Coach learns the importance of being a global citizen in sports
Editor's note: This story is part of a series of profiles of notable spring 2022 graduates.
During her senior year in college, Yousra Manar realized she had a passion for the sports industry.
Looking for a way to further her education and pursue a career in sports, she found both in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University. ASU Law’s location in Phoenix – at the center of some of the largest sports teams – stood out to her as a prime opportunity to be in the hub of ideal jobs for the next generation of sports professionals.
While pursuing a Master of Sports Law and Business (MSLB), Manar became an SLB Selig Scholar and a graduate assistant for the program. During her time at ASU Law, she had the opportunity to intern for the Arizona Sports and Entertainment Commission and was the head coach for the girls lacrosse team at Corona Del Sol High School in Tempe.
“ASU Law and the Selig Sports Law and Business program truly equipped me with the professional tools and network I needed to succeed in my current career in sports,” Manar said. “I gained an amazing support system from my peers and professors that encouraged me in pursuing a career in coaching.”
We spoke to Manar about her time at ASU Law and what she plans to do next.
Question: What was your “aha” moment when you realized you wanted to study the field you majored in?
Answer: As I spent my undergraduate year playing for the Earlham College women’s lacrosse team, interning for the athletic department and taking business classes, it became clearer that I wanted my career to revolve around sports whether that be coaching or working in a collegiate athletic department. I instantly knew that the best way to succeed in the sports industry was by pursuing a graduate degree and getting more experience in different areas.
Q: What’s something you learned while at ASU — in the classroom or otherwise — that surprised you or changed your perspective?
A: Oftentimes we get lost in only paying attention to the issues that directly affect us. Through my classes at ASU, my professors have been able to emphasize issues that we don’t necessarily think about in our day-to-day life, and sometimes issues that happen on an international level that we should still be aware of as citizens of the world. This broad perspective has helped me look at things from a different standpoint, analyze things from different lenses and think critically.
Q: Why did you choose ASU Law?
A: I chose the Allan “Bud” Selig Sports Law and Business program at ASU Law as it is a unique program and the only program in the U.S. that combines both the legal side and business side of sports. After connecting with Program Director Aaron Hernandez, I learned about all the opportunities that it offered from the top-notch faculty roster, advisory board and alumni network, to the career advancement opportunities present in and outside the classroom that made my decision to go to ASU Law a no-brainer.
Q: Which professor taught you the most important lesson while at ASU?
A: This is a very difficult question as I truly believe I learned something important from every professor I’ve had, but if I had to pick one professor it would be Sonja Robinson. In her Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) course, Professor Robinson taught me how to think outside the box, analyze issues from a DEI lens but most importantly, show compassion and understanding for people as we’re trying to generate a positive impact in the sports world.
Q: What’s the best piece of advice you’d give to those still in school?
A: I would tell those still in school to not be afraid to step out of their comfort zone and/or try something new. Discomfort is a catalyst for growth. That’s how you will get the most out of your experience, whether that is going to events you don’t usually go to, talking to new people or taking a class that doesn’t directly relate to your area of interest. As Shia LaBeouf shouts (in his motivational viral video), “Just do it!”
Q: What was your favorite spot on campus, whether for studying, meeting friends or just thinking about life?
A: My favorite spot on campus is probably outside of the Beus Center for Law and Society. That’s where I got to hang out with friends and work or study when the weather would permit!
Q: What are your plans after graduation?
A: My plan after graduation is to continue my career working as head coach for the women’s lacrosse team at Earlham College in Richmond, Indiana, a position I was fortunate to get a few months before graduation.
Q: If someone gave you $40 million to solve one problem on our planet, what would you tackle?
A: Being born and raised in Morocco and having spent all my childhood by the ocean, one problem that really stands out to me is ocean pollution. If I had $40 million I would use it to help revitalize our ocean, donate to organizations that support climate change, specifically ocean revitalization, and partner with them by investing in technologies that can help preserve our ecosystems.