Teresa Resch has had quite a career.
Since graduating from Augustana in 2004, the former volleyball student-athlete has climbed her way upwards in the world of sports management, now serving as the vice president of basketball operations and player development for the 2019 World Champion Toronto Raptors.
Last Sunday, Resch returned to Augustana to speak with student-athletes, bringing along her career expertise and the fabled Larry O’ Brien trophy that is presented to the top team in the NBA finals tournament.
“It’s great to come back,” Resch said. “They always say [college] is the best time of your life and you don’t understand that until you’re gone. It really was formative and Augustana has obviously played a large role in that.”
After leaving Augustana with degrees in business communications and journalism, Resch attended St. Thomas University in Miami, Florida to obtain an MBA with a concentration in sports management.
During her time in Florida, she diversified her sports management experience through internships with the University of Miami’s athletic department, the Orange Bowl Committee, Collegiate Images and the Miami Heat. During this time, she kept her connections to Augustana, inviting sports marketing and sports management classes to attend a sports conference at her Florida alma mater.
Jaciel Keltgen, an assistant professor of business that helped lead the trip to Florida said that Resch’s assistance in the trip is a reflection of her willingness to help all students succeed, even if she does not know them very well.
“Anytime I’ve reached out to her on behalf of a student, she has just come through,” Keltgen said. “If a student wants to know, ‘What was the curriculum like at your graduate school in Miami?’ she’d say, ‘I can give him or her a call, and just talk to him or her about it.’”
It was a stint as an events intern for Disney Sports and Recreation in Orlando that opened the door for Resch to a career in the NBA . She was at the NBA Draft Combine in Orlando when she met several connections that would help her secure a job as a staff assistant in basketball operations at the NBA League Offices in December 2006.
Resch worked at the NBA for about five years, primarily helping with the Basketball Without Borders program. The program created basketball camps in developing countries where NBA players would go to share their skills and knowledge.
In 2011, she accepted a job as a senior hoops operation manager at Lifetime Fitness, where she workedfor two years.
When Masai Uruji, one of the NBA camp directors that had worked with Resch, started his job as the executive vice president and manager of the Toronto Raptors, he asked Resch if she would join his team. She accepted and by 2017 had worked her way up to vice president of basketball operations and player development.
Resch attributes her success to three things: working hard, taking risks and treating people well. She said that doing these things not only helped her gain respect from her coworkers, but also provided opportunities for her to advance in her career.
“I’ve had a lot of different jobs, but I’ve only ever got one job through an interview,” Resch said. “I interviewed for a lot of jobs, don’t get me wrong. I got rejected a lot, but I’ve only actually gotten one job through an interview. The other ways I’ve gotten jobs is that I’ve worked with people and they remember me. They remember how I work and they want me to be part of their team.”
John Bart, a professor of communications at Augustana, remembers Resch as his student and says that her career with the NBA makes perfect sense, although it was not apparent to him before.
“In retrospect, I can see the path very easily because she is a person that is very intelligent, but also is very outgoing and people-connected,” Bart said.
Having helped steer the Raptors to NBA dominance, Resch herself has played a part in the making of NBA history. She now carries around the Larry O’Brien trophy, but the wonder of that moment still has her in awe.
“No words,” Resch said. “No words can describe the feeling of winning a National Championship and the championship summer after that.”