When Xaimara Coss went to basketball or football games as a child, she was often more interested in the guys on the sidelines than she was the players in the game.
“I used to wonder what the man with the clipboard was doing,” Coss says. “Who is that with the walkie-talkie, and who is he talking to? That was always a fascination for me.”
It may also have been her first clue that sports management would become her chosen career. But Coss also spent her share of time on the field, as a star volleyball player at Murry Bergtraum High School in New York City. That ability, plus her fascination with the sidelines, carried her to the Neag School’s sport management program and to the UConn volleyball team. She juggled the rigors of being a student-athlete and graduated in 2004.
Through her high school coach and mentor, Barbara Esmilla, who is now the principal of Bergtraum High, Coss was able to secure an internship with Major League Baseball during her junior and senior years at UConn. That path led to her current position as a royalty analyst at MLB. The job involves dealing with licensees who market merchandise with major and minor league team logos throughout the country and the world.
During her internship, Coss became involved with, and deeply committed to, baseball’s RBI Program — Reviving Baseball in the Inner City. MLB’s Community Relations Department administers the program in cities around the world, and while crunching numbers is what Coss does, working with children is what she loves.
To that end, she hopes to return to the Neag School in the fall to pursue a graduate degree, with special emphasis on the Husky Sport program that reaches out to inner city students in Hartford. Associate Professor Jennifer Bruening, director of Husky Sport, is grateful for the chance to have Coss back at UConn.
“The commitment and drive that saw Xaimara through her academic and athletic achievements,” Bruening says, “make her a great role model for young people.”
Once her master’s degree is in hand, Coss hopes to return to MLB, but in community relations and in a career that can help children in need. “I grew up in the inner city,” Coss says of her Brooklyn, New York, childhood. “I’ve seen too many kids without hope, without a light at the end of the tunnel. RBI, and programs like it, can be that light and I want to be part of that.”
For students who are currently in the sport management program, Coss says mentors and good connections help, but she offers advice that is useful in any career. “Leave a lasting impression,” she says. “During my internship at Major League Baseball, I could have done just the typing and filing that my job called for. But I wanted to show them I could do more than was asked of me. I still try to do that every day.”