“When it comes to the business of football,” says Katie Douglass ’00, “the only aspect I don’t have firsthand experience with is actually being on the field. I like to joke that I could step in as the nose tackle—I’m 5'3", 125, but in my head, I’m 6'3" and 320 pounds.”

Douglass’s original plan was law school, but once there, she realized that she was looking for something “a little more nontraditional, a little more creative.” So when the NFL called, she jumped at the chance.

For the League, she worked in off-the-field player development for all 32 clubs and then joined the New England Patriots in player development and community relations. With the Patriots, she says, “I experienced a structure that produces sustainable success, which is rare in professional sports.”

Plus, she went to three Super Bowls. “Some people work in the business for 30 years,” she observes, “and never make it there.”

From New England, Douglass moved on to the 2016 Chicago Olympic Bid Committee. “It was my job to create public awareness and support for our bid—engaging the entire Chicago area.” And even though Rio won that bid, for Douglass, the experience was “phenomenal, very much like working on a political campaign.”

“A career in sports requires a lot of moving,” Douglass explains, and indeed her next stop took her to Vancouver, where she worked for NBC at the 2010 Winter Olympics. 

Then it was on to Kansas City as the Chiefs’ director of player development—one of two women in that role in the NFL. “The same way it was the coach’s job to help the players be the best they could be on the field,” she explains, “it was my job to help them be the best people they could be off the field.”

With a change in management, she moved to Phoenix for a position as vice president of operations at EXOS, a human performance company. At the same time, she kept up her NFL connections by working with the NFL Players Association to improve former players’ quality of life.

And after all her travels—New York, Boston, Chicago, Vancouver, Kansas City, Phoenix—the Texas native has come home for her current position as executive senior associate athletics director of external affairs at the University of Texas, San Antonio. It’s a long title with a big portfolio: “marketing, communications, video, broadcast, community relations, branding and licensing—all of that is under my umbrella,” she explains.

Katie Douglass
The Sports Professional

Related Stories