David P. Synowka, Ph.D.
Professor of Sport Management (Sport Management)
Director, Sport Management Program (Marketing)
412-397-6388 phone (M)
412-397-2217 fax
Massey Hall 330

Educational Background

  • Bachelor of Science, Health Science & Sports Medicine, Slippery Rock, 1977
  • Ph.D., Exercise Science, University of Pittsburgh, 1989
  • Master of Science, Health Science & Exercise Science, Slippery Rock, 1979

Professional Background

  • For over 30 years Dr. Synowka has been an integral part of both the RMU Sport Management and Division I Athletics Programs. From 1978-1987, he was the Head Athletic Trainer and developed the sport medicine facilities and service within the RMU Department of Athletics. In 1979, Dr. Synowka was appointed to the Sport Management faculty where he has served as the Acting Department Coordinator (1981-82), the Internship Coordinator (1990-200) and as the Director of Sport Management since 2000. In the 2011 Fall term, he was promoted to Department Head. His administrative accomplishments include: organizing a regionally recognized Student Sport Management Career Conference, a national industry board and SM alumni group, the establishment of a RMU Sport Management Hall of Fame, the publication of an annual newsletter and managed the first RMU international graduate degree program in Athens, Greece. Also during the 2005-06 year, he was appointed as the Acting Department Head of Management in the School of Business. Dr. Synowka's other professional appointments include being: the Head Football Trainer at Slippery Rock University (1977), a Visiting Assistant Professor and Acting Chair for the Sports Medicine Education Program at West Chester University (1989-1990) and as an adjunct Assistant Professor of Sports Medicine in the Graduate School of Health and Physical Education at the University of Pittsburgh from 1992-1996. Dr. Synowka has been active in the community with the Allegheny Safe Kids Coalition and was elected as the founding President in 1993-94. Today he is on the marketing committee for the Extra Mile Foundation as well as the National Sport Forum Case Cup Competition committee. His professional memberships include the North American Society for Sport Management, the Sports Marketing Association and the Sport Business Alliance where he serves as the Vice President for Industry Relations.

Area of Expertise/Research

  • Dr. Synowka's areas of expertise include: Professional career development, innovation and emerging trends in sport, risk management, high school, collegiate and professional sports trends


  • Apostolopoulou, A. J.S. Papadimitriou, D. Synowka and J. Clark. Sunday in the Steel City! Display of fan support through the wear of team licensed merchandise. International Journal of Sport Management and Marketing. Accepted for publication (2012)
  • Chris King and Synowka, David. Professional Development and Advancement, Chapter 18, Handbook of College Athletics and Recreation Administration. Jossey-Bass/Pfeiffer-A Wiley (2012).  
  • Smith, Amber, Synowka, D., Clark,J. and Smith, Alan. "Exploring the degree of commercialization associated with sport marketing activities" International Journal of Services and Operations Management. Vol. 11, No. 2, 2012. p. 170-199.
  • Amber A. Smith, David P. Synowka and Alan D. Smith, "Exploring fantasy sports and its fan base from a CRM perspective", Int. J. Business Innovation and Research, Vol. 4, # 1/2, 2010
  • Clark, J.S., Apostolopoulou, A., Branvold, S. and Synowka, D.. "Who knows Bobby Mo?" Using intercollegiate athletics to build a university brand". Sports Marketing Quarterly, 18(1),(2009) 57-63
  • Synowka, D.P., A.D. Smith and D.R. Manna, Strategically comparing selected major college basektball powerhouses through the resource based view of the firm", Journal of Business and Economics, Volume 4, #4 2006 75-82
  • Synowka, D.P., Branvold, S. and S. Hofacre, "A case study of the SARS epidemic and the Toronto Blue Jays", Where sport marketing theory meets practice", Abstracts and Proceedings; Sport Management Association, Fitness Information Institute, 2005 245-251
  • D. Synowka, "Turning the off season into an in-season" National Sports Forum--Inner Circle Sports Forum Best practices" August 2005.


  • 2012 - Li,M.,A.Kaburakis,D.Synowka, S.Brown Foster, L.Delpy Neirotti, J. Cobbs, "Effectively Positioning Sport Management Programs in the Business School: Issues, Challenges and Coping Strategies" North American Society for Sport Management Conference" (May)
  • 2011 - Synowka, D. & S. Branvold, "Keep it or Pitch it-Should Mellon Arena be Preserved?" RMU School of Business Sustainability Conference, (September)
  • 2010 - Synowka, D. & Branvold, S. "From Brownfields to Playfields: A Survey of Western Pennsylvania Facilties" RMU School of Business Sustainability Conference,(September)
  • 2009 - Synowka, D. & Branvold,S. "An Overview of Sustainability Practices in the United States Sport Industry" RMU School of Business Sustainability Conference,(September)
  • 2007 - Clark, J., A. Apostopoulou, S. Branvold and D. Synowka. "Using Intercollegiate Athletics to Build and Leverage a University's Brand: A Case Study", European Association for Sport Management Florence, Italy,(September)
  • 2007 - Synowka, D., S. Branvold and A. Smith. "Fantasy League Baseball Leagues: Is Major League Baseball Missing A Golden Business Opportunity? A Case Study", Sport Marketing Association Conference. Pittsburgh, PA (November)
  • 2005 - Earle, J., Synowka D, Branvold, S., "Revitalizing the University of Pittsburgh Athletic Brand, 1995-2004" 3rd Annual Sport Marketing Association Meeting, Tempe Arizona, (November) 2005.