Adjunct professor and alumni Burton Rocks is bringing his insight as a sports agent to the students in the College of Business at Stony Brook University.
Rocks taught BUS 391 Management of Sports Organizations last fall and plans on returning next semester to bring more of his firsthand knowledge.
“As a student athlete I really appreciated Burton Rocks’ class,” said junior business major PJ Edwards. “He told us about real world situations that he had to deal with first hand. This made classes more exciting because it wasn’t just a PowerPoint with made up scenarios.”
Bringing real-world knowledge to his students is one of Rocks’ main teaching goals at Stony Brook.
“I wanted to give the students a special hands-on look to agency and into what goes on behind the scenes,” Rocks said.
Students who may not follow sports very closely were still able to benefit from the class.
“I do not follow sports as much as my peers in the class,” Christian Sugiarto, senior information systems major, said. “But he is highly knowledgeable and can answer questions using specific players and/or management in sports.”
To Rocks, coming back to his alma matter to teach is not only a way to give back, but a way to help the sports agency industry.
“The sports world, the agency world and the business world really need an overhaul,” Rocks said. “And that will start at the college level.”
Rocks founded CL Rocks Corporation in 2008, which now has a client list including multiple NFL and MLB coaches, as well as MLB players. But before fully committing to the world of sport agency, Rocks had co-authored seven books, including the New York Times bestseller “Me and My Dad: A Baseball Memoir,” which he co-wrote with retired New York Yankees player Paul O’Neill.
Rocks says his time in the writing world has benefited his career as a sports agent.
“I was represented by a big agency as a writer and there were things I did and didn’t like,” he said. “And I took that into my own agency.”
Not only has his writing career shaped who he is as a sports agent, Rocks’ time as what he calls a “hospital kid” has also impacted his career. Rocks suffered from chronic asthma early in his life and spent much of his childhood in and out of the hospital.
“Experience as a hospital kid has trained me to understand a lot of the roadblocks in my life,” he said.
Rocks tries to pass on that understanding to his students.
“I want my students to be proud of overcoming adversity,” he said. “Everybody fails, so I want people to embrace adversity and wear it as a badge of honor.”