stone, senior sport management and marketing double major

Both of their experiences made them perfect candidates for Lambrecht. In the 13 years Lambrecht has been at Loyola, he said he’s had about four coaches before these two teach classes in the program. He said these people have had the right backgrounds for the jobs and also have been good with students. 

Lambrecht said the need for teachers in the program, along with the coaches’ interest and their qualifications, led him to choose Berkopec and Jones this semester. He added that the good relationship between the athletics department and the sport management program made hiring the two a “no-brainer.”

“I don’t want [students] to be having a program taught … with only my perspective,” Lambrecht said. “I like to get other people’s perspectives.” 

Stone said Berkopec has a lot of discussion questions in her PowerPoint presentations, which helps makes the class more conversational and fits well with the concepts they’re learning. The 21-year-old said Berkopec is doing a great job overall with her teaching.

“I think … her coaching experience at Loyola and definitely her being a female in a … male dominated industry is very inspiring and very helpful in this class,” Stone said.

Watson said as a sport management major he likes that Jones engages students and brings in his own experiences with the global sport industry. Adding on, Watson said Jones also brings in a lot of outside examples to vary up the lectures, which makes the class interesting. 

“For our chapter on doping, we watched a documentary on the Russia scandal from a few years ago,” Watson said. “[When we were] talking about head injuries, he brought in an athletic trainer.”

Berkopec said coaching and teaching during the offseason brings her back to the time management requirements of her playing days. Between preparing for exams and creating homework and lesson plans, she said she stays busy.

Jones agreed, saying this setup is busy but fun, and every week he looks forward to teaching his class on Mondays. He said he’s also enjoying the opportunity to spread the word about Loyola Athletics. Jones said he feels coaching gave him experience with teaching, but now he gets to use these skills in a different method and forum in the classroom. 

“Learning … with a new set of people I’ve never met before, I think at the end of the semester, we’ll know each other pretty well, which will be cool,” Jones said.

Loyola men’s soccer head coach Neil Jones and women’s soccer assistant coach Katie Berkopec are used to presiding over the free flowing movement of a collegiate soccer game, but now they’re presiding over the free flowing discussion of a college class. Both coaches have been chosen by sport management department head Keith Lambrecht to teach classes this semester. 

Steve Woltmann | Loyola Athletics Loyola men’s soccer head coach Neil Jones instructs his team from the sideline.

Jones is teaching Globalization of the Sport Industry (SPRT 345) and Berkopec teaches Social Aspects of Sport Management (SPRT 320). 

Jones’ class looks at the organization and management of international sports, including topics such as the Olympics and U.S. professional sports. Berkopec’s class looks at the role of sports in American society, the impact it has and how culture influences sports.

Sport management and marketing double major Kate Stone said Berkopec’s coaching experience makes her a valuable teacher because she deals with more than just the physical aspects of sport with her team.

“She knows so much about how to deal with her players, and what her players go through every day,” Stone said.

Michael Watson, a sport management and marketing double major from Jones’ class, said having Jones as a professor is nice because of his experience with sports on the global stage, such as playing for the New Zealand national team.

Since Jones had the credentials necessary, including a master’s degree in educational leadership, he accepted the offer to teach Globalization of the Sport Industry. He said since he’s from New Zealand, and he played and coached professionally, he feels this class was the best fit for him to teach. He said this class is his first actual teaching job.

“My mother has been a teacher for 40 years, so I have it in my genes, I guess,” Jones said. “But I’ve never actually taught formally [for] a university class.” 

“I don’t want [students] to be having a program taught … with only my perspective. I like to get other people’s perspectives.” 

Keith Lambrecht, Director of Sport Management

Berkopec said she was interested in teaching Social Aspects of Sport Management because she thinks these are the aspects that impact athletes the most. With an undergraduate degree in physical education, Berkopec said she had experience in student-teaching for her major. She said she’s substitute taught before, but this is her first time teaching at the college level. 

Both of their experiences made them perfect candidates for Lambrecht. In the 13 years Lambrecht has been at Loyola, he said he’s had about four coaches before these two teach classes in the program. He said these people have had the right backgrounds for the jobs and also have been good with students. 

Lambrecht said the need for teachers in the program, along with the coaches’ interest and their qualifications, led him to choose Berkopec and Jones this semester. He added that the good relationship between the athletics department and the sport management program made hiring the two a “no-brainer.”

“I don’t want [students] to be having a program taught … with only my perspective,” Lambrecht said. “I like to get other people’s perspectives.” 

Stone said Berkopec has a lot of discussion questions in her PowerPoint presentations, which helps makes the class more conversational and fits well with the concepts they’re learning. The 19-year-old said Berkopec is doing a great job overall with her teaching.

“I think … her coaching experience at Loyola and definitely her being a female in a … male dominated industry is very inspiring and very helpful in this class,” Stone said.

Watson said as a sport management major he likes that Jones engages students and brings in his own experiences with the global sport industry. Adding on, Watson said Jones also brings in a lot of outside examples to vary up the lectures, which makes the class interesting. 

“For our chapter on doping, we watched a documentary on the Russia scandal from a few years ago,” Watson said. “[When we were] talking about head injuries, he brought in an athletic trainer.”

Berkopec said coaching and teaching during the offseason brings her back to the time management requirements of her playing days. Between preparing for exams and creating homework and lesson plans, she said she stays busy.

Jones agreed, saying this setup is busy but fun, and every week he looks forward to teaching his class on Mondays. He said he’s also enjoying the opportunity to spread the word about Loyola Athletics. Jones said he feels coaching gave him experience with teaching, but now he gets to use these skills in a different method and forum in the classroom. 

“Learning … with a new set of people I’ve never met before, I think at the end of the semester, we’ll know each other pretty well, which will be cool,” Jones said.

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