BU Alum Focused on Securing Houston Rockets' Home Court
Mike Drummond may not be the first person fans of the NBA’s Houston Rockets think of when they talk about defense, but behind the scenes he plays a key role in keeping fans safe at the Toyota Center, the team’s home court.
As Security Manager for the Rockets and Clutch City Sports and Entertainment since 2012, he’s responsible for security at the 750,000 square foot arena, including security at all basketball games and the hundreds of other events held in the facility each year. He also manages the closed-circuit television and access control systems, and makes proposals and recommendations for improvements in the security plan.
Drummond, who hails from Peabody, Massachusetts, retired from the U.S. Army in 2002 after 22 years of service and looked toward entering the civilian workforce. Disappointed to have been passed over for several jobs he felt well qualified for, he attended a job fair for the Toyota Center and accepted a part-time position as an usher. From there, he made all the right plays.
Drummond brought a copy of his resume along with him during orientation and immediately put it to work. “I just slid into the security director's group, and said, ‘if you ever need an assistant, here's my resume.’ There was a minor league hockey team in the arena as well, so that office provided security for the hockey team, the basketball team, and 40-something concerts. He's going to have to hire somebody sooner or later. Two months later he came looking for me.”
Although he had earned an Associate’s degree through Pike’s Peak Community College, Drummond began looking for a bachelor’s degree in 2013 to enhance his Army training and the on-the-job experience he had already obtained. It had been on his to-do list for quite some time, but there was always a reason not to.
“I was always going back and forth thinking ‘I’m working full-time. It’s too expensive,’” he said.
However, Drummond’s wife, Cynthia, who works at nearby Lone Star College, was talking with a colleague who works with military veteran students. She mentioned that Drummond was likely eligible for tuition assistance through the G.I. Bill. Sure enough, he was.
“Once I began researching, Bellevue University was the one of the first ones on my list. They have an excellent reputation for being military-friendly,” he said. “A match was made. Bellevue University really gets what veterans go through.”
Once enrolled, Drummond dove into the Bachelor of Science of Security Management program and fully embraced the back-and-forth teamwork with his fellow students.
“I loved the way it was set-up. Whatever you wrote – papers or discussion posts – was peer-reviewed,” You get to see it from another person’s perspective. Maybe they agree, maybe they disagree – it was always interesting.”
Drummond scored a 4.0 GPA and graduated with honors in 2015. Now, armed with his degree, he sees a bright future and truly enjoys working in a field he didn’t initially give much thought to. “I'd never really considered the sports and entertainment industry,” Drummond said. “But it sounded like it might be fun and pay the grocery bill.”
“We work many long and hard hours often making last-minute decisions,” Drummond said. “I really enjoy all of my coworkers and we’re always under pressure, but we treat each other with dignity, respect and camaraderie that is very reminiscent of the military.”
While working at the Toyota Center, Drummond has been able to enjoy an impressive list of performers beyond basketball, including artists like Pink, Lady Gaga, Michael Bublé, Prince, Stevie Wonder, and Tina Turner. Drummond was impressed with Pink in particular. “She got here on time, started on time, and puts on a great show,” he said. “I admire her professionalism.”
That same professionalism is what keeps Drummond, with his Security Management degree in hand, ready to perform every day. So while the Rockets enter the NBA playoffs in April trying to lock up their opponents, Drummond will make sure their home court is just as safe and secure.