August 16, 2007

Eric Krupa ’92 Chosen to Lead South Atlantic Minor League Baseball

He’s been financial chief for Minor League Baseball since 1997

As incoming president of the South Atlantic League of minor league baseball, Eric Krupa ’92 is moving his way up in the sports world.

Perhaps the first Lafayette student to graduate as a mathematics-economics major, Krupa took an entry-level position with Merrill Lynch after graduation. The former Leopard punter was training for a shot at playing professional football when he ruptured his Achilles tendon.

Although his football dreams were dashed, Krupa did get to meet the trainer of the Reading Phillies, the minor league baseball team just outside his hometown. He wanted to see what he could do to stay in sports, even if he couldn’t play them.

The trainer gave him a lead on a job.

“It was a very interesting arrangement,” he recalls. “Their main need was for a locker room manager.” The person is called a “clubbie.”

For home games, Krupa would take care of the visiting team’s every need. Whether it was laundry, food, beverages, he was a baseball concierge. During away games, he was an intern in the front office. He learned about the ticket office, marketing, concessions, and groundskeeping.

“That proved to be extremely beneficial,” he says. “I was intrigued enough to find out how to further my career.”

He was advised to get a master’s degree in sports administration and facility management, which he earned from Ohio University. He served an internship with the Walt Disney Company while it was launching its sports complex at Disney World in Florida.

While most of his classmates wanted to work in the marketing department, Krupa was ready to get his hands dirty with the number crunching of the new venture.

“You can’t teach Disney how to do marketing,” he says. “I wanted to do the post event analysis to see if they were beneficial for the company. The whole thing interested me from an economic point of view.”

Krupa became financial chief in the Minor League Baseball’s central office in January 1997. He will face his greatest challenge when he becomes South Atlantic League president Jan. 1, 2008.

This new position “certainly has the potential for longevity,” he says, particularly considering the last man to have the job stayed for 50 years. But he’s leaving his options open.

“I still can’t believe I can make money working in sports,” he says. “My dad still has a hard time with that.”

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