Feature Story

Crawfordsville native in the middle of the NBA Finals

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Clancy Wolf has a very clear view of the NBA Finals games being played this week in Boston.

Like, a front-row view.

The Crawfordsville native has a seat on the edge of the court, working with the Celtics statistics crew, as the league championship series unfolds.

So close, in fact, that family and friends have seen her on television as officials go over a review, or there happens to be a break in the action.

“It’s the best arena to be in,” she said after working her first Finals game Wednesday night, with a second home game played last night. “The Garden was on fire.”

With the long history of the Celtics and NBA championships, it is no surprise that the home court was buzzing.

It is also no surprise that she is in the middle of the action.

Since graduating from Ball State with a Sports Marketing degree in 2015, Wolf has been with the Celtics in a variety of roles, but those roles and responsibilities have ballooned over the years.

Her duties during the Finals are the same as during the regular season, and that list of jobs is impressive.

“I work in the Operations Department as the Manager of Operations and Office Manager,” she started. “My role consists of many moving parts where I help keep our company and team operating to the best of our ability. I assist the Chief Technology Office/Vice President of Operations with duties such as buildout of new office space, NBA Operations, office security access, company parking, Front Office and Practice Facility day to day operations, scheduling court access, locker room scheduling for entertainment, NBA Officials, Home and Visiting Team needs, arena credentialing for TD Garden and the NBA, Ownership requests, media and broadcast needs and many more.”

Aside from building those new offices, every other duty is a plate to spin in connection with Game Day. From last week, when the Celtics won their last series and qualified for the Finals, there have been non-stop demands from every angle - owners needs, team needs, league needs, media needs.

And all needs are immediate. And oh yes, all that same work was taking place in the first three rounds of the playoffs.

But all that doesn’t get a seat courtside.

“One of the coolest parts of my job is that I run the NBA Scorers’ Table,” she added. “I help assist with the technical set-up of the table as well as sit in the second row during games running the 5-man NBA Genius System. This is where we help call and input the play-by-play of the game for live statistics that the NBA pushes out to teams and fans. This season, I was able to be a part of the first full female stats crew in Celtics history where I called the game and we had two other females input and run secondary.”

So there is all that.

But as the Celtics try to win the 18th championship in franchise history, the history of this young lady from Crawfordsville and how she is in the middle of the action is very worth noting.

“I grew up right on Main Street,” the 2012 CHS grad said. “Sports has been an incredibly important piece of my life since I can first remember. I have grown up in a world where sports has touched almost every aspect of what I do and how I grew up and has completely helped shape my world and who I am today.”

Her sports background comes very honestly.

“My Grampy Pat McDowell and my uncles Shawn and Casey (McDowell) were all football coaches and active in many sports as I grew up. I spent my life watching my dad, Bryce Barton work at Crawfordsville HS, where I too spent many of my days either playing sports or working the facilities for him. I was friends with Sean Gerald and watched him coach on the football sidelines on Friday nights. I have been able to be around so many Montgomery County sport legends because of my family and have loved getting to talk sports with all of my favorite guys at Coach’s Corner on Wednesday nights. I have so much respect for all the people I grew up around that loved sports and helped shape my love of sports into an incredible career. I get to live my dream each day and that’s not something everyone gets to do. I’m incredibly lucky.”

Grandpa Pat, the first football coach at North Montgomery, and Grandma Karen, are certainly proud.

“Clancy has always stuck so well with her plan,” they said. “She graduated a semester early from Ball State, landed great internships during her summers, and learned so much from them. She finished school, was ready to go to work, went to Boston, settled in and got after it. She was always a fun child to have around growing up. She is a very loving granddaughter and we are so proud of her. It certainly is fun to be able to say ‘our granddaughter works for the Boston Celtics.’”

They also shared a tidbit that Clancy almost had a different name when she was born, and if she had arrived before a cousin (they are days apart) Clancy would be Molly.

Barton, the Athletic Director at CHS, helped steer her through opportunities in high school and then watched as she went to Muncie, and then to Boston.

“I think Clancy took the opportunities at Ball State that were available to her,” he said. “She had great hands-on experiences working at football games and in the athletic department that looked really good on her resume.  Those set her up for two phenomenal internships while still a student.”

With his own sports connections, Barton has seen his step-daughter flourish in the pro sports world.

“On my trips out there, people in the organization say great things about her,” he continued. ‘She is a hard worker, driven to be successful, and a great personality that makes her fun to work with.  The organization has allowed her to find her voice and support those causes that are of interest to her.  It is a blessing she has had the opportunity to work for an organization like the Boston Celtics.”

Excelling in the sports world, it is worth noting that Wolf went to Ball State thinking about a nursing career.

“After starting at Ball State,” she said, “I struggled to find my footing and wasn’t sure if Nursing was the correct path forward. After sitting down and having a conversation with my Mom, she quickly helped me realize that my passion lies in sports and why not try that out. After changing my major and starting classes my sophomore year, I started volunteering in the Sport Administration Department and worked many sporting events for the BSU Athletic Department. While volunteering, I was offered a role as a Student Assistant to the Assistant Athletic Director and President of Compliance, Pat Quinn. I was able to work in this role for the remaining years at Ball State and it was an incredible opportunity to really see how different departments work and how to successfully operate sporting events.”

The button was pushed and there was no stopping, as opportunities followed.

“I was able to travel for two amazing internships,” she said. “The summer going into my Junior year, I traveled to Dallas, Texas where I worked for the Northern Texas PGA, putting on golf tournaments around the Dallas area. Golf has always been a massive part of my life, so to be able to work for the PGA putting on tournaments was an incredible opportunity. The next summer, going into my senior year at Ball State, I was able to travel to Detroit, MI where I worked as an Inside Sales intern for the Detroit Pistons. Because of these two opportunities and the travel involved, I had a unique perspective on internships and was asked to speak on a panel at the Robert Morris University Sports Career Summit. After speaking, I was offered a position in the Inside Sales Program with the Boston Celtics.”

End of school - start of career.

Graduating a semester early, Wolf headed east.

She started with Inside Sales and took an office manager job a few months later.

“I worked in this position for about 1.5 years before transitioning into a new role that I helped create,” she said. “Operations Coordinator. Since then, I have continued in Operations and am now the Manager of Operations.”

And now working in the NBA Finals, with a seat on the front row.

Her mom, Kelly Barton, was in on that Ball State discussion, and has watched with a mother’s pride.

“I just look at how far Clancy has come,” she said. “She changed her major and set her goals. She has a relentless spirit pushing forward. She has handled some very adult situations at a young age, and she works in a very male-dominated profession, but she has found a way to step up for herself. It’s been interesting and wonderful to watch her grow. She graduated a semester early, got to Boston and set up a life for herself. She took over a position and then created a new one. You always want your kids to enjoy their lives, to grow as human beings. Clancy has done that out there.”

That intensity started early.

“At St. Bernard’s grade school.” Kelly noted, “Ted and Susanne Kalinowski were teachers there, and they were talking about Clancy. Their comment was ‘Tell her parents to never squelch that spirit.” At first, I didn’t know how to take that, but as she grew, I came to realize what that meant and what Clancy’s spirit is. She has done such a great job.”

The young lady from Crawfordsville has done her best. Now it’s time for the Celtics to do theirs and give Clancy Wolf a front seat ride in the championship parade.

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