After a car accident, Derek Boothroyd took up cycling to build up his strength, then a good friend introduced him to triathlons. He took to the sport like a duck to water, and then raced for 25 years, including five Australian Ironman Triathlons.
Interview with Derek Boothroyd
Tell us about your current role – what does a typical day look like for you?
Deakin Sport Network is a new Deakin initiative designed to ensure that Deakin is recognised as the leading provider of sport expertise and programs in Australia and globally. Deakin is heavily invested in sport, across a number of faculties, including Deakin Student Life and DUSA. My role is to work alongside the Director of the Deakin Sport Network, Professor David Shilbury on all operational facets including stakeholder management, marketing and program development.
What is the best/most rewarding part of your job?
Deakin provided to me with my first sport management opportunity via a practicum placement in 1996 which was the beginning of a career of over 20 years in the industry. So to return to my alma mater in a professional capacity is very exciting and rewarding. It is very much a homecoming.
What were some of the memorable experiences you had at Deakin? i.e. social, academic, intellectual.
I studied at Deakin as a mature age student with a number of years of business management experience. I always found the lecturers and tutors to be very engaging in discussions around the practical application of various teaching and learnings. The close partnerships with industry provided me with a seamless pathway into employment.
Did you learn anything from your Deakin studies to take directly to the workforce?
Absolutely. At the time, Sport Management at Deakin was the only business degree of its type and the industry was going through significant change. The skills and knowledge I developed through my studies at Deakin were directly applicable to the workplace.
Can you give a specific example of a project or collaboration that you have been involved in with Deakin and how this has impacted your career to date? (If applicable)
The main one is that I was made aware of a position at Cycling Victoria in 1996 through a fellow student that did a practicum placement with them. Being a competitive Triathlete at the time I had a good understanding of the cycle racing scene and was successful in getting the position of State Administrator with Cycling Victoria. I spent two and a half years there and it was the springboard for a career of over 20 year in sport management and coaching.
What are your career highlights?
Prior to commencing at Deakin I spent 17 years at the Victorian Institute of Sport in a number of high performance coaching and program management roles. Working with motivated athletes and having a direct input into their success on the world stage has been a highlight. Witnessing them develop from talents junior athletes to, on a number of occasions, Olympic finalists, Medallists and World Champions, but also fine people who will no doubt make a valuable contribution to society both during and after their competitive career is over has been great to be part of.