This story first appeared in the spring 2018 issue of the Concordian, the official magazine of Concordia University Wisconsin.
Dave Beyer (’01) transferred to Concordia during his sophomore year to study mass communication and play baseball. A class assignment led Beyer to land a coveted internship with the Milwaukee Bucks. Nearly 20 years, several promotions, and many connections later, Beyer is now the director of basketball operations with the Miami Heat and the assistant general manager for the Sioux Falls Skyforce.
Beyer, along with his wife, Sebrina, and their three sons (Brady, Jordan, and Bryce) live in South Miami. When they’re not participating in school sports, the family cheers on the Miami Heat and the Miami Hurricanes, where Sebrina works as executive assistant to the head football coach.
Beyer reflects on his career in sports, the people who helped him get there, and his time at CUW.
How did you get into professional sports?
I was always involved in sports and knew when I was done playing baseball at CUW that I wanted to continue to be around sports in some capacity. In one of my early communication classes, we were assigned to interview a professional in a field that we were interested in, and then write a paper about that person and their career. I reached out to Jim Paschke, the Milwaukee Bucks’ TV play-by-play announcer and asked him for a meeting. Not only did he agree to meet with me, he helped me land an internship with the Milwaukee Bucks. At first I worked directly for Paschke and eventually made my way to the Bucks’ video department, where I was a part of a team that recorded and broke down the game film for the coaches.
From there, I obtained a video room internship with the Miami Heat under the guidance of Erik Spoelstra. Coach Spoelstra was an assistant coach at the time, and he took me under his wing. I would not be in my current position without “Coach Spo” mentoring and teaching me the game of basketball at the highest level.
I have been very blessed to be with the Heat organization and to be able to learn from a Hall-of-Famer in Pat Riley.
Describe your experience at CUW.
I transferred to CUW after attending a public university. I remember when I went to visit CUW with my parents, and it just felt right from the start. I was a commuter student, so I could have been considered a real outsider, but it wasn’t like that. Everyone was very welcoming, and that made the school feel like home. Of course, it helped that I played on the baseball team, so there was a built-in community for me. I developed many strong relationships through CUW; many that are still strong today.
How did Concordia prepare you for success in your field?
As a student athlete, I had to learn time management and discipline because I was constantly juggling class work with improving my performance on the field. Also, I appreciated that my professors, particularly Dr. Randy Ferguson, challenged me to step outside of my comfort zone and to learn how to effectively communicate in a variety of situations. I’m grateful to my coaches and professors at Concordia for supporting me and helping me become more confident in my faith, which remains an important part of my life today.
Describe your journey from intern to your role now in a sports franchise.
On my first day, Paschke gave me advice that has stuck with me to this day: “You have two ears and one mouth for a reason, to listen more than you talk.” He also taught me to say yes if someone asks me to do something and then assured me that if at first I didn’t know how to do something I’d eventually figure it out.
I'm grateful to my coaches and professors at Concordia for supporting me and helping me become more confident in my faith, which remains an important part of my life today. —Dave Beyer
As a video intern for the Miami Heat, I was considered a part of the coaching staff, and was responsible for anticipating and capturing the action on the court and then breaking down the footage for coaches that night or the next day. Through this opportunity, I learned valuable technical skills used in the sports industry and gained intense insight into the game of basketball because it was my job to recognize what coaches and scouts needed to do their job effectively.
What do you like best about your job?
I’m here in my dream job because so many professors, mentors, and coaches invested themselves in my growth and development. They truly modeled what strong, present leadership could look like. The best part of my job is when I’m able to follow their examples and mentor younger team members as they make their way on their own career paths. I’m in my 16th season with the Miami Heat and have been part of three NBA Championships and one D-League championship. I’ve been able to travel to different parts of the world (China, Brazil, Mexico, etc.) and experience their culture, as well as witness how big the game of basketball is worldwide.
What advice do you have for students who would like to pursue a career in professional sports?
Coach Riley has a quote framed in his office that states, “Hard work doesn’t guarantee you anything, but without it you don’t stand a chance.” This quote is true for anything that you may do in life. You have to visualize where you want to go in your career, and then be willing to put in the hours and do the things you may not want to do to get there. If you find a career you’re passionate about, that becomes a little easier.
The spring Concordian hit mailboxes the week of April 23. View a PDF version of the magazine here. If you are not on our mailing list, but are interested in receiving a free copy, call 734-995-7317.
— Eugene Pitchford III is Assistant Professor of Education and advisor of the Black Student Union.
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