An Interview with Professor Tyler Hajek, Assistant Professor of Business and Sport Management

by Joel Willsey

A Growing Industry

In the age of information and the continual demand for entertainment, the sport industry is booming and primed to grow with the emerging workforce. According to a 2022 U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics study, the industry is expected to grow nine percent in employment by 2032. Given this growing industry, many students see great potential and opportunity in the sport industry. Crown College has offered an opportunity for students to obtain a degree in Sport Management for many years. Today, Sport Management is a popular program for students in the Crown College School of Business.

Professor Hajek’s Sport Experience and Background

When asked what drew Professor Hajek to the sport industry he responded: “I grew up surrounded by it.” Growing up, Professor Hajek remembers attending several sporting events with his parents and supporting his two older siblings in their activities. ” In his high school and college years, Professor Tyler Hajek competed in track and field. While pursuing his Bachelor’s degree in Sport, Recreation, and Park Management, Professor Hajek was an NCAA Division I collegiate pole vaulter for South Dakota State University. When listening to Professor Hajek speak about his background in sports and the formative role they’ve played in his life, his passion for sports and the impact they make on our lives even from a young age was evident. One quote that has inspired Professor Hajek comes from Nelson Mandela when he said: “Sports is a language that the youth understand”. Sports have served as a barrier breaker and a means of building relationships for Professor Hajek. Before Professor Hajek started his higher education career, he spent several years accumulating career experience in the sport Industry for companies including DaktronicsMankato MoondogsMinnesota VikingsMinnesota Timberwolves and Lynx and events like the 2016 Ryder Cup. During this time, Professor Hajek was encouraged to pursue a career in higher education by mentor and professor Dr. Suzannah Armentrout of Minnesota State University, Mankato.

In 2022, Professor Tyler Hajek joined Crown College as the Assistant Professor of Business and Sport Management. Before coming to Crown, Professor Hajek was a Graduate Teaching Assistant at the University of Northern Colorado in the School of Sport and Exercise Science where he is pursuing his PhD. Additionally, he taught as an Adjunct Instructor for Minnesota State University Mankato, where he taught Sport Management courses through an online format.

Studying Sport Management at Crown College

So, what makes studying Sport Management at Crown College unique? Professor Hajek started by saying: “Well, the classes aren’t just talking about your favorite sports team—full disclaimer”. Studying Sport Management in the Crown College School of Business digs much deeper than sports fandom. The heart of the program is to “develop men and women of integrity, with a strong foundation of the Word. To develop bold, honorable, innovative, and courageous kingdom-minded leaders in all disciplines. In sport or out of sport.”

A unique advantage to studying Sport Management at Crown College is the proximity to many internship opportunities and Crown’s commitment to developing relationships with local sports clinics and local high schools. The Twin Cities also provide opportunities for large events such as the Ryder Cup as well as opportunities with major sport organizations and teams. In the past year, Professor Hajek has led student groups to networking events with the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Timberwolves organizations. In addition to the opportunity in the metro area, St. Bonifacius is closely located to suburban and rural areas that can provide students with unique opportunities. Groups such as Fellowship of Christian Athletes, Uncommon Sports Group, and Skyhawks have been invited to campus for networking opportunities.


Providing a Combination of Theory and Experience

Professor Hajek brings industry acumen and understanding to the classroom that emphasizes the value of balancing sport theory with hands-on, practical experience. To quote Anna Quindlen, Professor Hajek stated: “a good judge remembers what it was like to be a lawyer. A good editor remembers being a writer. A good parent remembers what it was like to be a child.” Today, Professor Hajek regularly checks in with his academic colleagues from other institutions as well as sport professionals colleagues in the industry to keep him attuned to best practices and the changing landscape of sports.

With this in mind, committed to providing an Academically Excellent education, the Crown College School of Business and Professor Hajek recognize the importance of bringing guest speakers into the classroom. Giving students additional opportunities to hear from real professionals and their real track records of experience. In every course he teaches, Professor Hajek taps into his industry connections and welcomes many guest speakers to his classes, both in-person and virtual. These guest speakers come from a variety of different backgrounds and roles, some of whom are Crown alumni. When asked about the value of bringing in guest speakers to classes, Professor Hajek explained: “To get to hear from people that are actively living out their faith in organizations and applying the same concepts that are being taught in the classroom–it’s immeasurable.” Many times, guest speakers are in a position or role that students seek and it can be helpful to have someone to “resonate and more closely identify with” , says Hajek. He went on to say: “We aim for students to develop a skill set, earn knowledge, to make them competitive for the roles they aim for and for where the Lord has for them.” Guest speakers greatly contribute to that development.

A Heart of Gratitude

Throughout our conversation, Professor Hajek expressed a heart of gratitude for all who have seen him and given him opportunities to succeed and refine his craft. Recognizing the biblical model for expression of gratitude and thanksgiving, Professor Hajek models this in all his classes as he and students write hand-written thank you notes to guest speakers and other faculty/staff. Expressing his gratitude for his students, he said: “I want to acknowledge a few graduated students who’ve helped with my transition to Crown: Ashley Earick, Micah Ladd, Jake Masek.” In addition to these spotlights, Professor Hajek referred to all his students by saying: “I really enjoy how determined, considerate, and thoughtful our students are–I learn quite a bit from them. They encourage me to keep pushing forward, to be innovative.” One way Professor Hajek demonstrates his care and commitment to student success is through his role as a Faculty Athletics Representative. He serves as academic faculty and also as a liaison between the Athletic Department and the student body and is instrumental in supporting Polar athletics, on and off the field/court. Once a college athlete himself, Professor Hajek realized early on that “someone else will be wearing your jersey someday. Athletics operates in borrowed time–student-athlete eligibility runs out. God loans us time and our talents, it’s up to us how we utilize and make the most of them. I believe this is how He’s telling me to invest my time and talent.” Inside and outside of the classroom, Professor Hajek is deeply committed to the success of his students.

For more information on the Sport Management program and the Crown College School of Business, click here

Share the Post:

Recent Posts