Interview With The Agent: Brian Stanchak
Brian Stanchak is the President of BDS Search, a basketball coach management agency. The firm focuses exclusively on providing career guidance, marketing and representation to all of its clients as it assists them in reaching their professional and financial goals.
With 15-plus years of experience within the intercollegiate athletic administration and basketball coaching industries, Brian has earned the respect of coaches, athletic administrators and senior leadership throughout the country. Brian’s combined experience as a Director of Athletics and college basketball coach provides clients with a unique perspective that will assist them in reaching their goals. Having coached basketball at Seton Hall University, Fairleigh Dickinson University and the University of Pennsylvania, Brian also understands the life and responsibilities required of being an intercollegiate basketball coach.
1) If you could describe a sports agent’s role , what would that be?
A sport agent’s role is to serve their client’s best interests and assist clients in their off-the-court/field responsibilities so they can be as successful as possible in their given sport and career. A sport agent’s role is to bring value to each client that they represent. A sport agent must possess the necessary skills to build relationships, market clients, and be knowledgable about the unique intricacies of coaching contracts. A sport agent’s role is to be a good listener and be an available sounding board and counsel to clients. A sport agent’s role is to build and establish a mutual trust and loyalty with their clients to to truly be successful.
2) What motivated you to represent college basketball coaches after being an Athletic Director?
There were several reasons that I was motivated to represent college basketball coaches after being an Athletic Director. In gaining the experience as an Athletic Director at the intercollegiate level, I was provided the uniquely combined experience and perspectives of both the coaching and administrative side of intercollegiate athletics. I built a strong network of coaches and administrators that is an asset in further assisting my clients. I saw an opportunity to assist coaches in their career development, pursuing prospective opportunities and contract advising/negotiations because I’ve been on both sides of the table as a coach and AD. I am very fortunate to be working with tremendous coaches. A true testament to that has been the large amount of success we have had in our first year with several of our clients obtaining head coaching positions at the NCAA Division I level, including Linda Cimino at Binghamton, Ronald Hughey at Houston, and Caroline McCombs at Stony Brook. I truly love working with and assisting coaches, and I am able to better do so having also been an intercollegiate Athletic Director.
3) Why did you obtain your master’s degree in sports management in 2013?
I initially decided to obtain my Master’s degree because it was essential if I desired to move up the ranks as an Athletic Director. It turned out to be extremely beneficial in my development as an agent because of the additional classes that I took, including law, marketing and finance. My desire to learn has not stopped with my Master’s degree though, as I am always looking to further my knowledge to better myself to better serve my clients.
4) What has been the biggest learning lesson over the course of your 15 years in the industry?
The biggest lesson I’ve learned over the course of my 15 years in the industry is that you will only be as successful as the administrative support behind you, whether that’s as a coach or an AD.
5) How have you utilized social media in your time representing college coaches and helping them with their career?
I have heavily utilized social media in marketing and promoting our clients. We attract both coaches and administrators via our BDS Search Facebook and Twitter pages. We’ll market our clients’ team’s success, recruiting accomplishments and any other significant achievements. In fact, social media has been a great asset to enhancing the visibility of clients in the industry and to administrators.
6) If there was one thing about the sports industry that you could change, what would that be and why?
I would increase the endorsement and sponsorship opportunities provided to women’s basketball coaches. I think there are tremendous women’s basketball coaches who would be excellent spokesmen and spokeswomen for products and services, but don’t get provided the opportunities.
7) Depending on the person, mentorship plays a key role in an individual’s career progression. Have you had any mentors over the years? What message(s) have they instilled in you?
I’ve worked for some tremendous coaches in Tommy Amaker, Fran Dunphy, Patrick Knapp, Sandy Gordon, and Phyllis Mangina who have all served as mentors to me. Each coach has instilled in me different skills. I have learned the daily importance of, among many things, hard work, enthusiasm, attention to detail and loyalty. I remember Coach Amaker having a quote in the office about always conducting ourselves and handling every responsibility within our program in a first class manner. I have maintained that thought every day in leading BDS Search.
8) Since you’re a one-person operation with your agency, what is a ‘day in the life of Brian Stanchak’ look like?
As a one-person operation, my day is full of various responsibilities, and each day is never the same. Currently representing only basketball coaches, from July through February/March is very different than the “movement months” of March through June. Regardless of the time of year, I spend a lot of time on the phone, texting and emailing clients, other coaches and administrators. I am constantly either communicating with my clients or networking. From July through February/March, I’ll spend a lot of time traveling to visit clients, watching their games on tv and online and marketing them via social media and our website. While I still maintain those responsibilities from March through June, I am also gathering information on and promoting clients for prospective employment opportunities, preparing clients for job interviews and advising on and negotiating contracts.
9) In 100 words or less, what type of advice would you give an aspiring sports business professional looking to work with an agency?
I would tell them to begin networking with current agents in the focus area that they desire to work. Reach out to those agents to ask questions and inquire about internship positions. As an intern, you’ll truly learn if this is the profession for you and be provided with an opportunity to prove that you have the work ethic and motivation to succeed in the industry. Once hired, be willing to do even the smallest tasks, within reason, to show that you possess a drive, desire to learn and willingness to do whatever it takes to help your agency succeed.