Alumni Spotlight: Kenny Martin

May 30, 2023

Murray State Honors College alumnus Kenny Martin.

Murray State alumnus Kenny Martin used the curiosity, creativity, and tenacity he gained from his Honors College education to pursue a career with PGA of America.

Why did you choose Murray State?

I chose Murray State because it felt like home. After attending CHA, I fell in love with the community, the professors, and the Honors College. When choosing between which university to attend, academics played a major factor, but fit was the most important to me. Where could I see myself having success, where would I have the most opportunities, things like that. I felt like I wouldn't be just a number at Murray State, I would have the freedom to be me. That led me to Murray State, and I couldn't be happier with the decision I made!

You have a super cool job! Talk a little about your career journey and what it’s like working with PGA of America.

I have been working with the PGA of America since 2018, and am the Manager of Volunteer Operations for the PGA Championship. I began my career in sports as a Marketing and Promotions intern at Murray State, and fell in love with the behind the scenes operations that are required to put on sporting events. So I went to the University of Louisville and received my master’s degree in Sports Administration. While at U of L, I interned with the 2014 PGA Championship and was fortunate to make some great connections. That led to short term contracts with two PGA Championships and a Ryder Cup. Then from there I was fortunate to land a full-time role with the PGA of America after a brief stint with the PGA Tour. In my current role, I manage all the logistics that go into the volunteer programs for the PGA Championship. We have 3,000+ volunteers at each Championship, so we need to recruit, schedule, manage, feed, and transport all those volunteers and make sure they have a great experience while they are on site. It's a lot of fun, but as anyone in sports can attest to, it's long hours, and you have to love what you do to succeed.

How has the Honors experience made a difference in your life, professionally and personally?

Personally, some of my best friends were made in the Honors Program. The sense of community that the Honors Program (college) provided created an immediate bond between all of us. We weren't just friends, we were study partners, co-workers, or teammates when playing intramurals. The friends that I made through Honors will be friends for life. In my professional life, it surrounded me with peers who were motivated to succeed in their individual fields. At any moment I was surrounded by future doctors, engineers, lawyers, historians, and more, which pushed me to study harder, and want to succeed just as much as they did. I truly believe that helped set me up for success after I left Murray State.

What’s your favorite Murray State memory?

The 2012 Murray State vs Saint Mary's bracket buster game. Working with the marketing team it was all hands on deck for that game, and it was truly one of the most memorable sporting events I've ever worked. Saint Mary's was ranked, Murray State had only one loss, ESPN was covering the game and Dickie V himself was our broadcaster. It doesn't get better than that as far as basketball games go. The crowd was unbelievable and the energy was infectious, and getting to be on the court working that game truly made me realize what I wanted to do for a living. I wanted to be a part of events like this for the rest of my life. To help manage and put on these once in a lifetime experiences for fans, it doesn't get better than that.

What advice would you give to current students?

I would advise them to keep an open mind and be open to opportunity. When I went to Murray, I never considered that working in Sports would be my future career. But by saying yes to an internship when I saw a flyer on campus, it led to where I am now. So take a chance! Go try that internship, join that book club, play on that intramural team, you never know when you find what you'll love doing.

Any parting thoughts or wisdom to share?

Enjoy it! Truly my years at Murray State were some of the best of my life and I will cherish those memories for the rest of my life. And although the major moments were great, it was a lot of the little moments that stick with you the most when you leave. Hanging out with your roommates talking about the day, going to Burrito Shack with friends, lounging around on the couches in the Honors Program just talking with all who come in, those are the things I miss the most. So enjoy every one of those moments when you can!

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