Brandon Gross, director of events and senior associate director of UM’s Student Center Complex

Sideline hustle

Brandon Gross, director of events and senior associate director of UM’s Student Center Complex, during a Miami women's basketball game at the Watsco Center. 

Photo: Michael Montero / University Communications

By Jennifer Palma Sanchez

Brandon Gross, director of events and senior associate director of UM’s Student Center Complex, during a Miami women's basketball game at the Watsco Center. 

Photo: Michael Montero / University Communications

Sideline hustle

By Jennifer Palma Sanchez
From the office to the sidelines, one University of Miami employee has found a way to balance his passion for sports and love of the U.

It’s 2013 and LeBron James just led the Miami Heat to an NBA championship in game seven with an 95-88 win over the San Antonio Spurs. Downtown Miami erupted with excitement as fans flooded the streets to celebrate. Brandon Gross, director of events and senior associate director of UM’s Student Center Complex (SCC), fondly recalls being at American Airlines Arena for the game but he wasn’t there to celebrate. Instead, he was working on the sidelines tracking every moment of the game.

As one of the official statisticians for the NBA, Gross recorded each of James’ 23 points during the 2013 NBA championship game and even had an opportunity to take a picture with the trophy right before rushing out the door to rest before taking his final comprehensive exam for his master’s program at UM the next morning.

In addition to championship trophies (and rings), Gross’s dedication to his craft has earned him one of the top spots among Miami’s elite group of sports statisticians—but his full time job at the U always comes first.

How did you get involved in statistics?

My grandfather was a big sports fan and I grew up watching local teams and games with him. As an undergrad at UM I had an opportunity to work in the Sports Media Relation Office. Through that, I had the chance to be a statistician for the UM football, volleyball, basketball and baseball teams and my interest stemmed from there. I have always loved sports, but also enjoy the environment of a college campus. Being able to do both jobs is the perfect work-life balance.

What does a sports statistician do?

Depending on the team or sport, there are a few different roles and responsibilities, usually involving three to five people. Most sporting events require a caller, inputter, and writer. Sometimes, we have backups for the roles to double check the stats. Each league has its own proprietary software, so there are always slight differences when reporting.

 

What is your favorite part about working in sports?

In general, I really enjoy being at the games and usually have more fun when I’m working, rather than watching as a fan. Having the opportunity to work behind the scenes for the success of the team is special. Whether it is providing the coaching staff the statistics or transcribing player quotes from the locker room for the media after a game, I love being a part of it all!

How do you balance your career at the U and your job as a statistician? 

I genuinely appreciate that UM is supportive of my passions. There is a clear understanding that my role on campus will always be a priority, but my team is supportive of me taking on these unique opportunities. It is because of this support that I have been able to meet incredible people and truly have created a balance that works.

What’s the most difficult part of your role in statistics?

Other than learning the ins and outs of the preferred league software, it can be challenging to memorize every single call, hand-motion, and directive from the referees. For example, when tracking for the UM volleyball games, we record each and every time the ball is touched, which ends up being a lot.

Is there a favorite moment from a game or match that stands out?

By far, the Miami Heat 2013 championship game will always be a favorite memory. The levels of intensity from the players and fans in a game seven situation is hard to beat. I’ll never forget the opportunity I had to witness some of the greatest NBA players of our time battle it out for a win.

 

Editor’s note: Know anyone with an interesting hobby or passion project? Share your story ideas with us at LifeatTheU@miami.edu.