A 2018 graduate of the master of arts in business with a specialization in intercollegiate athletic administration (MAIAA) program, Lorie Garnett feels right at home at the University of South Florida (USF) Department of Athletics. The Manteca, California, native started as the assistant director of communications in June.
“Lorie stood out as very bright, engaging and well-prepared to help us elevate our programs and create strong, productive relationships locally and nationally,” said Brian Siegrist, associate athletic director of communications for USF Athletics. “Her strategic thinking and approach to accomplishing our communications goals combined with her positive attitude, energy and work ethic make her a terrific addition to our team.”
Her background in athletic communications began when the former pole vaulter transferred to Brigham Young University (BYU) in Provo, Utah, for her senior year and worked as a student sports information director for cross country and track and field. After graduating, she worked as the main sports contact for cross country, track and field, and women’s basketball for two years at Utah Valley University.
With a taste of working in athletic administration, she began a search for a master’s program that would broaden her experience. When she discovered the Nebraska MAIAA program offered a guaranteed graduate assistantship working in athletics, as well as provided funding, the decision to become a Husker solidified.
“I wanted to diversify my background, so leaving the mountain west and pursuing a business degree made perfect sense for me. Nebraska's tradition in college athletics, coupled with a Big Ten business degree, were a perfect match. Nearly everyone in my family attended a business college, and following that legacy with my own flair was important to my authentic dreams,” Garnett said.
She spent her first year of the MAIAA program working in the Communications, Marketing and External Relations office at the College of Business. Her second year she applied and was selected to be the graduate assistant in the Nebraska Department of Athletics Communications Office. She served as the sports information director for the Big Ten women’s gymnastics and women’s golf programs, and volunteered for anything extra from taking stats to working for national media at sporting events around the country.
“I worked for the Big Ten Network, Fox Sports, CBS Sports and ESPN doing stats or hosting media, and volunteered at various championships, including the 2017 Big XII Men's Basketball Tournament, the 2017 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship, the 2017 College World Series and the 2016 NCAA Women's Volleyball Championship. The MAIAA program was undeniably the right program for me through all the experiences it provided.”
Jeff Griesch, senior associate communications director for Nebraska Department of Athletics, recognized Garnett’s determination from the start. He saw her direct her talents each step of the way.
"Lorie took every opportunity to expand her experience," said Griesch. "When she started focusing on her job search, she used her knowledge and contacts to help secure the job she wanted in the place that was the best fit for her family and her future. Most importantly, she was smart and confident enough to ask for guidance from people who could help her."
Garnett received the MAIAA 110 Percent Award, which annually goes to the student who best exemplifies a tough work ethic, and going above and beyond expectations. She was also asked to serve on the MAIAA Advisory Board with members from all over the nation.
Moving to Florida was a family adventure for Garnett. Her husband, Brynr, and dog, Chief, moved halfway across the nation as well.
“The fact Brynr had been offered a job here the day I accepted mine just seemed like all the pieces fell into place. To be working at an awesome university, with two sports teams I am passionate about and in a location I wanted to be is a dream come true,” she said.
At USF, Garnett manages the media relations, communications efforts and events for women’s basketball and men’s soccer. This March, she looks forward to working the NCAA Women’s Basketball Final Four hosted by USF in Tampa.
"Everything I learned and worked for at BYU, UVU and Nebraska has prepared me for right now,” Garnett said.