A leap of faith: School of Communication student lands internship with Kansas City Chiefs
September 28, 2023
Joey Maguire’s summer began as expected — in a Midlothian, Virginia, church where the Richmond native spent his May and June as a youth intern. But a fortuitous email from an NFL team during the first week of June changed his summer script.
Maguire, a sports and media analytics major at Virginia Tech, had applied for an internship with the Kansas City Chiefs on a whim last spring.
“I thought nothing of it until they messaged me a couple months later to see if I was still interested," he said. "I even told them 'no' initially, but I doubled back an hour later. It is an NFL team after all.”
It was Maguire’s draft day. A few weeks later, he took a 16-hour road trip to St. Joseph, Missouri, where the defending Super Bowl champions held training camp, just in time for star players and newly hired interns to get to work.
The School of Communication senior wore multiple hats in St. Joseph. In addition to serving as a golf cart chauffeur for players in between practices, he also handled several fan engagement duties and worked with the community outreach department. Despite the long workdays with little downtime, Maguire said he savored the challenge and enjoyed the variety of tasks that filled his schedule.
Maguire noted that he also loved that each day meant encounters with different individuals in the Chiefs’ organization.
“It was a networking dream,” Maguire said. “I’d get in the elevator one day and someone high up for the Chiefs would be there. I’d run into Travis Kelce or Coach [Andy] Reid, and I even got to meet with the head of photography [Steve Sanders] for the team.”
In addition to his primary role as a Virginia Tech student, Maguire works as a photographer for the Virginia Tech athletics department. He's also a fraternity brother in Beta Upsilon Chi and a member of Cru at Virginia Tech.
Maguire said he felt unqualified for a position with an NFL team prior to this summer. After all, thousands of students with extensive portfolios annually apply for these opportunities. How did Maguire land such a heralded position?
“The interview was the difference maker,” Maguire said. “I was comfortable the whole time, and I thought the photography experience was going to set me apart. As it turned out, I really think that they liked my outreach and event-planning work with the church.”
According to Maguire, his faith has taken him a long way. He noted that his work at Sycamore Presbyterian Church helped sharpen his public speaking and interpersonal skills. Maguire even added that his faith finds its way into his work in unpredictable ways.
“One of the best connections I made was with Ted Crews who is the executive vice president of communications for the team,” Maguire said. “We had a really nice conversation about faith and football overlapping, and I shared how important ministry is to me. He was really supportive, and he’s someone I hope to connect with again in the future.”
Maguire recounted a few of his best stories involving his work with the defending champions. Donning his community outreach cap, Maguire devoted time to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, a nonprofit organization dedicated to fulfilling the wishes of critically ill children. He said he helped connect a family with MVP quarterback Patrick Mahomes who took time out of practice to talk with children in need.
After his Chiefs experience, Maguire said he is approaching his senior year with a new perspective and an unrivaled passion for a career in athletics. He added that he is amazed that this all stemmed from a spur-of-the-moment application and encourages his fellow Hokies to take those same leaps of faith.
“When it comes to sports media and analytics students, I think we see these NFL or NBA jobs and think we aren’t qualified for them, but who is qualified?” Maguire said. “You’re literally getting a degree in the same field and so many of us work with Virginia Tech athletics in some capacity. You’re way ahead of where you think you are, so just go for it.”
When Maguire steps off the graduation stage this May, he said he plans to venture down a new path with a well-equipped toolbox, ready to weave his passions into a career.
Written by Jacob Sawyers, student media content assistant for the School of Communication