WINONA LAKE — In the last six years, enrollment in Grace College’s sport management program has quadrupled in size. While the program has existed for 20 years, in 2010 it joined the Grace College School of Business. Dr. Darrell Johnson, professor and chair of the sport management department, attributes the program’s growth to diverse concentration options.
Grace’s sport management program focuses on applied learning to prepare students for a variety of career options. Areas of study include sport business, marketing, media, ministry, psychology and event management. “The wide range of study options is unique,” said Johnson. “By combining sports and business, students can pair the sport they enjoy with studies that will prepare them for a rewarding career.”
Kiera Gray, originally from Fort Wayne, graduated from Grace College in 2012 with a B.A. in Pre-Medicine and Biology. Initially, Gray planned to focus solely on her majors. But when a basketball injury prevented her from finishing her junior season, Gray stay at Grace another year and earn a sport management minor. “I prayed long and hard for God to lead me in the direction He wanted me to go. It wasn’t until my physical rehabilitation that it clicked.” While completing the sport management program, Gray decided to pursue a career as a physical therapist. “It was my opportunity to combine what I loved: sports and medicine,” Gray said.
In pursuit of her B.A. at Grace, Gray worked in the Gordon Recreation Center on campus for her required practicum experience, as a volunteer for the NCCAA championship tournament in the Manahan Orthopaedic Capital Center and as an intern in a local physical therapy office. Her course work and applied learning experiences prepared Gray for future success as a business woman and owner of a company. “My work experience during college added to my resume tremendously and gave me the confidence to pursue the career of my dreams.”
Before graduating, Gray was hired by Concentra Physical Therapy in Michigan as a physical therapy technician. She was transferred to Atlanta, Ga., a year later, and in total, worked for Concentra for three and one-half years. During that time, Kiera started her own business, GCA Elite Sports Management, LLC. “My company runs and manages a number of sport and athletic programs, facilities and events in Fort Wayne and Atlanta,” Gray said.
“While my initial plan was to pursue a doctorate of physical therapy after working as a PT technician for a couple years, the profitability of my company shifted my focus to managing my business. But I haven’t left PT behind for good,” she added. “The relationships I built with physicians and therapists during my time at Concentra may allow me to add another sector to my business. I’m excited to see where God takes me next,” Gray concluded.
Kiera Gray is currently pursuing a Master of Business Administration through Grace’s online graduate degree program and plans to complete her degree next year.