Mark Hyman, an assistant teaching professor of sports management, will serve as the University of Maryland’s George Solomon Endowed Chair in Sports Journalism, according to a press release Thursday.
During his seven-year tenure with the management department in the GW School of Business, he taught courses in sports media and communication, law, finance and video production and brought a lineup of guest speakers to campus. While Hyman said he is sad to leave the University, he added that he was honored to take on his new opportunity at Maryland.
“This is a unique opportunity to lead one of the elite university sports journalism programs in the country,” Hyman said in an email.
The center was formed under former Washington Post sports editor George Solomon, who Hyman called an “icon” in the sports journalism profession. He added that he will take on broader responsibilities as chair, including mentoring students, developing curriculum and planning symposia and other special events. At GW, Hyman primarily focused on teaching.
Hyman began his career as a sports journalist, earning bylines in The New York Times, Sports Illustrated, Time.com and The Post. He reported on the Orioles as a beat writer for the Baltimore Sun and covered the “pay for play” scandal that brought down the Southern Methodist University’s football program during his time in the field.
Beyond teaching, Hyman hosted the GW Business of Sports podcast and worked on several research projects, often including business school students as research assistants. After teaching a class in 2015 on the development of baseball in China, Hyman and several students began developing a documentary on the hunt for the first Chinese Major League Baseball player.
Hyman said he was grateful GW gave him the opportunity to create “experiential courses” which have allowed him and some of his students to travel across the world for research. They’ve gone to China for documentary production, Japan to research sports globalization and the West Coast to learn about the athletic apparel industry, he said.
In his role as a professor, Hyman and his classes have also worked with the athletic department. His Sports Media and Communication class analyzed several social media accounts and presented the athletic department with its findings, and his video production course paired with ESPN+ to operate cameras during games.
Lisa Delpy Neirotti, the director of the sports management program, hired Hyman as an adjunct professor in 2011. She said his experience as a baseball beat reporter and sports business journalist, coupled with his willingness to teach courses outside of his expertise, were “ideal” for the position.
Neirotti added that Hyman shared her mission for the sports management program to provide “unique learning experiences both in and out of the classroom.”
“His contacts in sport media and baseball are extensive and allowed us to bring a number of well-known sport personalities to campus both in-person and virtually,” Neirotti said in an email.
Sports professionals and commentators like 2018 Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon, sports reporter Ken Rosenthal and sports columnist Christine Brennan made guest appearances and gave lectures to students in Hyman’s courses.
Bailee Weisz, a 2020-graduate, former president of the Sports Business Association and three-time student of Hyman’s, said Hyman helped his students form connections with professionals he brought in by allowing students to moderate discussions.
“He told us that at this point in his life, he really doesn’t need to make any more connections or he really doesn’t need to boost his resume,” Weisz said. “Whatever opportunity he can give to his students to have a lasting impact on these industry professionals, he’s going to try and do that.”
Weisz said Hyman taught her the importance of examining any issue or problem from multiple angles, a skill she said he picked up as a journalist.
“His journalism background really taught him that and he really emphasized that through a lot of different interactions I had with him, whether it was in the classroom or outside the classroom,” she said.
As the year winded down, Weisz said she attended an online sports management celebration meant to commemorate graduating students, but the students filled the time with “accolades” about Hyman. She added that he humbly tried to steer the conversation back to the senior class, but the students refused to let his impact go unrecognized.
“We all just completely disregarded it just because he’s been so instrumental during our time that it would be a disservice for us not to celebrate him and thank him,” Weisz said.
While she is sad to see him leave her alma mater, Weisz said she couldn’t think of anyone “more deserving for the role” at Maryland. She added that even though his classes at GW weren’t centered around journalism, he would “sprinkle in a little bit of that journalism background.”
“I’m just happy that he is able to do something that he’s dedicated his entire career for and I think that’s going to be leading a group of students at Maryland for the next couple of years that will definitely go on to do really great things,” she said.
Emily Maise contributed reporting.