The Gordon family is a wrestling family.
But, it’s deeper than the fact that John Gordon and Nick Gordon ‘09 made for a record-setting father/son duo at Wyoming Seminary.
“My mom was sort of the team tutor, my sister would travel on the road with us,” Nick Gordon said. “It was everything we lived, breathed, ate and slept since I was in first grade.”
The Gordons set and achieved lofty goals.
Nick won 217 matches, a Pennsylvania high school record, while John coached the Blue Knights to multiple state championships and second-place at the 2010 Prep Nationals.
“The goal was for me and my dad to build a program together,” Nick Gordon said. “The fact that we were able to do that ... it was the most special thing that ever happened in my life.”
As with any athletic career, however, it eventually ended.
Nick’s competitive edge remains, as do many of the lessons learned at Wyoming Seminary, as a premium sales manager for F1 Miami Grand Prix.
Gordon was at a career crossroads in his final months at the University of Virginia, where he helped the Cavaliers win the 2010 ACC championship.
Knowing his wrestling career would soon end, Gordon contemplated becoming a wrestling coach and school administrator, like his hero, dad.
Gordon strayed from that path, however, when he learned about a master’s program in sports leadership offered at Virginia Commonwealth University.
“I had never heard of a program like it, but I thought it was really cool,” Gordon recalled. “It was structured to help people who want to work in sports.”
Gordon’s academic experience at Sem — where he admits he wasn’t the best student — helped in this exciting but competitive field.
“The concept of accountability and having really rigorous courseloads and homework and tests and quizzes — it prepared me academically for the rigors of college,” Gordon said. “But, more importantly, I think it set me up for postgraduate life and having an understanding of different cultures.”
Gordon recalls the worldly culture at Sem, where students from more than 30 countries attend school.
“You sort of get numb to it,” he said. “I’d be in a history class and we’re talking about the Cold War and I’ve got a kid from Ukraine sitting next to me. Hearing their perspective ... I didn’t realize how fortunate I was until after I left.”
Gordon got his foot in the sports management door in his early-20s, applying to dozens of entry-level sales positions for professional teams.
He was hired by the NHL’s Tampa Bay Lightning, where he made cold calls all day long in hopes of selling season tickets.
Gordon turned grunt work into great work, earning promotions within the Lightning organization before moving on to the NFL’s Miami Dolphins.
“We hosted the Super Bowl two years ago at Hard Rock Stadium,” Gordon said. “If you wanted to have a suite at the Super Bowl, you had to go through me.”
Gordon’s Wyoming Seminary network unexpectedly came in handy for the Super Bowl. Among his clients was former Sem teammate Justin Dellario ‘07, then an executive with Twitch; needless to say, Gordon and Dellario worked out a deal.
Gordon’s Sem experience is now paying dividends once again as he began working in 2020 for Formula One’s Miami operation.
F1, which has a global and growing fanbase, has reported an astounding demand of 275,000 pre-registrations for the inaugural Miami Grand Prix in May.
“I’m learning so much,” Gordon said. “I feel very fortunate that I was in the right place at the right time surrounded by the right people.”
— Article by Matt Bufano; photos submitted (Published Jan. 4, 2022)