There’s something special about Hayward Field at the University of Oregon that is hard to put into words. It’s a magical feeling of being part of something bigger than yourself—a feeling of tradition but also possibilities.
That Hayward Magic is something world-class track and field athletes experience when they come to Eugene, Oregon. It’s why they set records here, and why Eugene, Oregon, is considered by many to be the epicenter of the sport of track and field in the United States—and possibly the world.
But it is not just track athletes drawn to the Hayward Magic. It’s also students. The stadium serves as a magnet for like-minded students who come from around the world to study at the University of Oregon. In fact, the University of Oregon is also home to the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center, the first sports business program in the United States—and the most respected industry proving ground in the world.
As part of the World Athletics Championships Oregon22 (WCH Oregon22), those students are now also getting hands-on experience planning, organizing, and marketing major sporting events—experience that will enable them to pursue their dream careers and that is not available just anywhere.
This year 15 students from the University of Oregon’s renowned Warsaw Sports Marketing Center have paid positions as specialists to help bring WCH Oregon22 to life—and to the United States for the first time. But these aren’t just your typical student jobs or internships. They’re coordinating marketing and communications for the event, training and preparing volunteers, and even serving as a coordinator for the CEO and CFO of the event.
“The students at the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center at the University of Oregon who are part of this program bring with them unique talents and experiences that are already enriching our local organizing committee,” said Sarah Massey, CEO of Oregon22, LLC. “The World Athletics Championships Oregon22 is a massive global event, and the opportunities associated with it are endless. This program gives students real, practical insights into a future career in sports management, and it is one way we are collectively working to ensure that the event generates meaningful community impact and legacy.”
Among the UO students working at the championships is Jeeyoun “Jenny” Lee. Lee has a background managing events and operations focused on the sport of luge during the 2018 Winter Olympic Games in Pyeong Chang, Korea. And she was drawn to the University of Oregon to pursue her MBA because of the World Athletics Championships and the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.
“When I searched for educational opportunities and universities taking place near mega-events and found Oregon and the World Athletics Championships Oregon22, I knew that was where I had to be. And here I am,” said Lee.
For Lee, she dreams of making a career running successful mega-events like the World Championships and the Olympics. The chance to build on her previous experience and apply knowledge gained through her studies is exactly what she hoped for.
“I hope this valuable experience with the World Championships and the Olympic movements could lead me into a major role with the 2028 Games in Los Angeles,” she said.
David Pike, who’s also pursuing an MBA, was drawn to the University of Oregon because of Hayward Field and Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.
Pike thinks that Lee will be able to leverage her experience into her dream career thanks to the Warsaw Sports Marketing Center.
“The center has exposed us to so many new experiences, and the Warsaw Center name opens doors throughout the industry during site visits with ESPN, Nike, adidas, and other leading companies,” Pike said. “The network is so amazing and supportive, and everyone is willing to share their knowledge. It’s something you cannot get anywhere else.”
Pike has a background working in brand communications for Reebok in Boston, Massachusetts, and his role with WCH Oregon22 will entail helping to coordinate and manage marketing and communications.
“The history of track and field is everywhere here—from Steve Prefontaine, Bill Bowerman, to the founding of Nike. You can feel it when you step on the track. To be part of this event—enmeshed in that history and culture, but also setting the stage for the future with this major international event taking place at Hayward Field—it’s incredible,” said Pike.
Like Pike and Lee, the University of Oregon’s sports culture helped bring Bryn Crawford to Oregon. Crawford is assisting the CEO and CFO for the event as part of her specialist position.
“Sports has always been a part of my life—from competing in youth triathlon, to pursuing an Olympic dream in rowing, to a love for the outdoors and the environment—coming to Oregon was a natural next step,” said Crawford. “There is a culture of like-minded people here—people that love sports, that love cheering others on and helping others succeed. I think that’s part of the Hayward Magic.”
Crawford is also pursuing her MBA at the University of Oregon. Oregon’s reputation for caring for the environment and advancing sustainability was an additional draw for Crawford. Her MBA studies are focused not only on sports business but also sustainable business practices. In fact, the Oregon MBA program is ranked the #4 Green MBA program by The Princeton Review because of its specialization in sustainable business. WCH Oregon22 is also incorporating sustainability into every aspect of its planning and delivery.
Crawford says her career ambitions include helping to make sports and sporting events more environmentally friendly, and she feels well-prepared to achieve those goals thanks to her time at UO.
Partnering for Student Success
Crawford, Pike, and Lee are just three of the 15 students who are paid specialists at the World Athletics Championships Oregon22. All three students also helped run a series of Hayward Magic events in the lead up to the World Championships. Those events included field days that enabled UO students and Eugene community members onto the track at Hayward Field to build excitement. Additional events included high-profile guest speakers from the track and field and sports business industries.
UO alumnus John Elkins, a former senior advisor at McKinsey & Company and chief marketing officer and executive vice president of Visa International, made a personal gift through the UO’s Lundquist College of Business to fund the paid opportunities for UO students in partnership with WCH Oregon22.
Elkins' gift is just another example of the culture at the University of Oregon that finds joy in encouraging others and providing opportunities for students to succeed.