Passion for student sports carries on campus

Ilian Cervantes

The Sacramento State Athletics department has seen a lot of change in administration with recent hires and promotions.

Markus Jennings joined the Hornet family July 7 as the associate athletics director for external affairs and is responsible for fundraising, marketing, ticketing, and media relations.

“One of the things that made us choose Markus was his sincerity,” said Cheryl Boyes, director of community relations and special events. “We were all anxious to meet him when he came out for the in-person interview.”

Boyes was part of the hiring committee and said that aside from Jennings’ outgoing personality, he brings to the department experience from a larger university as well experience in development and fundraising.

“I think he is going to make a huge impact, not only on the dollars that we raise, but the pride and the loyalty that we are going to have with him here,” Boyes said.

As a college athlete in the mid 1990s for the baseball program at New Mexico State, Jennings said he has always had a passion for athletics and is driven by positively impacting the student-athlete experience.

“I consider myself really having an impact on student athletics, that’s my motivation,” Jennings said.  “A coach is that person that has that daily interaction with the student athletes, that can motivate them in the classroom and on the field-of-play. I impact those student-athletes by helping them get scholarships, upgrades to facilities and even sometimes mentoring.”

Although Jennings majored in business administration and worked in the corporate sector for 14 years, he said he knew his calling was in athletics and just needed to strategize a way to get into the business.

With the help of mentors, Jennings said he was able to join New Mexico State University as the special assistant to the athletic director in 2007.

Jennings later secured a position at Kent State in 2011, where he helped increase the Football Enhancement Fund by 269 percent and also spearheaded a donor-based seating program for football and men’s basketball, among many other projects.

In fact, Jennings has already hit the ground running in Hornet athletics and has created the Future Hornets Kids Club, a membership program for children which includes perks like meet and greet’s with athletes.

“He’s got an incredible attention to detail, he showed that he is great in terms of doing his homework, and lastly, he’s got a very engaging style and personality. He puts you at ease very quickly,” said Bill Macriss, athletic director. “In that job all of those three characteristics are vitally important to be successful.”

Marketing director for Hornet athletics, Adam C. Primas, said the energy and enthusiasm Jennings brings to the program will go a long way, and added that through his interpersonal skills he expects to see growth in the Hornet Club, the athletics donor program and the new Hornet Kids Club.

“Athletics is a family, we want the best of the best, it is nice to add him to the family because a lot of us have been here for a long time,” Boyes said. “He is going fit in really well and it is going to be really fun to work with him.”