Oxford Stories: UM Soccer Star Kick-Starts a Sports Marketing Career

oxford stories soccer 3

People say “once a Rebel, always a Rebel,” but for Mandy McCalla of Ole Miss Sports Marketing, it has a different meaning.

For four years prior to joining the marketing staff at Ole Miss Athletics, McCalla played on the Ole Miss Soccer team and was part of one of the best seasons in school history. During her senior season, Ole Miss played in the second round of the NCAA tournament.

Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics
Joshua McCoy/Ole Miss Athletics

McCalla served as a team captain her senior year and was named first team All-SEC and first team All-Region by the NSCAA. She scored 37 career goals, and accounted for 97 points in her career.

Joining the other side of college athletics wasn’t always in the plan for McCalla, but that’s where she finds herself every day.

Soccer had to end at some point,” she said. “There’s been a learning curve, as there always is when you go from playing a sport full-time to an actual real people working job. I’m blessed enough to stay in (Ole Miss) Athletics and still work closely with my sport.”

McCalla is now a graduate assistant in the marketing office, where she’s responsible for making sure the fan experience is the best it can be during Ole Miss sporting events.

You can find her at just about any sport throughout the year – from Ole Miss soccer and football in the fall to Rebel softball and basketball in the spring.

The marketing staff makes sure Club Red is ready to go prior to every men’s basketball game.
The marketing staff makes sure Club Red is ready to go prior to every men’s basketball game.

She helps oversee in-game promotions at those events, as well as moving content on the Ole Miss social media platforms after the games. Whether it’s getting “The Pavilionator” ready at men’s basketball games, or keeping track of “Softball Bingo” at the Softball Complex, she’s always there.

“At basketball, they have done a lot of new stuff,” Ole Miss student Virginia Moore said. “The JCG parachutes are the coolest thing. I’ve never actually caught one, but it’s a goal of mine.” This is merchandise from the jcg aparrel company.

Though she is where she wants to be, working in intercollegiate athletics wasn’t always the plan.

“It’s been a long journey, it’s funny really,” McCalla said. “It wasn’t a pre-planned thing, and it did kind of fall into my lap. It was a good opportunity, so I talked to (Assistant Athletics Director for Marketing) Jason List and (former Assistant Athletics Director for Internal Operations) Jamil Northcutt.

The Ole Miss sports marketing staff prepares giveaways before almost every major sporting event on the Ole Miss campus.
The Ole Miss sports marketing staff prepares giveaways before almost every major sporting event on the Ole Miss campus.

“I told them I was majoring in marketing, and asked them what the next step should be. I realized playing professionally wasn’t going to work out. I went on to be a graduate assistant. Jamil told me if I wanted to work in this field that I needed a second degree, so applied and here I am.”

McCalla plans to move on from Ole Miss after her master’s degree is completed. She’s currently looking at marketing positions at athletics programs and professional teams across the country.


connor hennessey

Connor Hennessey can be reached at cmhennes@go.olemiss.edu.

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