By: Sean Cartell
SEC Digital Network
NASHVILLE – Things have come full circle for Bridgestone Arena event coordinator Ben Bosse, who is the venue’s main point of contact with the Southeastern Conference for this week’s SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament.
While the 2013 edition of the men’s event is Bosse’s first from an administrative standpoint, he knows the event well from the perspective of a student-athlete. Bosse was a walk-on basketball player at the University of Tennessee beginning in 2005, including participation in the 2006 SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament in Nashville.
“It’s pretty neat,” Bosse said. “It was one of those things that I would have never dreamed I would be sitting on this side of the table from it, but it’s amazing. There’s not a lot of people who get to do what I do with the SEC Tournament in terms of being involved in outing the pieces in the right places. It’s a really, really neat experience.”
Bosse, who is a self-described “southern mutt,” grew up all across the southeast before settling in Knoxville, Tenn. He spent much of his youth around high school sports, as his father David was a longtime athletics director at West High School in Knoxville.
“My dad was an athletic director at the high school level, so I grew up in basketball gyms, football games on Friday nights, going to clean up the stadium on Saturday mornings and running around the track just to hang out with my dad,” Bosse said. “I never really dreamt of doing this or anything of that nature, but I’ve been around it my whole life.”
Bosse attended Farragut High School in Knoxville, averaging 16 points per game as a senior, but didn’t receive looks from any major universities for the opportunity to play at the next level. He decided upon his hometown school and worked hard to earn a spot on the basketball squad.
“The smaller schools that I had a chance to play basketball for didn’t make sense financially, so I ended up at Tennessee, which is 10 miles from my house,” Bosse said. “I just went to walk-on tryouts like everybody else did. Bruce Pearl’s first year was my first. I was lucky enough to make the team and got to experience a lot of cool things. We went to play in Madison Square Garden and the Georgia Dome and this building for the SEC Tournament. A lot of good experiences came from my time there and I made a lot of good friendships, and I’m fortunate to be able to carry some of those over to today.”
Bosse didn’t have a specific career path planned, but working in athletics seemed to be a natural fit. He decided to pursue a master’s degree in sport administration at Belmont University and started working at Bridgestone Arena while in graduate school.
“After I graduated, I was looking for things to do and kind of got connected here at the arena,” Bosse said. “I finished a master’s degree in sport administration at Belmont University, which is what got me to Nashville. Before I graduated, I started working here full-time. We had the SEC Women’s Basketball Tournament here [in 2011] and it was a great experience for my first go-round, but it was kind of a whirlwind four months.”
It was Bosse’s combination of a basketball background coupled with professional training in athletics administration that made him a perfect fit for his role at Bridgestone Arena, especially as it relates to the SEC Basketball Tournaments.
“One of the primary reasons I was hired here was to do the SEC Tournament,” Bosse said. “They had somebody who was really experienced in concerts and they had somebody who was really experienced with the professional hockey side of things, but they didn’t really have anybody who understood basketball and knew the ins and outs of what is needed to put on the tournament. One of the event coordinators may not know you need X, Y and Z to play a basketball tournament, but I might have a greater insight on that. That’s where it’s been easy to make that transition.”
The SEC Tournament is just one of Bosse’s responsibilities at Bridgestone Arena, where he is involved in managing events of all types and sizes.
“On a daily basis as an event coordinator, I handle any event that comes through the building,” Bosse said. “It can be a basketball tournament, it can be a professional hockey game for the Nashville Predators, it can be a concert for 15,000 people or a meeting for 12.
“I wear a lot of different hats and get to interact with a lot of different departments in the building,” Bosse continued. “I basically act as a funnel for information from whoever is coming into the building as a client. I disseminate that information to the appropriate department. It’s just a big facilitator role, but it’s pretty important role when you look at the grand scheme of things for what it truly takes to get it done.”
Bosse is not sure what direction his career path will take him. He is enjoying taking things one day at a time in his current role at Bridgestone Arena and makes sure to take advantage of every opportunity he has to learn new things.
“I don’t know how I got started in it and I don’t know how I’ll end up in it,” Bosse said. “I ultimately don’t have the path planned out. I love the college athletics atmosphere. It’s different when the pep band shows up and starts playing at 10:30 in the morning and it’s different when you get that passion from all the different schools walking through. The professional atmosphere is something completely different, but what we’ve got going in Nashville with the Predators is something great right now. There is a lot of momentum behind the team.
“I’m just really thankful to be in a position that we’re able to put on top-notch events like the SEC Men’s Basketball Tournament and then, three days later, be able to work a sold-out hockey game. It’s pretty cool to be this busy.”