Adam Katz '81
Top sports agent enjoys a fulfilled and balanced life
by MaryAlice Bitts
August 12, 2010
Adam Katz speaks to Dickinson students during the college's 2010 Public Affairs Symposium, Sports and Society. Katz said that he feels a strong connection to Dickinson, and returns to campus every two or three years.
Sports agent Adam Katz ’81 cemented his career plans as early as middle school, when his father introduced him to a well-known Major League Baseball and National Hockey League agent, Tom Reich. “I talked with him and I knew immediately that this was what I wanted to do,” remembers Katz, who had already cultivated a deep fascination with baseball after meeting Pittsburgh Pirate Dock Ellis. “I asked him for advice and he said, ‘Go to law school. Get good grades. And then give me a call.’ So I did.”
Today, Katz is recognized as one of the most successful agents in baseball, boasting a client list that includes Sammy Sosa, Omar Vizquel, Carlos Lee, Hanley Ramirez, Aaron and Bret Boone and Ken Caminiti.
An eye-opening experience
Katz laid the foundation for his career at Dickinson, where he played on the Red Devils tennis team, joined Phi Kappa Sigma and learned how to succeed among his peers. “Coming to Dickinson was eye-opening experience. I was surprised to see how talented, polished and sophisticated many of [the Dickinson students] were,” said Katz, who hailed from a small high-school class in rural Central Pennsylvania. “I dug in and worked to catch up.”
After graduation, Katz earned a law degree at Notre Dame Law School and applied for a job with Reich. “I convinced Tom to hire me,” he said. “I spent the next five years making myself as indispensible as I could. I wanted to out-work everyone and be as useful as possible.”
He did. Eventually, Katz partnered with Reich and co-formed a successful sports-management agency, Reich & Katz. The practice was acquired by leading international sports-management company Wasserman Media Group in 2006. The following year, Forbes declared Katz one of the most powerful baseball agents in the nation.
It’s a profession that requires not only hard work, a legal background and negotiating ability, but also tremendous interpersonal skills. Agents not only negotiate contracts and sponsorships and guide financial planning, but also often handle many other details in their clients’ lives. “The [level of personal involvement] varies. With some players, you’re involved in every aspect of their lives,” explained Katz, who counts some clients among his close friends. “This field attracts people who are versatile and can do many things.”
Students who hope to become top agents should become well-rounded individuals through a broad-based education and a rich personal life.
“It’s difficult to maintain day to day, but I try to keep things uncomplicated and fundamental,” said Katz, who prioritizes and cherishes time spent with his 11-year-old son. “I would advise students who want to be successful to try to be great students, friends and family members, and to develop the spectrum of skills that are required for a fulfilled and balanced life.”