Austin Heinbaugh, 2018 LHU graduate, at Nationals Park in Washington, D.C., where he is now employed.
When it comes to effort, “110 percent” is all recent Lock Haven University graduate, Austin Heinbaugh, knows how to give.
Heinbaugh came to The Haven in 2014, wanting to play football, but the then-6-foot, 260-pounder said that many people told him he was too small and was unlikely to make the team. Still, he tried out, became a walk-on offensive lineman and played in 44 games, starting all but one.
In less than a year since graduating with honors in 2018 (3.8 GPA), the Connellsville, Pa., native is employed by Major League Baseball’s Washington Nationals as part of their inside sales team, and he attributes much of his success to LHU. “I owe the university everything,” Heinbaugh said.
Heinbaugh said he learned all aspects of sport administration through his coursework. From ticket sales to marketing, facility operations, player personnel, coaching and more, he left the university ready to hit the ground running in the world of professional sports.
Heinbaugh also made the most of his time outside the classroom as a member of the Student Athlete Advisory Committee, Student Athlete Mentor Program and Sport Administration Society (SAS). He also completed internships with the Williamsport Crosscutters and the American Junior Golf Association (AJGA).
His experience with AJGA was part of his 12-credit internship during his senior year. There, he ran junior golf tournaments in the same association that pros like Tiger Woods, Phil Mickelson and Jordan Spieth played in when they were young.
“It’s the best junior golf in the world,” Heinbaugh said. “From an operational and networking standpoint it was really beneficial.”
As a member of the SAS, Heinbaugh had opportunities to intern at both the 2017 and 2018 NCAA Football National Championship games, and in the process, meet ESPN analysts Steve Levy and Mack Brown. He also worked events for celebrities like Dierks Bentley.
He said these opportunities allowed him to see how events were run on a grand scale. They were also helpful because they turned out to be fantastic ice breakers and conversation starters as he began the job-interview process after graduating.
Each year, many LHU sport administration students attend the Robert Morris University Sport Management Career Summit, however, Heinbaugh was never able to attend, due to football games being scheduled during that time.
However, in October 2018, Heinbaugh reached out to Dr. Peter Campbell, sport studies professor, expressing an interest in attending the conference, and was ultimately able to attend with Campbell’s current LHU students at the time.
Several recruiters at the conference, surprised to find out that he was already a graduate, gave him an on-the-spot interview. He interviewed with the Detroit Pistons, Pittsburgh Pirates and the Nationals. The Nationals offered him a job immediately following his interview. “It was a no-brainer for me,” Heinbaugh said about accepting the position with the Nationals.
As part of the Nationals inside sales team, Heinbaugh makes at least 80 cold calls each day. His goal is to identify consumers’ needs and set up face-to-face meetings to sell packages ranging from full-season or partial-season tickets, group outings, stadium tours or other events at Nationals Park.
“It’s a grind of a job,” Heinbaugh said. “It’s competitive, which reminds me of being a student-athlete at Lock Haven. It’s also effort based, which makes me love it.”
Heinbaugh said he is exactly where wants to be – happily working in professional sports and appreciates the role LHU played in helping him get there.
“Dr. Campbell is especially important to me,” Heinbaugh said. “He was my advisor, but he didn’t just care about my classes and my career. He cared about me as a person. But really, every professor in the sports admin department is awesome because they fight for opportunities and they put in extra work to make sure they get the best opportunities for their students.
“At Lock Haven (University) everyone is hungry for success. That’s what sets it apart from other schools,” he added.
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Lock Haven University’s main campus is located on the West Branch of the Susquehanna River in the scenic mountains of Pennsylvania. The university offers 49 undergraduate majors and certifications with 47 minors and five graduate programs.
LHU is a member of Pennsylvania’s State System, the largest provider of higher education in the Commonwealth. Its 14 universities offer more than 2,300 degree and certificate programs in more than 530 academic areas of study. Nearly 520,000 system alumni live and work in Pennsylvania.
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