From Vermont to Indiana to Kentucky to Maine: Meet Dr. Nick Swim, Assistant Professor of Sport Management

In September 2023, Dr. Nick Swim joined the faculty at the Maine Business School. He earned his Ph.D. in Educational Leadership and Organizational Development – Sport Administration at the University of Louisville, where he was a full-time lecturer. Read on to learn about his research interests, teaching style, and advice.

What inspired you to become a professor?

My original goal was to coach. I loved working with athletes, but then I got into research, which led me to teaching. I realized I could significantly impact a larger group of students in the classroom versus just on the baseball field. There’s a lot of overlap between coaching and teaching, like communication, transparency, holding people accountable, and hard work. What I love about sports is how they can transform people’s lives. Many positive impacts can be made through sport from a manager’s side of things. I love training the next generation of managers. I focus on teaching that sports are inclusive for everyone regardless of age, level, and individuality.

What is your area of expertise?

I’ve taught many classes, from sports communication to ethical issues in sports. My research focus is on leadership attainment. I’m focused on researching how to make sports a more inclusive environment from multiple perspectives, such as how we improve access to sports and how it could exclude groups from our populations. From a leadership perspective, how are we hiring and creating systems to support diverse populations to excel at their jobs, especially through supporting people of different races, religions, and international status? And how are we helping these individuals in these spaces? How do we make spaces more inclusive? How do we reimagine sports experiences to ensure fewer people have negative experiences? I see research as a giant puzzle and enjoy figuring out how to assemble things.

What got you interested in your field of study?

The biggest thing for me was always being around sports. Fun fact: my uncle played baseball at UMaine way back in the day. He was a part of one of the World Series teams in the 80s. That was pretty exciting! My grandpa is a hall-of-fame high school baseball coach in Vermont, and my dad’s side is a golfing family. I’ve been entrenched in sports my entire life. I never really thought I would be working anywhere outside of sports. From an athlete standpoint, I always played multiple sports and, through these different perspectives, learned a lot about leadership.

What classes do you teach at the University of Maine?

I am currently teaching Intro to Sport Management. It’s the first class where undergrads are grasping how to move from a fan to a manager, and that is the goal of the sports management degree. In the future, we plan to add a Sport Sales and Sponsorship course focused on the importance of sports selling. I’m also excited to teach an event management course focused on developing sport-focused events. My goal is to bring a positive environment everywhere I am. I don’t want students to come into my classroom with a negative perspective. I want them to come in and say, “Wow, I learned a lot today, and I had fun!”

What are your expectations for your students?

The most significant part is showing up and being engaged. There’s nothing better than a classroom of students sharing their opinions, giving their perspectives, answering questions, and challenging themselves to improve. If you do that, then you’ll do fine in my classroom and the sports industry!

What are your hobbies or interests outside of academia?

I was a former college baseball player, so many of my hobbies were sports. I’m also a runner. I’ve run seven marathons with Boston lined up for the spring, which is exciting. Another fun fact about me is that I grew up on a golf course! My father is a golf pro and teaching professional at a local country club in Vermont. I have played and worked at a golf course my whole life, making it a fun hobby for the summer months. It’s a unique way to engage with and meet new people.

What’s your go-to song when you need motivation?

As most of my students know, I’m a Swiftie. I’m not a wait-in-the-que-for-hours type of Taylor Swift fan, but I will enjoy her music! For pump-up specific right now, it’s mostly Zach Bryant. I have a high energy level, so music that stays on an even keel is probably where I need to be. I usually have students tell me their walk-up song as an ice-breaker in class, and I share mine, which this semester would be some old-school Drake.

What advice did you wish you had received as an undergraduate student?

Get more involved on campus. Getting involved in different groups that challenge your perspective is excellent for your development. We sometimes get stuck in doing clubs/organizations that align with our past experiences instead of trying new things! College is about being uncomfortable, so taking on new, unique experiences can really improve you as a person! If I could return to college, I would get involved and do more things to help the campus, the community, and those around me.

Story by Annie Pendergast