2023 PGA Championship Director Honored at Sport Management Celebration

April 19, 2023

St. John Fisher University students, family members, and sport management faculty gathered at Oak Hill Country Club on Saturday, April 16, to celebrate student achievements and honor Bryan Karns, director of the 2023 PGA Championship, as the program’s Sport Manager of the Year. The night included mingling, student awards, and Karns’ reflections on working in the sport industry.

Members of the Sport Management program faculty with Sport Manager of the Year Bryan Karns, director of the 2023 PGA Championship.

This year’s PGA Championship, which will be held at Oak Hill Country Club in May, is the sixth PGA of American Championship Karns will spearhead. The Oklahoma native served as championship director for prior Senior PGA Championships across the country in locations such as Indiana, Oklahoma, Washington, D.C., and the 2019 Championship held in Rochester. Notably, Karns successfully directed the 2021 championship in Tulsa, Oklahoma as sport organizations were learning to navigate a post-COVID environment and the 2022 PGA Championship after it was moved from Bedminster, New Jersey to Tulsa just 16 months before the event.

In accepting the Sport Manager of the Year award, Karns remarked on six lessons he’s learned from his nearly two decades working in the sport industry. He emphasized the need for students to pursue their interests with passion, to be open to taking advantage of opportunities even if they weren’t the original plan; and to be persistent in career development.

“We were honored to listen to Bryan’s poignant remarks on the sport industry and his reflections on his own career development. He’s a well-respected, genuinely admired leader in the sport industry and I’m so pleased he accepted our award and spent the evening with our students,” said Dr. Katie Burakowski, sport management department chair. 

The evening included a video recapping the program’s trip to Scotland, England, and Ireland over spring break as part of the International Cultures and Sport course, and a senior tribute video. The department also honored student successes, both in and out of the classroom. Student award winners included Allie Klonowski for Minor of the Year and Elijah Williams for First-Year Student of the Year. Andrew Brandt was recognized as Sophomore of the Year, Hannah Mazzuca and Gabe Irwin jointly received the Junior of the Year Award, and Gavin Miller was the recipient of the Senior of the Year Award.

Furthermore, Mazzuca and Alex DeRosier were surprised when the department presented each with a Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. Scholarship for their academic performance, commitment to their career development, and relationship-building across the program. “One of the biggest joys of being the chair of this department is having the opportunity to honor our students and spend the night highlighting the big moments and achievements from the year,” said Burakowski.

This article was written by Tyler Cole ’23, a cybersecurity major and PR Writing Intern in the Office of Marketing and Communications.