Faculty Mentors Make a Difference

Kathy Dean Alumni, Learning

Morgan Copes believes in following your passion – and in seeking advice along the way. That’s especially true if the advice comes from your former professors in the University of Mobile School of Business.

Morgan’s passion is soccer, and he loved playing forward from 2005 to 2010 for the University of Mobile Rams. He graduated in 2009 with a Bachelor of Science in business administration, in 2011 with a Master of Business Administration, then worked in retail management before joining the management team at Regions Bank.

In addition to classroom lessons, Morgan learned something about his professors – a fact he shared in a conversation with Dr. Kathy Dunning, associate dean, after receiving the first Alumni Stars award from the UM School of Business in October 2017.

“I learned that my professors were not just here to give a lecture. There is a relationship after graduation; it’s the power of networking and the benefit of calling somebody just to bounce ideas off of,” Morgan said.

“Without that – I’ve had how many bad ideas?” he joked with Dunning.

Morgan’s ideas, and his passion for soccer, are changing the professional sports world in Alabama.

After graduation, he realized how much he missed soccer. Since an opportunity to play at a high level wasn’t available where he lived in Birmingham, Morgan decided to use the knowledge he learned as a student to create opportunity.

He co-founded The Birmingham Hammers club-level soccer team. For four years, he volunteered as president and general manager and, as the team thrived, the city of Birmingham discovered a passion for soccer.

In 2019, a United Soccer League expansion club is set to begin play in Birmingham, and Morgan is vice president of Birmingham FC, LLC, the new corporation that is bringing it in. In getting the team off the ground, Morgan is involved in marketing, branding, strategic development on corporate sponsorship and ticketing sales, and operations.

“My MBA helped fine-tune some of the skills I use today,” he said. “The unique thing about the business school here is it is such a cultural melting pot of people from all over the world who provide a wonderfully different viewpoint of the way business is done.”

Morgan said Dunning and Dr. Jane Byrd, professor of management, continue to be mentors. They are a sounding board, and they provide honesty in helping him brainstorm ideas.

“I think you could see they were passionate about teaching their students and seeing them grow and mature to successful business men and women. Without their passion for teaching, I may not have been successful at my passion, which was soccer.

“Once you figure out your passion, strap yourself in. It will take you places,” he said.

About the Author
Kathy Dean

Kathy Dean

Kathy is an award-winning public relations professional and former journalist with a strong background in strategic communications, feature writing/story-telling, copywriting and editing. She serves as assistant vice president for university communications. Kathy joined the University of Mobile marketing/public relations staff in 1993 and has earned awards for writing, public relations and advertising, including twice receiving the grand prize for feature writing from the Baptist Communicators Association. She serves on the board of the John M. Will Scholarship Foundation, awarding scholarships to promising student journalists; and is a member of the Public Relations Council of Alabama, Baptist Communicators Association and Society of Professional Journalists. Kathy lives in Daphne with her husband, Chuck, who earned his M.B.A. from University of Mobile. They have two children and two grandchildren.