After graduating from The University of Scranton, Matthew Calamoneri made the nearly 2,000-mile journey to Lubbock, Texas, to begin a master's degree in mass communication with the College of Media & Communication. It was not a blind leap of faith for the New Jersey native, though.
“Sufyan was good friends with Dr. [Coy] Callison [professor and associate dean of graduate studies at CoMC],” says Calamoneri, referring to his guidance from CoMC alumni Sufyan Mohammed, Ph.D., professor of communication and media at The University of Scranton. “So, I gave Dr. Callison a call, and I heard everything I needed to hear. My mind was set.”
The most impressive aspect of the phone call for Calamoneri was hearing about the sports media focus offered at the master's level. Calamoneri played baseball at Scranton, but he knew the big leagues were not in his future. He wanted to play on the other side of the game.
“A lot of people don't understand sports is a business,” says Calamoneri. “I didn't even really understand that until I went to Tech. My class with Jody Roginson [associate professor of practice in the college's graduate program] opened my eyes to that side of things. It really defined sports media for me and showed me all the avenues that were available.”
While absorbing knowledge from the classrooms, Calamoneri served as a research assistant for Associate Professor Catherine Langford, Ph.D. Calamoneri helped Langford with a social movement text she worked on at the time, but he claims she helped him far more than he could have ever helped her, mentoring him towards a successful future.
Calamoneri was finished with his degree in a year, and after gaining a wealth of experience, he ended his time at Texas Tech the same way he started it—with help from the university's faithful alumni system.
A former classmate was working with the Dallas Cowboys and pointed the NFL franchise in Calamoneri's direction when they needed an event manager assistant.
“When the Dallas Cowboys put up a job opening on the internet, they're going to get thousands of applicants,” says Calamoneri. “But through the networking I did at Tech, I got a call from [the former classmate] one day. Because of that connection, I had a backdoor interview, so to speak. It was very informal, very quick, and I was hired.”
With a smile, he adds, “Make friends. They'll have your back at some point.”
Calamoneri now works in event operations for the franchise, where he acts as a liaison for visiting teams. His work ensures a smooth experience for those teams, as well as an on-time experience for viewers by coordinating movement through the stadium's tunnels. Through this position, Calamoneri is regularly exposed to coaches and athletes from across the league and is always networking.
His position with the Cowboys is part-time, as the NFL season runs from September to February, but Calamenori stays productive with a full-time job at Moroch, a marketing agency in Dallas.
“We're a full-service marketing agency, but we specialize at the hyper-local level,” says Calamenori. “We buy media at the national level, too, but focusing on the local level gives us a leg up on business. For example, my main client is Planet Fitness. I work with the media planning team to get a total budget we're able to spend across all mediums. With a local focus, we can really target all the ads we run based on culture and demographics.”
Calamoneri credits Texas Tech for the current state of his life, recalling the university's proud motto: From here, it's possible.
“For me, that is the line of my life, because it's true,” says Calamenori. “You got a kid from Jersey, who went all the way down to Texas Tech, and now look where I am. I'm working for the Dallas Cowboys. I'm working for a full-service marketing agency. I wouldn't have been able to get to this spot without first going through Texas Tech. And even better, I had fun along the way.”
Aside from his fruitful connections, rewarding professional relationships, and valuable classes at Texas Tech, Calamoneri says the most fulfilling part of the journey was, arguably, finishing something his father started roughly fifty years ago.
“It was [great] to go to Tech because my dad—also from Jersey—started at Texas Tech in like the 60s,” he says. “He got really homesick eventually and went back to Jersey, but my being able to graduate from Tech was like it came full circle. They were able to come down and watch me present my thesis, and it was just awesome.”
Calamoneri continues his hard work in the industry and continues the spirt of those who propelled him in his pursuit. Once a Red Raider, always a Red Raider.