Adam ClarkDirector of Football Operations/Assistant AD for FootballUniversity of MinnesotaWarm-up RoundFavorite color: Blue.Favorite food: Chinese.Childhood idol: Derek Jeter.Favorite non-sports hobby: Fishing and hunting.What motivates you to get out of bed in the morning?My competitive nature. I grew up in a small town in Kansas. We had to work for everything we got. I played baseball growing up and was fortunate enough to play college baseball. I enjoy working together with people who strive for one common goal.I like my job in operations because I like to be behind the scenes. I don’t like to be the person out front and center making speeches. I like making sure everyone’s getting taken care of and the team is successful. I also enjoy helping the players and the coaches.With a baseball background, how did you end up working with football?Growing up in a really small town, my high school was a 2-A school. All my friends and I played football, basketball and baseball. If we all didn’t play, we wouldn’t have enough players to make a team. Small town USA. I enjoyed playing all three sports, but when I got to the college level, baseball was my best option.Several of my family members are football coaches. My dad and a couple of my uncles were high school football coaches. One of my uncles was a college coach. Football was always in our family. It’s always been with me. That’s why detouring over to football was a natural fit when I got older and was looking for work.Who are your mentors?In junior college I interned at Texas A&M University. I wanted to intern with football, but they didn’t have anything available, so I interned in the sports information department for the summer. I worked from 8am to 3pm and then went over to the football office and offered to help out in the evenings. That allowed me to get to know the staff, which helped me start to build my professional network in the industry. I tried to make as many connection as I could with the coaches and support staff, which included the director of football operations, Charley North.After I left, I stayed in touch with the people I had met. When I graduated college, there was no jobs open in football so I got a job a non-sports company. I had only been working there for about three months when Coach North called me and offered me a job in the football department at Texas A&M, where I stayed for four years.I was the grunt. I started at the bottom and learned as much as I could. Then, when Coach Jerry Kill, who was a family friend, got the job at Northern Illinois, he offered me the Director of Football Operations job. I moved to Illinois, and stayed for three years. From there, I moved to Minnesota, which is where I am today.What advice would you give young professionals who want to make their way in athletics?You have to be patient. In this day and age, kids want things yesterday, instantaneously. It doesn’t always work that way. You have to work hard and prove your worth. If you do it the right way and you work your way up from the bottom, it means more when you get to the top. You know what the guy on the bottom of the totem pole is going through, because you’ve been there. You know how all the systems work. People also respect you more.It’s important to have the attitude that no matter what needs to be done, you will roll your sleeves up, chip in and get it done. That attitude comes from being humble and realizing that no job is too big or too small.