Sport Management Graduate is New Cleveland Cavaliers GM
August 07, 2017
On July 24, McCormack Sport Management graduate Koby Altman ’09 MStook the reins as General Manager of the Cleveland Cavaliers. For the Isenberg program, an alum with an NBA GM pedigree is a first. Four McCormack graduates have risen to GM status in Major League Baseball, including former Red Sox GM Ben Cherrington ’97 MS, but an Isenberg McCormack graduate at the helm of an NBA team has proved elusive.
"It's fantastic and gratifying to see graduates from our school succeed at the highest levels," observes Isenberg dean Mark Fuller. “Koby provides a great example for students to follow. We are immensely proud of him.”
At age 34, Altman’s rapid rise to the top is exceptional. (The average age of NBA GMs exceeds 50.) It took Altman a scant five years to ascend the Cav’s hierarchy, beginning as Pro Personnel Manager in 2012. After that, he excelled as Director of Player Personnel and then as Assistant General Manager.
Before joining the Cavs, Altman was an assistant coach with Columbia University’s men’s basketball team for two years. Before that, he held the same position for a year with Southern Illinois University. And remarkably, he thrived as an assistant coach with Amherst College’s men’s basketball team for two years while pursuing his Isenberg MS from 2007-2009.
That exemplifies an outstanding former student with exceptional drive, emphasizes Lisa Pike Masteralexis, one of Altman’s former Isenberg professors. “Koby combines accomplished technical skills, deep intellectual curiosity, and uncommon emotional intelligence with the fuel to succeed,” notes Masteralexis. “As a graduate student in my Sport Law and Labor Relations courses, he was consistently and passionately curious about multi-sided issues. After graduation, our conversations have continued.”
Altman, she continues, brings critical thinking skills to the table from his undergraduate years in liberal arts at Middlebury College, where he was starting point guard on the men’s varsity team. Those assets combined with his command of business skills from Isenberg, she says, should confer competitive advantages in his new pressure-packed calling. “Attracting and developing talent, overseeing finances, and the critical challenge of managing the team’s owner—all are enterprises in which, I think, Koby will excel.”