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Sports Uncovered… Director of Basketball Operations (DOBO)

While the position doesn't directly fall under the coaching staff, it essentially is a branch of the coaching staff and is often hired directly by the head basketball coach. The director of basketball operations is responsible for the daily assistance of the program (basketball team) for which they work. The description is vague in nature because of the various responsibilities that can and do fall under the director of basketball operations authority. Most listings for the job will include assisting in scheduling, travel, camp planning and programming, marketing and sponsor finding and community service.

Jan Bethea – University of Nebraska (DOBO)

In 2010, Nebraska women's basketball coach Connie Yori announced the addition of Jan Bethea to the Husker staff as director of operations Jan Bethea brings a strong resume as a collegiate assistant coach and director of operations. In 2008, Bethea also played a key role in launching one of the most historically significant projects for the Women's Basketball Coaches Association, serving as the Manager of New Initiatives for the Kay Yow/WBCA Cancer Foundation. She also assisted in managing efforts for the Think Pink campaign. The initiative raised more than $1 million for cancer research with more than 1,100 colleges and universities participating in campaign efforts.

"Jan brings great experience in administration and she is a good fit for our program right now," Yori said. "Her values and beliefs match ours, and she wants to help our student-athletes maximize their potential both on and off the court." Connie Yori, Nebraska Head Women's Basketball Coach

What is your athletic background?
o Director of Operations, Nebraska (2010-Present)
o Play Through the Foul Team Building & Communication Workshops (2008-10)
o Assistant Coach, Cal State Northridge (2005-07)
o Director of Operations, UNLV (2000-05)
o WBCA Events Manager, High School All-America Game (1999-2000)

What is your role as a DOBO?
That’s a hard question.  As a DOBO you wear a lot of hats.  I am primarily responsible for overall administrative side of the program.  Most people think of a basketball program and think only of the coaches and players; however, we have a lot of support staff that help make things go smoothly.  First and foremost, I am in charge of making sure we stay within our operating budget and each year that gets harder.  I am the liaison for the following departments; marketing, academic, development, housing, ticket office, facilities, sports information, business office, alumni, booster club, and many more.  I also supervise our student managers and graduate assistant and serve as the office manager of our department. 

My day to day responsibility is to handle all speaking engagements for my head coach, speak with our team’s academic advisor to check on grade progress, handle all scheduling needs for visiting teams, schedule our games for upcoming season, monitor our incoming freshmen to make sure they have submitted in all their paperwork for admission and NCAA eligibility requirements, assist with our teams leadership session (once a week).  I constantly work on team travel which consists of speaking with the bus companies, hotels, restaurants and other companies associated with our travel.  I can go on and on but I’m not sure you have enough space for everything I do.  Like I said I wear a lot of hats. 

As an Administrator, how do you relate with the student athletes?
Working with our student-athletes is the best part of my job.  Most freshmen come to school without a clue of what to expect.  My job is to make their transition into college life easy.  It doesn’t always work out that way. Sometimes it’s the first time they’ve ever been away from home so they get home sick very easy.  We have an open door policy here at Nebraska so our athletes know they can walk into any coaches’ office and share whatever is on their mind.  Because I am not a coach, it’s easier for them to talk to me about life.  We emphasize academic first and this is why we have a 100% graduation rate, because we also encourage them to think past basketball and think about their future.  

My job is to make sure the only thing the coaches have to think about is coaching.  I’m blessed to work with some of the finest coaches in the business.  They are all professional and we help each other to get the job done.  They appreciate everything I do and encourage me to think outside the box to help better the program as a whole.  Most coaches are used to doing the same thing over and over again, but the coaches I work with are willing to listen to new and improve ideas especially if it’s going to help them do their job more efficiently. 

How does marketing and pubic relations play a role in your job duties?
Marketing and media relations department are very committed in promoting our program and help to take it to a national level.  I am the liaison with the marketing department to help give ideas on different promotion we would like to see done for our team and games.  They do an excellent job keeping me in the loop on different things they want to try to increase our attendance for our games.  Currently, our season attendance average is 4,184 which is ranked #20 in the NCAA and 5th in the Big Ten. Our media relations department work directly with our head coach so I’m as involve as much with that aspect but I think they do an excellent job getting the correct information out about our program.  

Do you travel with the team and in what capacity?
Yes I travel with the team.  While traveling, I serve as the coordinator for the entire group.  I coordinator with the bus company to make sure they are on time to pick us up from the airport.  Once we get to the hotel I check the group in and pass out room keys.  I then go to check out our meeting space to make sure that the room is set up properly based on our needs.  I double check with the catering department to make sure our meals will be on time and any other small adjustments we may make.  If we practice the night before the game, I coordinate with the opposing team to make sure we have an allotted practice time on the main court of their facility. During our shooting practice, I will find out which bench is our and make adjustments to the seating arrangements based on our needs.  I will also take a look at our locker room to see if I need to make any adjustments to the space.  Finally I will look at the timing sheet for the game (provided by the home team) to see if there is any special court announcements, presentations or video being shown during our pre-game warm ups and also make sure there has not been any changes to the assigned officials.

Wish I knew then what I know now:
I wish someone could schedule a meeting for my meetings because I find myself in too many of them.  Why didn’t someone tell me that I need an assistant?  I wish I knew “other duties as assigned” really meant you have “two” jobs but “one” paycheck.  On the serious note, I wish I knew that I would love this job because I would have done it 20 years ago.  Sometimes it takes doing something else to make you realize what you really want to do.  I am fortunate to say that I get paid for doing something I absolutely LOVE. 

Lesson:  “The purpose for pursuing your passion is to put passion back into your purpose," Jan Bethea

Bernell Hooker

Bernell Hooker is the Founder and CEO of Images of Us (IOU) Sports; a non-profit organization that empowers girls and women through education and sports. "Think of yourself as an athlete. I guarantee you it will change the way you walk, the way you work, and the decisions you make about leadership, teamwork, and success." - Mariah Burton Nelson