Mixing Sports and Music

By Lindsay Prokopetz

Mixing Sports and Music

By Lindsay Prokopetz
Derrick Hardy shares his experience as a student in UOnline’s Master of Education in Sport Administration program.

Derrick Hardy“Follow your passion” is common advice for achieving success in work and life. But what if you have more than one passion? That has never been a problem for Derrick Hardy, owner of Chatham Management Company, which manages musical artists and athletes. In fact, it’s an asset.

Recently, Hardy helped NBA player Damian Lillard of the Portland Trail Blazers and former Rookie of the Year, produce his first album, The Letter O, which reached number six on the Billboard Urban Charts. Music industry sources called it “excellent” and fans including LeBron James praised it on social media.

“I think the great thing was I was able to help [Lillard] with his music career and help him produce something that was well-respected in the industry,” Hardy said.

As a kid growing up in Chicago, he was interested in both music and sports. He played football and ran track in high school and for several semesters at Jackson State University. He had a dream of attending the University of Miami, but he wasn’t recruited for sports at the U. So he pursued a degree in music business management at Columbia College in Chicago.  

“I received a degree in music business, which has always been a passion. However, sports was also a passion and that is what drove me,” Hardy said of his career path.

After graduation, Hardy got a job in the artists and repertoire (A&R) division at Motown Records in the Los Angeles area, finding and recruiting new talent. One day on his way to work he was listening to ESPN, and his girlfriend pointed out that sports was as much of a passion of his as music. She suggested he look into going back to school to pursue something sports-related. His research led him to the University of Miami’s online Master of Education in Sport Administration program. Everything clicked.

“It was a dream come true. I could finally go to the University of Miami. Being accepted into the program was one of the best moments of my life,” he said.

As a student at UM Derrick was inspired by Associate Professor Windy Dees, Ph.D., who gave Hardy some advice that would catapult his career to the next level.

“Professor Dees told me once that there will be a lot of people going for the same jobs you want so you need to look for a unique skill that you have that no one else has,” Hardy said. “I took her advice and used what I had learned from being in the music industry and working with Motown Records.”

Around that time, a friend of Hardy’s reached out to him about helping a new artist launch his music career. That artist just happened to be Damian Lillard, one of the top 10 scorers in the NBA. Lillard, like Hardy, had more than one passion in life. Off the basketball court, he is a rapper known as Dame D.O.L.L.A. Hardy met with Lillard and his team and pitched his ideas for how he could help his music career, and the rest is history.

On track to graduate in 2018, Hardy hopes to continue to develop his career in both the sport and music industry.

“It is funny because everything has gravitated towards me since I started my Master’s program at the U,” he shared. “I never thought I would break into the sport industry through music, but that is what drove me to pursue a MSeD in Sport Administration.”