Five Perfect Careers for the Ex-Athlete

Words by Emily Malool • 09/12/2017

When it's time to hang up the cleats, these five careers are great for people who still want a life in sports.

While many kids dream of playing their favorite sport forever, the likelihood of going pro vanishes for most after high school. For the lucky few who continue to college, their careers are sometimes cut short by injuries. 

But the long odds of playing in the World Cup or the Super Bowl don't mean you have to give up your dream of making a life in athletics. There are many job opportunities for people who love sports when playing is no longer, or never really was, an option. While you don’t need to be an ex-athlete to nab one of these jobs, an intense knowledge of sports can be crucial. 

1. Sports Agent

Sports agents represent athletes when it comes negotiating contracts and navigating the worlds of marketing and sponsorship. Agents must have an understanding of the sports and entertainment worlds, so they can help their clients secure the best deals. Past experience on the field will be helpful to understanding the mentalities and disciplines many pro athletes possess. 

Average Salary: $110,000

2. Coach

Whether at the high school, college, semi-pro or professional levels, coaches are constantly motivating and teaching players how to improve their game performance. Coaches help their teams learn new skills and strategies and how to implement them during games. Obviously, coaches must be intimately familiar with their sports, and that's why so many are ex-players. 

Salary Range: $40,000 to $8 million (salary depends on both the sport and the level of coaching)

3. General Manager

General managers have many responsibilities, but most notably, they are in charge of handling all business matters for professional sports teams. This includes negotiating contracts, hiring coaches, drafting players and managing the team’s budget. Knowledge of the given sport is extremely important, but so is understanding the financial ins and outs of the sports world. 

Average Salary: $1 million (salary also fluctuates based on sport and league)

4. Statistician

Sports statisticians gather data on games and players — from the countable to the very advanced. They use this information to create formulas that track player and team performances. These formulas can help predict who will win games and can help determine the value of certain players and skills. Sports experience and knowledge is necessary to understanding the data you are collecting and interpreting.

Average Salary: $75,000

5. Sports Journalist

In the field of athletics, journalists work through several forms of media and at many levels. These include play-by-play announcers, investigative reporters, beat reporters, radio personalities and more. Whether it's interviewing an athlete right there on the sideline or recording a podcast a day after the game, the sports media is changing and expanding rapidly in the age of the internet. Traditional sports reporters must attend the game they are writing about, and a sports background can be helpful for context and background knowledge. 

Average Salary: $45,000

About the Author

Emily Malool

Emily Malool is a senior at Scotch Plains-Fanwood High School in Scotch Plains, New Jersey. She hopes to attend college in the tri-state metro area and become a high school math teacher. She enjoys reading, traveling and playing with her dog.