Women In Sports: Portland State's Chelsey Zimmerman
Chelsey Zimmerman (second from left) joined the Portland State staff to work under Lynn Kennedy, whom she played for at Southern Oregon University.
Chelsey Zimmerman (second from left) joined the Portland State staff to work under Lynn Kennedy, whom she played for at Southern Oregon University.
Chelsey Zimmerman
Chelsey Zimmerman

Monday, March 27, 2017

The third “Women in Sports” career seminar, presented by the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, will be held Saturday, April 8 in Portland, Ore.

Designed for college and high school females interested in pursuing sports-related careers, the seminar will take place at Memorial Coliseum.

The event will feature panelists from a broad cross-section of occupational paths, including coaching, administration, business, marketing, media, media relations, NCAA compliance, sports medicine, ticket sales, and officiating. Attendees will have an opportunity to interact with -- and seek career advice from -- a slate of experienced sports professionals in a round-table format. 

Below is a profile on a panelist who will be featured at this year's event.

Assistant Women’s Basketball Coach
Colleges Attended: New Mexico Highlands University; Southern Oregon University; University of Great Falls
College Major: Health & Physical Education, Minor in Spanish; M.A. Secondary Education
Years In Current Position: 2 years

Primary Job Responsibilities: Guard development, on-court coaching, travel coordinator, recruiting coordinator, academic liaison and manage women’s basketball social media accounts. 

Things You Enjoy Most About My Job: Seeing the relationships that are developed amongst our student-athletes. I love sharing my passion for the game and seeing our players reach their potential as they start to believe in themselves and achieve their dreams. It's an honor to be part of their college experience and to know that I had a small part in helping them become the best version of themselves.

Why You Pursued A Professional Career In The Athletics Industry: For me, it started as the next best option to playing basketball. If I couldn't play anymore then I was going to coach the game I loved. I can't imagine not being involved in athletics at some level, I love to compete.

First Job In The Sports Industry: Assistant women's basketball coach at my alma mater, Southern Oregon University.

A Key Mentor Who Helped You On Your Career Path: Lynn Kennedy. He was my college basketball coach as well as my current boss. I've known him for over 13 years, played for him for four years, and coached with him for five seasons. We both share a passion for the game of basketball and he has taught me so much about the game and life. He's all about the experience and he inspired me to try and give student-athletes the same great experience I had playing basketball in college.

Most Influential Person In Your Early Professional Development: Same as a above. Lynn was a mentor in my early years, even while I was at a different university coaching and getting my master's. I would call him to discuss coaching philosophies and game day strategy as well as ask him for advice on day-to-day dealings involving scheduling, recruiting and compliance questions. The bond that we developed when I was a player carried over to my professional career and I'm very thankful to have him as a mentor and resource. He has always seen the best in me, my potential to be a great player and coach, and believed in me when I didn't believe in myself.

Biggest Hurdle You Overcame Breaking Into The Sports Industry: It seems that to break into the sports industry, specifically coaching at the college level, it's all about who you know. I was recruited by several Division I schools, but after I suffered a back injury most of the schools dropped off. I ended up playing at the NAIA level and having a great experience. Trying to break into the coaching world when you don't have the Division I status, however, is a huge hurdle. I was fortunate to play for a great coach that had many contacts, but at the time most weren't tied to schools at the Division I level. I put in seven years at the NAIA level as an assistant coach before I got the opportunity to coach at Portland State. In those seven years, I gained invaluable coaching experience as well as experience wearing many hats as academic advisor, strength and conditioning coach, recruiting coordinator, camp director and travel coordinator for a minimal salary. I am thankful for the opportunity now to be paid as a full-time assistant coach and focus most of my time coaching!

Key Attributes That Have Helped Shape Your Career Path: Self-motivation, a servant attitude, athlete first mentality, attention to detail, persistence and the willingness to put in the extra time and learn from those around you.

Looking Back, What Is One Thing That You Would Do In College Or Early On To Help You Along Your Career Path? I would've tried to do more networking.

Best Advice You Would Give To A Young Female Wanting To Work In Sports: Be yourself! Try not to compare yourself to others, but focus on what you bring to the table and be confident in your abilities.

Favorite Sports Team: Chicago Bulls

Favorite Athlete: The GOAT - Michael Jordan.

Most Memorable Sports-Related Moment: Winning the conference tournament my senior year which secured a spot to the national tournament.