Dr. Preston James and students pose for a photo while working at the 2019 Superbowl

Students learn by doing at Super Bowl

Several members of the Sports Management program got the thrill of a lifetime last weekend when they worked Super Bowl events in Atlanta.

Dr. Preston James IV, Assistant Professor of Sports Management and Business Law, said the college had about 40 students assisting in different areas. They were divided into two teams – the A Team, made up mostly seniors, and the B Team, freshman and sophomore members of the Sports Management Club.

“We did volunteer work the first couple of days,” Dr. James said. “On Friday, some of us were assigned to ‘Super Bowl Live’ in Centennial Park, while others helped with the ‘NFL On Location’ activities.”

Drew Lewiski, left, and NFL Hall of Famer Terrell DavisOn game day, the LaGrange College teams spread out among the various sites. The A Team, paid employees of the NFL, worked at the “NFL On Location.”

“(Senior) Drew Lewiski and I were assigned to work with the ‘talent’ (professional NFL players) at one party. In our case, it was Hall of Fame players,” Dr. James said. “Another team manned a party where tickets were $12,000 each, and the party featured entertainment and an opportunity to mingle with NFL players.”

The Hall of Fame party was more exclusive, with ticket prices at $15,000 each. Its centerpiece was a display of 52 Super Bowl rings.

Senior Colton Stairs said the experience far surpassed anything he could have imagined.

“We’ve worked several Atlanta Falcons games with Doc in the past, but the stadium and the crowd for the Super Bowl was at a whole different level,” he said. “Throughout the experience, Doc introduced us to many people who often greeted him, saying “Hey, Doc.’”

Colton said he worked for guest services at Super Bowl Live.

“I was responsible for answering questions from guests and letting them know about all the events and activities,” he said.

On game day, Colton’s group worked with the On Location experiences in the Thomas Murphy Ballroom at the Georgia World Congress Center.

“We met Hall of Famers Derrick Brooks, Marcus Allen and Terrell Davis, as well as Hines Ward, who is on his way to being named to the Hall of Fame,” he said. “Later, Daughtry was the lead performer at a concert in the ballroom.”

At one point, Dr. James introduced Drew to Hall of Famer Davis.

“I mentioned that Drew was also a running back,” Dr. James said. “Terrell started asking Drew some questions and engaged him in a conversation. Drew said he was nowhere near being a gold jacket wearer (Hall of Famer), but Terrell told him that the gold jacket in football is small; he should get a gold jacket in something bigger, like life. I’m sure Drew will remember that conversation for the rest of his life.”

Although there were about 20 sports management programs at the Super Bowl this year, only six were given Game Day, primetime experiences, Dr. James said.

“We worked with some of the other top programs in the country,” he said. “It felt good to have Division I teams interested in the innovative things we are doing at LaGrange College.”

He said the opportunities to work at big sporting events with the Atlanta Falcons and Atlanta United have equipped his students to think on their feet and be prepared for anything.

“We teach our students to roll with the punches and to expect the unexpected,” he said. “That way, they are ready for just about everything that is thrown at them.”

Colton, Preston and Shammar pose with Superbowl memorabiliaIn fact, the work the LaGrange College students did at last year’s Super Bowl in Minneapolis got the attention of this year’s organizers.

“I was told by one of the people in staffing that people were requesting us,” he said. “They said they wanted Dr. James and his students from LaGrange College on their team.”

Colton said his Super Bowl experience offered much more than the chance to be at one of sports’ greatest events.

“This offered me business opportunities and growth in my connections,” he said. “Dr. James really puts his students first, and allows us to meet people high up in the sports industry.”

He said he has become increasingly comfortable in situations like the Super Bowl, enhancing his chances of being hired in the field he loves.

“Facts don’t lie,” he said. “Every senior who has graduated with a Sports Management degree under Doc James last year has a job in the industry. LaGrange is beyond lucky to have a professor like him.”

Cultural Enrichment events


  • Film: Black Panther, 7 p.m., Corn Auditorium in Lewis Library


  • Applying for and serving with the Servant Scholars, 11:15 a.m., Dickson Assembly Room
  • Study Away presentation: The Mayan Riviera – Archaeology, Animals and Adventure in the Yucatan, 11:15 a.m., Bailey Rom
  • Mastering the art of relationships and effective communication, 11:15 a.m., Corn Auditorium
  • Mitch Turner, faculty recital, 4:30 p.m., Beason Recital Hall


  • I am more than a stereotype, 7 p.m., Dickson Assembly Room


  • Paws 4 Chainge, 11:15 a.m., Corn Auditorium
  • Servant Scholars Speaker Series: Jerry Wilkinson, 11:15 a.m., Dickson Assembly Room
  • Jim Alexander: Street Signs, 11:15 a.m., Cochran Gallery, 5 Lafayette Square, downtown


In the headlines

LaGrange College students prepare for Super Bowl workLaGrange Daily News, Feb. 2, 2019

Winston Churchill’s great-grandson speaks at LaGrange College – Newnan Times-Herald, Feb. 3, 2019

Preseason baseball poll released – LaGrange Daily News, Feb. 2-3, 2019

Panthers look for winning streak – LaGrange Daily News, Feb. 2-3, 2019

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Video of the Week



Women's basketball vs. Wesleyan

Women’s basketball
The Panthers (13-11, 7-8 USA South) rolled past Wesleyan 95-20 on Wednesday. Marilauren Farr and Nadia Montour tied career highs with 27 and 14 points respectively.

Men's basketball vs. Covenant

Men’s basketball
LaGrange (14-7, 10-4 USA South) lost 79-76 to Covenant last Saturday. Travis Thompson tied his career high with 30 points.

Baseball has its home opener this weekend

The Panthers open the 2019 season today (Friday) against Birmingham-Southern at Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium. Game time is 5 p.m. LC is ranked No. 24 in the Perfect Game NCAA Division III preseason poll.


Upcoming sporting events

Friday, Feb. 7
Baseball vs. Birmingham-Southern, Cleaveland Field in Williamson Stadium, 5 p.m.
Swimming at SCSC Conference Meet

Saturday, Feb. 8
Women's Basketball at Covenant
Men's Basketball at Berea
Baseball at Birmingham-Southern (DH)
Swimming at SCSC Conference Meet

Sunday, Feb. 10
Men’s Basketball at Maryville


Campus notes

Dr. John Cook, Professor of Religion, recently had the second edition of his book, “Crucifixion in the Mediterranean World,” published by Mohr Siebeck in Tübingen.

Jerry Wilkinson, benefactor of the Wilkinson Family Servant Scholars Program, will share his thoughts on and experiences with service and servant leadership, as well as his principles of a successful life at 11:15 a.m. Thursday in Dickson Assembly Room. His family’s donation to Servant Scholars has helped fund guest speakers who will expose students and the community to ideas and discussion on community service, servant leadership and different leadership styles.

This weekend is the annual Presidential Scholars Day that features top students from high schools around the region. There are 137 scholars registered for the event. Welcome to campus.

The Georgia Music Educators Association District III All-District Honor Band will be on campus this weekend. The band will present its concert at 5 p.m. Saturday in Callaway Auditorium. The event is free and open to the public