Malcolm Huggins, assistant director of athletics for facilities, marketing and game management, aims for the success of Lakers in life as in sports and school. Starting at SUNY Oswego in an NCAA program to encourage people of color to enter athletics administration, he now makes it a priority to encourage those who follow.

Q. Where are you from?
A. I was born in the Bronx. I was raised in Spring Valley, Rockland County, up through junior year in high school. My parents wanted to retire to Pennsylvania; we had vacationed there for years. So we moved to Stroudsburg. I went to college at East Stroudsburg University (ESU). I got my undergrad degree in sport management, with a minor in business. I got my master's in management and leadership there, as well, finishing in 2008.

Q. What were some of your key college activities?
A. I was one of those stereotypically involved students. I did track and field all four (undergraduate) years there, and was captain for two years. I did triple jump and high jump -- it was a lot of fun. I was the treasurer for the Sport Management Club for three years. I was an RA for five of the six semesters I lived on campus. I was able to build a relationship with the college president, and I became an ESU ambassador. We would go to alumni functions. That allowed me to build a relationship with the vice president for development, who offered me a graduate assistantship. That helped pay for grad school.

Q. How did you form an interest in athletics administration?
A. I've been around sports my whole life -- gymnastics when I was 5, kung fu when I was 6, up through 16. I started track my junior year in high school. When I got to ESU, I just loved being around the coaches, around the weight room and my teammates, and I had a good relationship with the administrators. I knew I wanted to work in college sports from my freshman year in college. I wanted my athletic director's job, basically. (Laughs.) I was involved with the university's Student Athlete Advisory Committee -- I had a good personal relationship with the coaches and the AD, and that helped me to go to my first regional conference, which was a leadership forum in Boston. I met student athletes from all divisions and different ADs, who ran us through a two-day leadership course. That pivotal moment cemented what I wanted to do.

Q. What was your first job in athletics administration?
A. I heard about an internship at the Naval Academy in Annapolis for the summer between my junior and senior year. (Senior Associate AD) Loretta Lamar was looking for a person of color to fill it. I interviewed for it and was hired on the spot to work in the Naval Academy's athletic compliance (NCAA rules and regulations) office. I absolutely loved it. I later interned at Kutztown University in some of the same things I do now: game management, marketing.

Q. When did you start at SUNY Oswego?
A. In August 2009. My position came about as a two-year internship through NCAA Division III. Through diversity and inclusion, they want to have minorities come through athletics and Division III, to encourage women and minorities. They gave me a salary and professional development dollars. The next step was a (NCAA) Strategic Alliance Matching Grant. That gave Oswego three (more) years to delay the full financial impact of my position. It really helps DIII schools to integrate that person into the budget.

Q. What are some of your key duties?
A. I’m in charge of game management. Essentially, I’m the person working behind the scenes on logistics. I’d be the one to schedule all the facilities. If it’s an outdoor game, I work with the grounds people to make sure the field is ready. I make sure the officials are there, the teams are there, I greet the visitors and get them into their locker room, greet the officials, create the vouchers to pay the officials. (With regard to) in-game management—minus ice hockey and basketball—our teams work for other teams. So for men’s soccer, it’s baseball (coach and players) that does the game management. For basketball, I hire the staff. I’m in charge of the table staff, the individuals who manage the basketballs, who run the clock and the shot clock, the announcer and the person doing the official (scorer’s) book. I’m in charge of hiring and training ushers for basketball and hockey, the goal judges for hockey.

Q. How about the marketing part of your title and other duties?
A. I have some of our social media accounts. I work closely with athletic communications. I have six interns, five in marketing and one in graphic design. I work with Residence Life and Housing as well as Dining Services for early return of athletes to college during breaks, to make sure they have access to their residence halls, access to dining. I have sport supervision for track and field, cross-country, baseball, softball, men's soccer, men's tennis and the equipment manager. I work with the coaches of those sports; I would be their direct report. We'll create plans, go through the budget, I'm their go-to person and I also do their evaluations.

Q. What's the single most exciting event you've had a key role in organizing?
A. I'd say hosting the NCAA Division III Sweet 16 for men's basketball -- the regional final -- last year. Each year, I'm in charge of putting in the tournament bids. You find out kind of on the fly if you're going to be hosting or not. So a team could win the conference tournament on a Saturday and you don't find out till late on Sunday or early on Monday that you're hosting -- and teams are coming in Thursday. So logistically, it's a very quick turnaround. Last year's NCAA tournament was a bit of pressure, but a lot of fun. The athletes had a good experience. It was neat seeing the community come out -- the gym was packed. I'm in the bid process right now; we have some teams doing very well this winter.

Q. What's it like dealing with SUNY Oswego student athletes?
A. I feel like I never left college! You learn a lot about yourself and you meet some of your best friends there. I still get to interact with that age group, and I just love it. When you're at that age, 18 to 24, you think you know what you want to do, you have some ideas and you can really make huge impacts and changes moving forward. I've learned from the student athletes, just as I hope I've had a lot that I can teach them. Being around them every day or at least every game day, you get a chance to learn the story behind some of the ups and downs on the field and the challenges they have. I'm an optimist. I just want to see people do well. I'm just rooting for people to be successful.

Q. What kinds of professional development have you done?
A. I've been to NCAA conferences in Indianapolis, NACDA (National Association of College Directors of Athletics) conferences every other year. I'm also a member of the NCAA Nominating Committee -- we select the representatives for all the committees. I'm moving to be the chair of that committee this year. I've been named to the NCAA's LGBTQ working group.

Q. What can you tell us about your wife? Does she like sports?
A. Heather and I started dating the week before I moved out here in 2009. She's the director of activities at The Manor at Seneca Hill. Absolutely, she likes sports. She loves playing volleyball; she's in a local league, a winter league. We played together in a summer volleyball league, as well. She enjoys coming to some of the sports here, as well, so I get to see her at work.

Q. How do you achieve life balance with such a busy, passion-driven job?
A. It's a challenge. You are so focused on your career. If my wife and I have children, they'll definitely be around (the program). It's encouraged here. Sue (Viscomi, Oswego's athletic director) has done a fantastic job, giving me some secondary help with a couple of coaches for game management. That's a big piece. … I still hold onto the goal from when I was 19 of being an athletic director someday. But it's got to be at a time that works for us. You can have the impact you want to have without being an AD. If I want to have an impact on others who look like me, to try to get them into the industry, I can do that -- I have good reach now where I can do that.