Rest assured, Sarah Lawless says, everything she learned in business school she is putting to good use in her position as director of football operations at the University of Connecticut. “Everybody is always shocked that I work for a football team,” she laughs. “It’s a high-level, competitive, demanding industry. You really don’t know all the intricacies of it until you’re involved. But it truly is a business, just like anything else.”
Lawless became interested in sports operations at Notre Dame, where she worked three years as student manager for football and senior manager for women’s basketball during her senior year. From 2010 to 2013, she was football’s operations assistant and on-campus recruiting coordinator. She has been at UConn for the past two years, working with head coach Bob Diaco, a former Notre Dame defensive coordinator.
While Lawless’ days are filled with all manner of logistics, management and budgeting, she believes her biggest impact on the program is her emphasis on building relationships and fostering a community. “I love football. But what I do will never show up in the stats,” she says. “It’s irrelevant to the actual game of football. Where it shows up is in the way that our team impacts each other and the community. And all of that will translate ultimately to a positive influence in society.”
That’s something that she learned at Notre Dame. “That’s the lens that everybody looks through at Notre Dame,” she says. “Our jobs are just ways that we serve the community.”