Rise Up: Alumni Sarah Hogan Leads the Falcons Behind the Scenes
Kayla Lee (Sport Administration ’16)- Sport Administration alumna (Class of 2006) Sarah (Gigantino) Hogan is no stranger to thrills of football on Saturday afternoon. Hogan, Coordinator of Head Coach Operations for the Atlanta Falcons, has been dedicating her weekends to the beloved game basically all of her life. Her father, Greg Gigantino, has been a college football coach for over 30 years and she has been right there with him.
“All I knew growing up was that Saturdays were a no brainer, you wake up and go tailgate for Dad’s game with all of the other coaches’ families,” she said. These days, Hogan is spending her time working for her own team, specifically coordinating logistics for Falcon’s Head Coach Dan Quinn.
Hogan began her career path to the NFL at James Madison University, where she earned her Bachelor’s in Kinesiology and Sport Management. While a student at JMU, she worked with campus recreation, and resorting back to her second nature, volunteered with the football team. Most students in sport management would say she had the ideal summer plans as an undergraduate student. Some students were sunbathing and cruising during the summer, Hogan was interning with the New York Jets. Not to mention, she did all of this while being the president of her club volleyball team, which required managing the roster as well as travel accommodations.
Upon graduating JMU in 2004, Hogan knew she really wanted to go into sports and campus recreation in graduate school. So much, that she was held a graduate assistantship at Georgia Institute of Technology in campus recreation, while attending Georgia State University for Sport Administration. Most days she would work all day at Georgia Tech and then head to Georgia State for evening classes. She also volunteered what little time she had working with tennis and swimming and diving at Georgia Tech, which shifted her career path to college athletics. When Hogan graduated from Georgia State University in 2006 with her Master’s, the school was in talks of establishing a football team. She thought nothing more about it.
After accepting a job at the University of Maryland working in facility and operations for less than a year, Hogan got the opportunity to intern in Hawaii. “It was kind of one of those things, if I don’t go there now I’m never going to get to go.” In Hawaii, she interned with a sport risk management firm, which led to her big break into college athletics.
“Coincidentally, they guy I worked for as a student in the football office at JMU called me and said ‘Hey we have a job open at Northeastern University. Are you looking for a full time job, I know you just graduated from grad school?’ I said ‘yep’ I would love to move to Boston. So that was it. That was how I got my big break.”
Hogan spent the next 3 seasons as Director of Operations at Northeastern University in Boston, which discontinued their program after the 2009 season. In a lucky turn of events, she found herself back at Georgia State University as the Director of Football Operations in their inaugural season in 2010, being brought on by her boss at the University of Maryland, who is also at Georgia State University. She stayed at GSU for five years before becoming the Scouting Administration Coordinator with the Falcons for a year and into her current role as Coordinator of Head Coach Operations.
Looking back on her time spent at Georgia State as a student, Hogan has very fond memories of the school. “It was a really good way to look at things differently because I did it [Sport Management] in undergrad. Graduate school was such a different take on things,” she says. She credits the distinction of being in class with more adults and people who were committed to a career path in the sport industry led to dynamic discussions in class sessions. When asked what advice she would give to current students in the program at Georgia State, she urged students to “be willing to do anything.” With all of the sporting events that happen around the city, she says you never know who you will meet so do as many as possible.
Her career path is impressive and her advice to her younger self was, “Don’t take for granted the roles that I was in. I kind of thought I was bigger than the role. But I look back and I’m like ‘no, that was perfect!’”
She’s been around football her entire life and she doesn’t plan on leaving the game anytime soon. If you are ever looking for Sarah Hogan, just know she is somewhere close to where a football is being thrown!
Sarah Hogan in a glimpse:
Favorite Food: Italian food
Favorite Movie: A League of Their Own
Favorite Thing to do on a Sunny Day: Go for a run
If you could be any color in the crayon box, what would it be: Light Blue
Favorite Music Genre: Alternative/Oldies/Rock
Favorite thing about living in Atlanta: The diversity of the city, especially when it comes to the in-town neighborhoods.
Least favorite thing about living in Atlanta: The traffic, mostly and the fact that we don’t have any water. There’s no beach. The beach is 5 hours away!