Samantha Nelson brings passion for sports to new role

Michael Pearce, Editor-In-Chief

Being around sports as a child defined Samantha Nelson’s childhood. Now, she gets the chance to provide that same lasting impact to families at Golden Grizzlies games.

Nelson was named the coordinator of game day experience at Oakland on Monday, Nov. 3. The coordinator of game day experience runs the marketing, fan experience and promotions for the Golden Grizzlies, according to OU Athletics.

She worked previously at Clutch Sports Group in Texas, managing a large group of interns and executed theme nights and promotional activities. Through these experiences, Nelson worked to bring a big-league feel to a minor league baseball team.

“We were able to create memories of a lifetime for these families that might not be able to afford going to an Astros game or any type of big games,” she said. 

Nelson’s dad was involved in baseball her whole life, so she wants to create the atmosphere that shaped her growing up.

“Bringing it home and tying in the community became a big passion of mine,” she said. “Being able to come to Oakland and do things at a higher level was too good of an opportunity to pass up.”

Nelson joins her husband, Brian, an assistant coach on the men’s baseball team. Brian was hired in August to Head Coach Jordon Banfield’s staff.

Previously, both Samantha and Brian worked for the Brazos Valley Bombers, a college league team in Texas. Brian was an assistant coach, then head coach and Samantha worked as director of fulfillment and assistant general manager.

“We were kind of like Bombers for life when we were in college,” Samantha Nelson said. “It molded us into our love for not only the sport, but the business.”

Samantha always worked “outside of the white lines,” while Brian always worked “inside the white lines,” according to Brian. 

“It works for us and now we just love it,” Samantha Nelson said. “It works for our family and our relationship, and we have a good time.”

As coordinator of game day experience, Nelson hopes to expand OU Athletics’ reach and give fans a valuable experience at all Golden Grizzlies games.

“This job is a great opportunity to show people what we are and how we not only provide great entertainment for the community but also give back to them,” she said. “I want to reach out and do something a little different and show them another side of the Golden Grizzlies.”

Nelson mentioned spirit nights and giveaways with local businesses as potential events to promote the Golden Grizzlies, with her main goal being bringing together the community.

Bringing together the community with the current pandemic ongoing is a unique position to be in, but Nelson sees it as an opportunity.

“We’re going through a difficult time as-is and they’re all looking for that little taste of normalcy to come back,” she said. “I’m really trying to be a part of reaching out to these families at home … to keep them engaged and let them know we’ll be ready to provide a good time for them.”