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Annemarie Farrell

By daring students to take risks—and make mistakes—Associate professor Annemarie Farrell helps students bring a winning mindset into an ever-evolving industry.

Annemarie Farrell teaches a classroom of students

Associate professor Annemarie Farrell presents a new concept to her sport management students. (Photo by Allison Usavage.)

Whether Annemarie Farrell trains athletes on the field or steers students towards their dream job, she encourages struggle, vulnerability, and yes, mistakes.   

The nationally renowned rugby coach and chair of IC’s sport management department knows that taking risks with determination leads to long-term wins. After all, not only do her students land incredible learning opportunities at events like the Super Bowl, Final Four, Olympics, and World Cup, among many others—but they also earn coveted industry positions with organizations like the NFL and the NBA. 

Annemarie sees the success of her students as her big why—and her ultimate win. “They understand gratitude. They have grit. They are willing to do the stuff that no one wants to do,” explained Annemarie about the ethos she instills in her students and the qualities that make them so accomplished.  

“I tell my first-year students, ‘I don't know what your first job is going to be because I don't know what Apple is going to come out with in the next two years.’”

The sports industry is bigger than the music and movie businesses combined, and it runs on the expertise of many nonathletes—professionals who work in marketing, sales, compliance, agenting, coaching, and managing international sport bodies. It’s also an industry that changes at breakneck speed.   

“I tell my first-year students, ‘I don't know what your first job is going to be because I don't know what Apple is going to come out with in the next two years,’” laughed Annemarie.     

She rethinks her Sports Marketing coursework every day—asking her students to consider timely sales reports from Deloitte, to incorporate the latest trend on TikTok, and to set up in-class pitches to real clients like Starbucks. She wants her students to “get their hands dirty” as soon as possible.   

Ithaca College was on Annemarie’s radar long before she joined the faculty. Aside from IC’s reputation and established alumni network, she was drawn to the friendly environment where students and alumni help each other out.  

“That’s why [current students] have such tremendous opportunities: because alumni have opened the doors for them. And they are opening the doors for eighth graders that they've never met before. That's the legacy of what we do.”