Montana native and Nike, Inc. Chief Operating Officer Eric Sprunk is right at home on the field of the University of Montana Grizzlies, where his son plays. After a football game, you can see him wearing a Griz sweatshirt and mingling with fellow fans and proud parents. Yet he’s equally as comfortable commanding the room in a perfectly tailored suit during a board meeting for Nike. Sprunk worked for the company since 1993 in senior financial, commercial, product and global management roles before taking over as COO in 2013. He says his Montana upbringing (he, too, attended the University of Montana) has helped him succeed in his high-level corporate role with a company synonymous with competitive sports. When we asked him to reveal more about himself to Connect Sports, he was keen to, ahem, just do it.
1. My favorite sports movie is “Caddyshack.”
2. I never leave the house without music.
3. If I had to eat one food for the rest of my life, it would be pizza.
4. Growing up, I was sure I would be a veterinarian.
5. I know every word to the song “You Shook Me All Night Long.”
6. If I could only watch one sport every day, it would be basketball.
7. My nickname in high school was Sprunkers.
8. Next time the Olympics are in the U.S., they should be held in Los Angeles.
9. At a sports tourism conference or event, you can typically find me with the next host of the World Cup.
10. I played my best round of golf ever at Polson (Montana) Country Club.
11. The hardest part about working in the sports industry is staying focused on the consumer/athlete when there are so many other influences.
12. I believe the single most important quality in a leader is compassion.
13. Derek Jeter is the sports leader I admire most.
14. My go-to in-flight beverage choice is vodka and cranberry.
15. The destination at the top of my travel bucket list is Bora Bora.
16. My favorite part of my job is tapping in to the power of sports with supertalented teammates.
17. The last book I read was “Unbroken” by Laura Hillenbrand.
18. I think the biggest challenge to hosting a youth sporting event is off-the-field entertainment.
19. My least favorite part about social media is people being courageous only because they are hiding in anonymity.
20. In 10 years, I’m betting that the sports industry will be flourishing with new sports we haven’t even heard about driving real energy for youth.
21. My first job was washing cars at a car dealership when I was 10.
22. The last piece of sports paraphernalia I received was a football autographed by Peyton, Archie and Eli Manning.
23. The athlete I’d most like to spend a day with is Reggie Jackson.
24. The most underrated sport these days is beer pong.
25. My dream sports event to attend is a UEFA Champion’s League Final. (I have already had the privilege to attend but it’s one I’d always go back to.)