David Boudwin ’06 remembers the moment clearly: he was standing courtside at Kansas City’s Sprint Center, site of the 2010 CBE Classic. To his left was legendary Duke coach Mike Krzyzewski; to his right was the fiery Frank Martin, then-head-coach at Kansas State. Rather than posing for a picture to post on his facebook page, Boudwin was thinking to himself, “How am I going to fix this?” It seemed the two coaches had concerns with the decals that were on the court, and it was up to Boudwin, operations director for the Gazelle Group, the company that was running the event, to solve the problem.
In other words, it was just another day on the job for the 2006 business graduate.
“There’s always something that comes up—a question a team has, something that ESPN changes, the building has a problem, or supplies don’t make it there,” Boudwin said. “Setting [up a tournament like the CBE] from a business side of things is challenging because no matter how much you plan, something goes wrong.”
Boudwin played basketball for three years at TCNJ, but his coolness under pressure was forged in the classroom—as well as during an academic challenge he took part in his senior year.
In spring 2006, Boudwin teamed up with Loren Slack ’07 to win the inaugural Lion’s Apprentice, a seven-week competition that challenged students to apply what they learn in class to real-life business challenges.
At Gazelle, Boudwin says he deals with situations similar to those that won him the Lion’s Apprentice.
“We handle everything from marketing and promoting the event to getting teams and sponsors and dealing with ESPN. That all funnels through our office,” he said. “I have two primary roles here: I sell sponsorships, and I am the operations director, which means anything that has to do with the team or the arena goes through me and my team.”
Along with the excitement (Boudwin has met such figures as Hall of Fame coach John Wooden and former NBA superstar Charles Barkley) comes some headaches, like the encounter with Krzyzewski and Martin. But for the most part, Boudwin says, everything always works out.
“Having to deal with Coach K and Frank Martin was definitely the most stressful,” Boudwin said. “But we were able to figure it out, the game went off without a hitch, and it was one of the more successful events that we ever put together.”