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By Liz Warren-Pederson


Students in front of Reliant Stadium before the championship game (left to right): Lauren Sokol, Cody Wingert, Alison Ceppit, Taylor Heinlein, Jeff Robin, and Annie Marum.  Photo courtesy Annie Marum.

Students in front of Reliant Stadium before the
championship game (left to right): Lauren Sokol,
Cody Wingert, Alison Ceppit, Taylor Heinlein, Jeff
Robin, and Annie Marum.
Photo courtesy Annie Marum.

Six UA undergraduates — including three Eller College students — worked as interns for the National Association of Basketball Coaches (NABC) during the 2011 NCAA men’s Final Four championship.

The two men and four women selected for the NABC internships are all members of theSports Marketing Association, a student organization housed in UA Intercollegiate Athletics.

“The highlight of the trip to Houston for me was being able to see all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into the NCAA Final Four,” said Taylor Heinlein (BSBA Marketing and Entrepreneurship ‘11). “Being able to work with tons of terrific people on so many different events was certainly something that made this trip worth it.”

“For me, the highlight was working the Coaches Huddle event at Minute Maid Park,” said Jeff Robin(BSBA Marketing ‘11). “I loved being able to interact with all the guests and coaches and being involved with the American Cancer Society, whose leaders were grateful for our volunteerism.”

At the Final Four Championship game (from left to right): Jeff Robin, Alison Ceppi, Taylor Heinlein, Cody Wingert, Annie Marum, and Lauren Sokol.  Photo courtesy Annie Marum.

At the Final Four Championship game (from left to
right): Jeff Robin, Alison Ceppi, Taylor Heinlein,
Cody Wingert, Annie Marum, and Lauren Sokol.
Photo courtesy Annie Marum.

“Being able to work with tons of terrific people on so many different events was certainly something that made this trip worth it,” Heinlein added. “If I had to pick one event as my favorite, I would probably say the ‘Fight Cancer in Style’ event for Coaches vs. Cancer. It was really wonderful how involved and passionate the coaches and coaches’ wives are in the fight against cancer.”

While in Houston, the students also met with the global marketing director of Shell to discuss how the company uses sports sponsorships to drive revenue for its brand. They attended a Houston Rockets game as guests of Fox Sports Net, and then met with former UA stars Chase Budinger andJordan Hill, who both play for the Rockets.

“I felt like we were able to experience all the Final Four had to offer and it was definitely a once-in-a-lifetime experience,” Robin said. “When I introduced myself as a student from the UA, people were very impressed and have heard nothing but great details about our program. By the end of the weekend, after our participation with volunteering, everyone understood that UA really develops students’ professionalism and work ethic.”