On Monday, April 3, Anthony Bonagura joined “Pizza With the Pros” to give students excellent advice by sharing his journey within the sports industry.
Bonagura currently oversees corporate communications for the Philadelphia Eagles and has spent over a decade working in the sports and entertainment industry.
Bonagura’s dream of working in sports started in high school, being inspired by Neil Hartman, Ron Burke, Leslie Gudel and Derrick Gunn. Bonagura would watch Comcast SportsNet Philadelphia every morning and his wish was to be in front of the camera talking about Philly sports.
Entering La Salle University in 2004, Bonagura started his journey of becoming a sports broadcaster. Early on in Bonagura’s college career he began thinking about different career options that would allow him to stay in his hometown. Fresh off of graduation, Kale Beers, the Director of Athletic Communications at La Salle, offered Bonagura the position of athletic communications assistant which fully introduced him to public relations.
At the time of working for La Salle as a grad assistant, Bonagura was also working for the Philadelphia Eagles as a public relations game day assistant. Bonagura gained great knowledge of the department which led to a full-time internship in 2010.
“I know this time of year [the Philadelphia Eagles] are really trying to fill up their game day staff for the upcoming season,” Bonagara said.
Joining the game day staff is a good start to getting your foot in the door. It’s crucial to make good connections with people so that you have the chance of them helping you obtain a future job.
Bonagura created excellent connections with the public relations staff and that played a big part in how he became the director of corporate communications. Since he had previously been around the staff as a game day worker and an intern, they knew that they could trust him with that big position.
Bonagura emphasized that the type of hires he looks for is someone that truly enjoys public relations or communication as a whole.
During interviews, Bonagura often asks the question, “What made you want to apply for this position?” The two answers that make Bonagura absolutely cringe are “I want to work in sports” or “I am a big Eagles fan.”
“Which is true, that’s why I’m working there right?” Bonagura said regarding those interview answers. “Mostly everyone with the Eagles either grew up in Philly or is an Eagles fan, but that’s only secondary.”
Bonagura then recounted an experience he had as the director of corporate communications.
In 2020, Bonagura had a grad assistant that worked remotely for the Philadelphia Eagles. Bonagura had never met the grad assistant since it was the prime of the pandemic and he lived in Brooklyn. All communication was done over the phone, but Bonagura was still able to notice the intense drive that this young man had. Bonagura was strictly set on helping this young man because of the great impression he had made.
Bonagura came across an open position for communications coordinator with the Carolina Panthers. He contacted someone from that staff, told the grad assistant to send in his resume and that same grad assistant now works full-time for the Panthers.
“It’s so easy to tell if someone has the drive or not, and if they have it, I’m the type of person to do everything I possibly can to get you a full-time job,” Bonagura said.
Join us on Monday, April 10, for the final Pizza With the Pros of the semester and hear from Vice President of Playfly Sports Lindsey Masciangelo on public relations, marketing and more.
For comments/questions about this story tweet @TheWhitOnline or email firstname.lastname@example.org