A Conversation With Kevin Demoff

As chief operating officer of the Los Angeles Rams, Kevin Demoff oversees the business and football operations of the organization. During Demoff’s 14-year tenure, the team has gained a reputation for its commitment to social justice and community involvement and for pursuing diversity, equality, and inclusion goals. He was interviewed by Editor Joseph Wakelee-Lynch.

The Rams have made an explicit commitment to working for social justice, which is now a politically charged topic in U.S. politics. Do you face criticism for that commitment?

I haven’t seen any criticism. I think you should run your franchise — and Stan Kroenke, the Rams owner, has always said this — in a way that reflects your values and the values you want to see in your fans. We have an organization that is the most diverse in the NFL. Millennials make up 91% of our workforce. If you have a 91% millennial workforce, you’re going to have people who are passionate about making sure you’re involved in social justice. 

The Rams also have committed to pursuing gender equity. How is that going in the male-dominated environment of pro football?

In terms of business operations, we are majority-female on the business side — one of the only franchises, if not the only franchise, that is. We’ve made great progress on the football side. The most important thing we’re doing now, at the team and league levels, is creating entry-level opportunities for women to come in through coaching and scouting roles. I think you’ll see that come to fruition. 

When the Rams returned to L.A. from St. Louis in 2016, did the organization have a vision for its role in the community, or did that vision evolve afterward?

The Rams have always been in the forefront of social justice: Go back to the ’40s with Kenny Washington, the first Black American to sign with an NFL team. Pushing social boundaries was always part of the vision. It was important, when we came back, to tackle the most important issues facing Los Angeles — homelessness, educational injustice, economic injustice. Look at the impact of relocating to Inglewood: 12,000 jobs created during SoFi construction, a third of those to workers in neighboring zip codes, and nearly 500 to formerly incarcerated workers involved in anti-recidivism organizations. If you’re going to build SoFi Stadium — the world’s most amazing and most expensive stadium — you have to make the community part of the facility. We have a huge platform. If you don’t use that platform for good and to advocate for change in Los Angeles, then you’re wasting it.

What’s in it for the Rams in a partnership with LMU?

First, we have LMU alumni in our employment ranks, so there’s a great element of pride. Second, access to LMU students for internships and entry-level jobs — that’s huge for us. Third, a great partner who is active in the Westchester-Inglewood-South Bay corridor. Fourth, brand alignment with one of the best universities in the country. There are so many great opportunities for the Rams in the partnership.

You have an MBA and a bachelor’s degree in colonial history. Is that a path you’d recommend to students who want a job like yours?

My advice to students is very simple: Study what you’re most passionate about. There is no one path. Here’s what I care about: Do you have the ability to be a great teammate? Do you have a tremendous work ethic? We want people who bring unique perspectives, from studying internationally to being involved in school projects and groups. What works for the Rams is someone who is intellectually curious, has high emotional intelligence, and wants to compete to win each day, both in our marketplace and in the ecosystem of the NFL. If you bring those, you’re going to do great.

Don Klosterman, a great Loyola quarterback, was an innovative GM for the Rams. Does his legacy shape the Rams today?

Don Klosterman is absolutely part of the fabric. Everybody who comes to work for the team leaves a part of that legacy, whether as a player, a GM or by tutoring in South L.A. We’ll be writing the next chapter in Rams history. Getting to leave that impact in Los Angeles is why we’re all here.

Watch a video about the official kick-off celebration on Regents Terrace of the LMU-Rams partnership.

Don Klosterman ’52, the legendary Loyola football player who set NCAA records as one of the nation’s leading QBs and later shaped professional football as general manager of the Los Angeles Rams, was the subject of a feature story in LMU Magazine by the late Chris Dufresne, L.A. Times sportswriter. Dufresne was also a guest on the LMU Magazine Off Press podcast, in which he talked at length about Klosterman and his impact on pro football.