Western Carolina University recently had to bid farewell to a scholar-athlete in Mary Leadford, an outfielder for the Lady Catamount’s Softball Team who graduated on May 9, but she will make history for WCU this summer.
This spring, Leadford, who earned a degree in Sports Management, concentrating in Athletic Administration and Professional Sports, along with a minor in Marketing, was chosen for a summer internship at the University of Michigan, which is the first internship of this level for the Sports Management program at Western Carolina.
A Michigan native, Leadford became a Michigan Wolverine’s fan at a young age. When her family moved to Winston-Salem, Leadford graduated from Mount Tabor High School, and was offered a softball scholarship by Western Carolina’s Coach Megan Smith in 2005, but she still kept Michigan close to her heart.
For nearly two years, Leadford used her knowledge of contacts within the University of Michigan and strong networking skills to obtain her internship for this summer. She will be working for Dr. Mike Stevenson, Executive Associate Athletic Director and Interim Director for the university’s Academic Success Program. Leadford will take on responsibilities as the University of Michigan’s Administrative Assistant for the Sports Camps program, which covers approximately 25 varsity sports. Her duties will include scheduling, housing, staffing, budget, and compliance.
Leadford is most looking forward to working with the university’s women’s softball program and the ice hockey team. She spent her first week in Michigan last week getting her feet wet within the university’s athletic program and catching up with relatives.
An excited Leadford said after her first few days of work that her internship was an excellent opportunity.
“I believe this internship will open a lot of doors in my future,” said Leadford. “An opportunity like this comes once in a lifetime for someone like me. I never back down from any goals I set for myself, and this is one goal that I’ve dreamed about ever since I was little.”
Leadford plans on attending graduate school in the near future, and hopes to obtain a position within a college athletic department. Her ultimate career goal is to become an intercollegiate Athletic Director.