Category Archives: Alumni Posts

PopsNson NCAA Tournament Trip

Popsnson at Cuse vs Gonzaga 2nd Round in Buffalo

 By Scott Mittleman

I grew up Syracuse Orangemen (now Orange) fan since I was 7yrs old. My first introduction to Syracuse was watching the 1987 National Championship game against Indiana.  From that point forward I bled orange and remember most big games since that time.  With my fandom in full force I dragged my dad into being part of my misery.  I also converted him into a Broncos fan the same year and signed him up for even more suffering that would now last from September all way through March.  Yes there is a theme of Orange and Blue for my favorite teams.

My Umass Beginning:

It was the spring of 1996 when I got accepted to Umass and that March both Syracuse and Umass were in the Final Four.  I was rooting for both teams but didn’t know who I would support in the title game if I had to pick.  Unfortunately Umass lost to Kentucky and the Cuse wound up losing a close game to a Kentucky team that had 7 future NBA players on it (Can you name all the players without looking them up?).   Than my freshmen year at Umass was the last time the Minutemen made the tournament and lost to a Larry Hughes St.Louis team.  Since then there hasn’t been much Umass basketball to root for come March and I’ve remained a huge Syracuse fan through the years. 

With that being said this past season by the Orange was a huge treat for me to follow and dream of another Final Four run. Knowing that it could be a special season I thought it would be the perfect time for my pops and I to see our first ever NCAA Tournament game.  So the wheels started spinning on getting myself from San Francisco to Buffalo where the Cuse was destined to be for their 1st and 2nd round games (I was solely basing this by Joe Lunardi’s projectios). 

Dad was a bit skeptical on the trip but I told him we had to do it and when else would the Cuse be a #1 seed.  So off we went, I bought our tickets right after the Cuse became ranked #1, reserved our hotel and booked myself a flight.  To help track our journey to Buffalo I decided to create a blog and report on the tourney and of course our sampling of Buffalo Wings or as they are called in Buffalo just wings.  If you want a father and son first hand look at the tourney and our fun experiences in Buffalo check out

Maybe next year Umass will finally get back in the tournament especially if it’s expanded to 96 teams, Go Umass!!

Teams Making A Difference

By, Scott Mittleman

Co Founder SF FunRaisers                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                               aisers

My first two articles I’ve touched on Athletes involvement in working with and creating a non-profit.  Sticking to the same non-profit theme, I would like to delve into how teams are also making a difference.

The Sports Philanthropy Project has teamed up with The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation in creating The Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy. 

About the Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy

The Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy is presented annually by The Sports Philanthropy Project (SPP) and The Robert Wood Johnson Foundation. The award acknowledges sports organizations and individual philanthropies that have demonstrated excellence, leadership, and a sustained commitment toward a mission that serves and improves the lives of others.

To keep all of New England reading my blog posts, I am happy to report that the Red Sox Foundation received the award for 2009.  Principal owner John Henry made the following statement about the team’s priorities following the purchase of the Red Sox in 2002.  “Immediately after we purchased the Red Sox in 2002, one of our biggest priorities was to create a foundation that will have a meaningful impact on the lives of people throughout New England who are facing some of the greatest challenges,”

When a teams ownership makes being a difference in the community a priority, this commitment trickles down to the players, the fans and the community in general.  It shows that the hometown team believes in where they are from and wants to help preserve valuable non-profit work. 

The Red Sox Foundation has not only donated time and money but is truly pioneering ways to fundraise, manage donor relationships, keeping volunteers, and generating in-kind opportunities. 

With the World Series nearing an end, most baseball fans are moving onto football season while The Red Sox Foundation continues to  make Boston a better city each day.  

Check me out next week to read about who won the individual honors for The Steve Patterson Award for Excellence in Sports Philanthropy

Related Links:                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                    Press Release for Award

Featured on The Boston Business Journal Website

Video of Award Presentation

Listen to Red Sox Chairman Tom Werner’s interview during “Inside Pitch” with Casey Stern and Kevin Kennedy on the MLB Home Plate channel on SIRIUS XM Radio

Luke Bonner: “Center” of the World

Luke BonnerThe “real world” beckons.  My days of browsing the stacks at Mystery Train Records, snacking late night on a slice from Antonio’s, and taking the Mullins Center court are long gone.  At the same time, I can kiss goodbye 8:00AM classes, research papers, strenuous exams, 6:00AM conditioning, and countless hours spent in Boyden/the cage/the Mullins Center.  Those days are over (for the time being at least).

“Reality” has officially set in.  I spent four great years in Amherst, MA, but this past May marked the end of that era.  My eligibility expired, and I finished up my final course load.  I packed up my belongings and made my way back home to New Hampshire with my degrees in tow.  I am no longer a Umass student.  Like many others, I have successfully achieved alumni status (a Umass alum entering into the workforce).

Specifically, I have entered into the industry of professional basketball.  I am sure you all remember how shocked the world was this past June when my name was NOT called during the NBA Draft.  Despite this unpleasant surprise, I refused to allow those pesky NBA General Managers thwart my desire to play basketball at the professional level.  The NBA is not the only professional basketball league in the world.  In fact, there are many leagues across the pond.  With the help of my agent, the industry of my desire has welcomed me with a passport, working visa, and a plane ticket.  I have since embarked on a quest to earn a living through basketball.  First stop: Székesfehérvár, Hungary.

Lucky for you, I am a selfless man.  Through the collaboration of some higher-ups at Umass, you will be able to accompany me along the way.  I have recently been asked if I would be willing to write a biweekly blog/column for the Umass website while I am overseas, and my answer without hesitation is an emphatic “yes” (Congratulations! You are currently reading the first installment!).

Frequently players finish their college careers and head overseas to continue with their craft.  Meanwhile, back in the states fans might be wondering, “whatever happened to that guy?”  In fact, the guy in question may be leading a very successful career playing basketball overseas.  Or, that guy’s playing career may have been quite hectic and short lived.  Entering into this industry, I have a complete understanding that there will be plenty of highs and lows throughout the experience.  It is not uncommon for American players to play for multiple teams in multiple countries throughout the course of a single season.  There are many unknowns associated with what I am entering into. This is a reality I have accepted.  The pure opportunity to experience a foreign culture, play basketball, and earn some money in the process is too much for me to turn down.

I have a lot of friends still in college who are interested in pursuing a basketball career overseas.  Other people seem to be curious as to what being an overseas basketball player is all about.  Nobody seems to really know anything about playing ball overseas until they experience it first hand.  I am willing to share all of my experiences, the good and the bad, throughout my rookie season via this new blog.  I hope that by being candid about my everything, I can help provide some perspective and shed some light on this interesting subject in an engaging/entertaining manner.

Athletes Building Non-Profits

By, Scott Mittleman

An athlete with the best intentions of starting his or her own charity, may never receive the proper support to help get things off the ground.

Matthew Wade of Athletes Foundations discussed with me the current obstacles facing many athletes. It starts with their agent, who is not initially concerned with their clients work within the community. They want an athlete to be well liked and be a good citizen but not as concerned with them devoting their time and energy to building a non- profit. The need to involve the athlete in the community comes after something happens to possibly tarnish their image in the national media.

Athletes often don’t realize until later in their career that they want to be more involved in giving back. At this point, they aren’t sure about what resources to turn to or who to trust. From the start of their career, people are always hanging around athletes for selfish reasons and trying to reap both financial and social benefits.

Organizations such as Athlete Foundations are there to help steer an athlete through the process of starting a non-profit, organizing fundraising campaigns and just being the face of an organization. For companies to support and sponsor a non-profit run by an athlete, they want to see that athlete have an active role within the organization. They also want to see them investing their own money to help support the non-profit.

When an athlete dedicates themselves to their non-profit, it shows a true desire to support their cause and provides a legitimate base to build the non-profit. They need as much support and resources as possible to aid in this development.

I hope to offer a helping hand to both athletes and non-profits to benefit one another for a good cause. When a group of people work together for something beyond anything materialistic, only good things can happen.

 Thanks for reading and check out my articles each Wednesday.

For some great athlete charities check out:

Warrick Dunn Foundation:

Athletes for Hope:

View my current Non-profit SF Fun Raisers at

Future of Fantasy

Relay Insights: The Reality of Fantasy Sports Participation
The start of the 2009 NFL season also marks the start of fantasy football
season, which for some devoted fans is the highlight of their football
The Fantasy Sports Trade Association estimates that nearly 30 million
people are playing fantasy sports across North America ? scanning the
waiver wire, analyzing injury reports, watching six games at once and
cheering for fourth-quarter scores by teams down by 28 points.
Most marketers may assume fantasy participants are the stereotypical
18-24, beer-guzzling, jersey-wearing, single male, and this perception may
be causing many brands to miss out on what is actually a much broader and
passionate audience.
Based on research provided by our friends at Scarborough Sports Marketing,
marketers may want to take a deeper look at engaging more with fantasy
sports participants after all.
According to Scarborough, 83.9% of fantasy participants are male; however,
women have increasingly become more interested in fantasy sports, with a
36% increase since 2007 ? bringing females to 16.1% of participants in
2009. And though 84.2% are white, Hispanics have been the fastest growing
ethnic group, increasing 27% since 2007.
If those figures aren?t surprising enough, 37.4% of fantasy participants
have a household income over $100,000 (61% more likely than a member of
the general population = 161 index), 38% have a college degree (147
index), most own their own home (73.2%) and 59.2% of participants are
And while 50% of participants are ages 18-34 (164 index), the fastest
growing age demographic is the 60+ group who has increased 28% since 2007.

Meanwhile, what markets are the hotbeds for fantasy activity? The top 5
DMAs for fantasy sports participants (in order) might surprise you:
Milwaukee, St. Louis, Philadelphia, Pittsburgh, and Cincinnati.
So, if you are evaluating if fantasy participants are an attractive
audience for your brand, consider ways to go beyond online ad units to
engage this audience. The power of fantasy sports is in the connections
within the thousands of communities who play. Create ways to help them get
together, interact and share statistics and information, and you can score
big for your brand.


Athletes and Nonprofits

First off, I would like to say that I am thrilled to take part in the Sports Biz Blog as a Umass Alumni. Each Wednesday I plan to post an article, where I hope to help enlighten others, as well as educate myself with current happenings taking place in sports.

Since leaving Umass, I’ve moved across the country to San Francisco, where I’ve had a career in nonprofit fundraising. My first few posts will deal with cause marketing and how athletes and the sports world can help make a big difference in benefitting nonprofits.

 Sports and nonprofits working together are not a new phenomenon. For years, athletes and leagues have been working closely with numerous nonprofits such as: The United Way, Boys and Girls Club, American Heart Association, American Cancer Society, and Habitat for Humanity, to name just a few of the hundreds that have received support.

 Many athletes have their own nonprofits and devote a lot of time to community service. For as much as athletes contribute, the ability for them to start their own organizations can be quite difficult.

 The reality is when an athlete wants to create his or her own nonprofit, they often run into many hurdles that prevent them from starting their own organization. Yes, it is easy to show up at events organized by their respective league or team, and lend their name to help generate attendees and donations. If an athlete wants his or her own organization, there is no one there to help with the actual game plan for success.

This led me to search out someone with knowledge of helping athletes start their own nonprofit. I found Matthew Wade, who runs Athlete Foundations in Seattle (, he has over a decade of experience working in sports and community relations. My next post I will go over my discussion with Matt about the current state of helping an athlete build their own nonprofit.