Charles W. Mentkowski Sports Law Alumnus of the Year Award

Charles W. Mentkowski Sports Law Alumnus of the Year Award

2015 Winner Nyea Sturman

Created in 2002, the Sports Law Alumni Association presents this award to the alum who demonstrates the following qualities; dedication to the sports law program at Marquette University Law School while a student at Marquette, contributions to the Sports Law Alumni Association, contributions to the field of sports law in general, and support of the NSLI and Sports Law Program after their time as a student in the law school.

The award became the Charles W. Mentkowski Sports Law Alumnus of the Year Award in 2007, renamed in honor of Professor Emeritus Charles Mentkowski a graduate of the class of 1948. Professor Mentkowski was a vital participant in the creation of the Institute. Until he retired he was often the first faculty member that students interested in sports law would meet, the faculty advisor to the Sports Law Journal and the chair of the National Sports Law Institute's Board of Advisors.

2015 Winner Nyea Sturman

The 2015 Winner of the Award is Nyea Sturman, class of 2003, General Counsel for the Orlando Magic.  15 years ago Nyea Sturman came to Marquette came from New York and made it clear that she would be involved in the program and was committed to finding her way into the industry.  She has made good on both of these pronouncements.  A member of the Sports Law Alumni Association and the NSLI’s Board of Advisors, Nyea has been with the Magic for the past decade and was named general counsel in April of 2014. Prior to this role, she spent almost two years as the assistant director of legal services and seven years in the Magic’s corporate partnerships department. During her time at Marquette Nyea was executive editor of the Marquette Sports Law Review and the president of the Sports Law Society and received her Sports Law Certificate.  She also completed internships with the National Football League, Milwaukee Bucks and the Pettit National Ice Center.   Since graduation Nyea has returned to Marquette on career panels, seminar and conference panels, provided advice to current students and alums, and helped recruit new students to the law school. She is truly a worthy recipient of this award.

2014 Winner Matt Banker

The 2014 Winner of the Award was Matt Banker, class of 2001, Associate Athletic Director for Compliance, University of Louisville.  As a student Matt took several sports law courses and was a member of the Sports Law Society and what was called the Marquette Sports Law Journal at the time. In many ways though, Matt is a worthy recipient of this Award for what he has done after graduation. Matt was the first law clerk hired by the NCAA the summer after he graduated from law school. After serving as the NCAA’s law clerk, Matt left college athletics for a short time before returning to the NCAA as Associate Director of Membership Services and later at the NCAA Eligibility Center as Associate Director of Academic Review. After a time as Assistant Dean for Student Affairs at the Indiana University School of Law in Indianapolis.  He then served as Assistant Commissioner for Institutional Services at the Ohio Valley Conference.  He has also served as member and chair of the Division I Legislative Council and as a member of the Subcommittee on Legislative Relief and the Football Championship Subdivision Governance Subcommittee.  Throughout all of this time Matt has visited the law school many times to talk to small and large groups of students, to serve on career and conference panels, and to serve as a resource for students and alums interested in careers in collegiate athletics. In the end, Matt has always championed the value of participation in the Sports Law program, and remains committed to supporting our students and alums looking to join him within collegiate athletics.   

2013 Winner Eryn Doherty

The 2013 recipient of the Award was Eryn Doherty, Assistant General Counsel/Executive Director, Labor Relations, Sony Pictures Entertainment, in Culver City, California.  Eryn was part of the first group of Marquette students to receive the Sports Law Certificate.  And Eryn was the leader of that first Certificate class serving as the Editor-in-Chief of the then Marquette Sports Law Journal and receiving the majority of the awards we have given to students tonight when she graduated.  Since her time at Marquette, and throughout her work with the NLRB, Fox Entertainment Group, and now Sony Pictures Entertainment, she has still found time to participate on career panels and conferences, has been available to many students for career advice and counseling.  In recognition of her support for the program and NSLI she is now a member of the NSLI’s Board of Advisors.  Best of all Eryn is an example for our students and has always championed the value of her participation in the Sports Law program and the way that it benefited her career.   

2012 Winner Ante Udovicic

The 2012 recipient of the Award was Ante Udovicic, a member of the class of 1998 and Athletics, Activities & Recreation Coordinator, South Milwaukee High School, South Milwaukee.  Ante transferred to Marquette as a second year student. As a student he was heavily involved in the Sports Law program, eventually becoming the Executive Editor of the Marquette Sports Law Journal on what for one semester was a 2 person editorial board and 9 person staff.  Ante was then hired as a consultant for the National Sports Law Institute, working here from 1998-1999. 

Since 1998 Ante has participated in numerous sports law panels, seminars, conferences.  He has hosted one of the Sports Law program's longest running student internships for the past 9 years.  He has also visited many sports law courses to add his perspective as a high school athletic director.  He has truly given back to our program in many different ways.   

2011 Winner Craig Pintens

The 2011 recipient of the Award was Craig Pintens. Craig is in his third year at LSU and serves as the Assistant Athletic Director of Marketing. Previously, Pintens was at Marquette University where he served as the Associate Athletic Director of Marketing and Sales. At Marquette, Pintens was responsible for external efforts of the department and served as the sport administrator for men's soccer. While at Marquette, Pintens established attendance and revenue records in both men's and women's basketball ranking in the top ten nationally in men's basketball attendance.

Prior to Marquette, Pintens served as the Marketing Coordinator at the University of Texas-Pan American (UTPA). Pintens was instrumental in record corporate sales numbers and successfully negotiated the first ever-Spanish radio broadcast of Bronc Athletics. Pintens has also worked with the Milwaukee Brewers, Beloit Snappers and the University of Wisconsin-Whitewater Athletic Department.

The National Association of Collegiate Marketing Administrators (NACMA) has honored Pintens with awards eighteen times in ten different categories. Pintens received his Bachelor of Business Administration in Marketing cum laude from the University of Wisconsin at Whitewater and his Juris Doctor degree from the Marquette University School of Law. Pintens is a member of the Wisconsin State Bar and is active with NACMA where he serves as the 2nd Vice-President.

2010 Winner Mike Sneathern

The 2010 recipient of the Charles W. Mentkowski Sports Law Alumnus of the Year Award was Mike Sneathern. Mike is Associate Counsel with the Milwaukee Bucks. Since graduation, Mike has supported the Sports Law program in many ways. Each semester he supervises law student interns who work under his and Ron Walter's supervision with the Bucks. He has spoken at numerous Alumni Career Panels, Student/Alumni networking lunches, and has been a guest lecturer in various classes over the years. Mike has also donated numerous items to student events including our Annual Golf Outing on behalf of the Bucks, and frequently hosts our student Sports Law Society at the Bradley Center where he takes them on a behind the scenes tour and provides them with seats for a Bucks game. Perhaps more important, Mike is always available to our students to help them as they progress through law school and seek to enter the sports industry. Mike was also the 2002 recipient of the Joseph Tierney, Jr. Award given to the student who graduates with the highest grade point average in sports law classes.

2009 Winner Kristi Schoepfer

The 2009 recipient of the Charles W. Mentkowski Sports Law Alumnus of the Year Award was Kristi Schoepfer. Kristi is an Assistant Professor, and the Director of Sport Management, at Winthrop University in Rock Hill, SC. At Winthrop, Schoepfer is responsible for teaching the Sport Law curriculum at both the undergraduate and graduate levels. Prior to joining the Winthrop faculty, Schoepfer was an Assistant Professor in the Department of Health, Physical Education and Athletics at the University of Wisconsin-Parkside from 2001-2006. While at Parkside, Schoepfer established the UW-Parkside Internship for the National Sports Law Institute's volunteer internship program.

Kristi graduated cum laude with her Bachelor of Science degree in secondary education from the University of Dayton in 1998. She received her juris doctorate and sport law certificate from Marquette University Law School in May of 2001. While at Marquette, Kristi was highly active in the sport law program. Most notably, she was the editor-in-chief of the Marquette Sports Law Review in 2001.

After graduation from Marquette Law School, Kristi remained active in the field by serving as vice chair as well as secretary of the Wisconsin State Bar Association Sport and Entertainment Law Section. She also served as both president and director of programming for the National Sports Law Institute's Sports Law Alumni Association. Further, Schoepfer has published sport law articles, and continues to deliver national and regional level presentations on various sport law topics. She is a currently a member of the Sports Law Alumni Association, the Sport and Recreation Lawyers Association, and the National Intramural and Recreational Sport Association.

2008 Winner James Gray

The 2008 recipient of the Award was Professor and Attorney Jim Gray one of the founding fathers of the National Sports Law Institute. Jim was the Institute's first full time employee and served as our first Manager and then Assistant Director. In these roles he was directly responsible for the growth and development of the Institute until we moved into the Sensenbrenner Hall. Currently Jim is a sports attorney and partner with the Milwaukee law firm of Pierski & Gray, an assistant professor in the Department of Sport Management & Media at Ithaca College in Ithaca, New York, and a visiting fellow at the Anglia Ruskin University sports law LLM program in Chelmsford, Essex, England. Jim has taught sports law courses in the U.S., England, The Netherlands, and South Africa. He has negotiated sports and entertainment employment and endorsement agreements for numerous athletes and was appointed by the USOC Ombudsman to represent Olympic athletes in drug testing, eligibility and nationality issues.

2007 Winner Martin Greenberg

The 2007 recipient of the Award was Marty Greeberg. Marty is in private law practice in Milwaukee specializing in the areas of real estate, corporate and sports law. He is also an Adjunct Professor at the Marquette University Law School and has taught real estate and sports law courses (currently Representing Professional Athletes and Coaches, and Sports Venues: From Election Day to Game Day) for well over 33 years. Marty was the founder and Director of the National Sports Law Institute from November of 1989 to April of 1997 and during that period authored or co-authored three books, Sport$Biz (Leisure Press), Sports Law Practice (Michie Company - 1993), and The Stadium Game (National Sports Law Institute - 1996). He is a current member of the NSLI's Board of Advisors and has served as its Chair. In recognition of his service to the NSLI and Sports Law Program at Marquette the NSLI created the Martin J. Greenberg Award for Excellence in the Study of Sports Law in 1997.

2006 Winner Shawn Eichorst

The 2006 recipient of the Award was Shawn Eichorst. Shawn is the Executive Associate Athletic Director at the University of Wisconsin, Madison where he is responsible for sport oversight; governmental relations, trademark and licensing; contractual matters; auxiliary services; strategic planning, liaison with campus administration and the Athletic Board; athletic conference representation and special projects. Prior to joining the staff at UW, Shawn was Senior Associate Athletics Director for Administration at the University of South Carolina for the past two years Shawn served as the department's chief administrative officer. During his tenure the football program was bowl eligible in each season and the baseball program reached the College World Series. Shawn facilitated and supervised multi-million dollar facility projects including a state-of-the-art football training facility, and lucrative partnership/ sponsorship agreements. He is a member of the NCAA Division I Student-Athlete Reinstatement Committee and serves on the Executive Committee of the Sports Management Institute.

Named Director of Athletics at University of Wisconsin-Whitewater in June, 1999, Shawn developed one of the top all-around sports programs at the NCAA Division III level. Under his leadership UW-Whitewater posted 4 top 10% NACDA Directors' Cup finishes, won 1 NCAA team championship, had 2 NCAA team runner-up finishes, crowned 5 NCAA individual champions, featured an NCAA Student-Athlete of the Year for Wisconsin honoree, had 74 All-America selections and 7 NCAA Postgraduate Scholarship award winners.

Shawn is a member of the State Bar of Wisconsin and a past member of the Board of Governors. He is a member of the Sports Law Alumni Association, and has taught an amateur sports law workshop at the Law School.

2005 Winner Kathryn Statz

The 2005 recipient of the award is Kathryn Statz (L'00). Kathryn is the Associate Athletic Director for Varsity Sports at DePaul University in Chicago, Illinois. Her impact on the industry through her work at the NCAA, Marquette's athletic department and now DePaul's athletic department is obvious. Of special note, Kathryn created and supervised a student internship within the Marquette athletic department which continues today under the direction of Danielle Fitzgerald, and after completing Professor Mitten's Amateur Sports Law course in the fall of 2000, Kathryn created the Amateur Sports Law Workshop that she initially co-taught with Shawn Eichorst. Kathryn was also a part time student and her example shows that the Sports Law Program is not only for full time students at Marquette it is for all students.

2004 Winner Greg Heller

The 2004 winner of the award was Greg Heller, Senior Counsel for Turner Broadcasting System, Inc. (TBS). Greg provides guidance on legal and business affairs for all of the TBS sports business units including the Atlanta Braves, Atlanta Hawks, Atlanta Thrashers, Philips Arena, TNT and TBS Sports (and its NBA, NASCAR, PGA, British Open, MLB and Pac-10/Big 12 College Football properties) and Turner Sports Interactive (and its & properties), and previously included the Goodwill Games, an international sporting event.

Greg began his career in sports law as an undergraduate at Indiana University where he graduated cum laude with a Bachelor of Science degree in Sports Marketing/Management. While at Indiana, Greg completed internships with the Peoria Chiefs, a minor league affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, and with the Indiana University athletic department. Upon graduating from IU, Greg entered law school at Marquette University. While at Marquette, Greg was an active participant in the sports law program, including serving as a member and Student Articles Editor of the Marquette Sports Law Journal, serving as a member of the Sports Law Society, authoring a law review article on the NCAA enforcement process and completing internships with the National Sports Law Institute, Harley Davidson, the Milwaukee Brewers and Reece & Lang PC, the legal division of an Atlanta-based sports management firm.

2003 Winner Paul Anderson

The 2003 recipient of the award was Paul Anderson (L'95). Paul is the founder and Chair of the Sports Law Alumni Association and the Associate Director of the National Sports Law Institute. He is also an Adjunct Assistant Professor of Law at Marquette University Law School.

In addition to his duties at Marquette, Paul is the Vice Chair and Program Coordinator for the Sports & Entertainment Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin, and is a member of the Bar's Subcommittee on Section Membership and its Law Student Membership Committee. Paul is also a member of the Sport & Recreation Law Association, the Sports Lawyers Association, the American Bar Association's Forum on the Entertainment and Sports Industries, and the International Association of Sport Law.

2002 Winner Bill Miller

The 2002 recipient of the award was Bill Miller (L'96), Executive Vice President/Professional Sports, The Leib Group, LLC, advisors to the sports and entertainment industry, in Mequon, Wisconsin. Bill is a founding member of the Sports Law Alumni Association and a member of its Management Committee. As an alum he has participated in several conferences, seminars and career panels. Bill is also the Chair of the Sports & Entertainment Law Section of the State Bar of Wisconsin.