Welcome to SET’s Suitcase – all things travel, sports, and entertainment

February 2, 2021

A little background on who we are – we are a family run business that has been in the fan travel world since the 1960s, operating as Sports and Entertainment Travel since 2014.

Starting with a cross-country plane and train trip from Chicago, Illinois to Los Angeles, California for the 1964 Rose Bowl to cheer on the Fighting Illini against the Washington Huskies, our company has seen it all. We are here to bring you along on our trips and show a little bit about what makes SET, SET. Now, let’s meet our team.

Original ad from Rose Bowl trip, 1964 – Doddson Travel. Retail cost  including RT Air, 5 nights’ accommodations Biltmore Hotel DT LA, Rose Bowl Game Ticket, motor coach transfers, Big 10 Banquet, Disneyland & Knotts Berry Farm all day tour, 2 Cocktail Parties, Luggage handling, Experienced Tour Escort, Las Vegas Flight, 1-night accommodations at the Rivera, Dinner, cocktail party & Floor Show at the Rivera, morning brunch for $340 Single/$311 Double.  And the ILLINI Won!

Kyle McDonald: President

Kyle wants to live in a world with unlimited golf courses, travel experiences with no agenda and great red wine.  Raised across small towns in the Midwest, he settled on Indianapolis and is a University of Illinois graduate.

As a sporting event professional with over 12 years of experience, Kyle has worked for several companies in the space that include the Daytona Cubs, the St. Louis Sports Commission, Premiere Global Sports, and PrimeSport.  Participating in the management of a wide array of travel programs, he has deployed his skills in business development, marketing, and program management.  Kyle considers himself lucky to direct in parking lots for events like football weekends, bowl games, Olympics, Super Bowl, The Masters, Kentucky Derby, NCAA Tournaments, numerous golf tournaments, and much more.

When he’s not on the road working events or seeing clients, you can find him supporting his teams with a passion (#HOOSIERS, #GOPACKGO, #CUBS), plotting a dining experience or on an adventure with his family in the Northwoods.

Favorite thing to hunt down while traveling: A local experience – likely involving a cocktail.

Laura Cooper-Arnold: Executive Vice President

‘Coop’ can be found wearing her signature black Chuck Taylor’s, while moving fast with her ‘event pace’ walk everywhere she goes. Proudly from Beecher, IL, and an ILLINI alum, she keeps track of all the events she has worked in her 20+ year career by the number of lanyards she can hang in the office. Laura started working for SET (formerly Dodds Athletic Tours) in 2007 as a freelance event manager for the University of Illinois Rose Bowl Trip and hasn’t stopped since. Logging such events for SET including, but not limited to, the Olympics, The Masters, multiple NCAA Final Fours, college football weekends, and 25+ bowl games, she is ready for college athletics to get ‘MOVING’ again. Also, during her career in events, marketing, hospitality and management, she has been involved deeply in the motorsports community, from the early days of cooking for famous team owner, Paul Newman at Newman Haas Racing, to working for IndyCar/IMSA team owners, Jimmy Vasser and James ‘Sulli’ Sullivan.  Coop is looking forward to her to sports worlds colliding, as SET will be bringing new VIP motorsports travel packages to the fans.

Favorite thing to hunt down while traveling: A great dive bar with a MyTouch Tunes Juke Box

Brian Murphy: Vice President, Business Development

Growing up in a Notre Dame family in Northern NJ, college athletics and travel have been a passion of Brian’s since he can remember. Rather than taking the Rudy route to the land of the Fightin’ Irish, Brian followed two of his older sisters (Brian is the youngest of five!) to Virginia Tech to study Marketing Management (BS ’11); Go Hokies! He pursued sports business as a career, first in NYC working for a few ventures in sports marketing and ticketing, and then took a dramatic geographic move to Athens, OH to pursue an MBA (’17) and MSA (’18) from Ohio University. Brian was a GA in the Ohio Bobcat Club, which launched his athletics development career at the University of Georgia and Vanderbilt University for five years. He now looks forward to assisting other athletics development shops on donor trips, making memorable moments for their supporters!

Other than his college teams (ND and VT), Brian is a Yankees, Giants, and Devils fan. He wishes to travel to all 50 states, many of which have/will include seeing a sporting event. Brian is married to Leslie (Clemson double grad; makes for a fun ACC house divided!), and they have a son, Brady (named after a QB but not the one that you’re thinking of!), and an old, calm(ish) chihuahua named Rico. The Murphys reside in Nashville, TN.

Favorite city: Charleston, South Carolina

Tegan Thornberry: Vice President, Business Development

Tegan (rhymes with Megan) has a passion for travel and sports. Having traveled to 45+ countries and six continents, she has her eye on checking off more in the future. Hailing from Overland Park, Kansas, Tegan went down the road to the University of Kansas where she holds a BSE in Sports and Fitness Management and an MSE in Sports Studies. She brings 15+ years of experience in higher education. With nine years at Kansas Athletics and seven at Kansas Alumni Association, Tegan has unique knowledge how both operate and the unique needs of each of their constituents. She is excited to combine her love for travel and sports by working at SET! When she is not traveling, Tegan spends her time hanging out with her giant Great Dane, Josephine.

Fun fact: Tegan is a Letter winner in both Women’s Golf and Men’s Basketball at Kansas.

Todd Crowell: Project Development Director 

The only person he knows who goes by their middle name, Todd grew up in suburban Charlotte, North Carolina. As a 90’s child in the area, he cemented his love of the Charlotte Hornets and Carolina Panthers as all three “grew up” at the same time. That love of sports took to him to North Carolina State University (Go Pack!) where he earned a degree in Sports Management, but not before stopping to collect a second-place trophy in the 1999 North Carolina Babe Ruth Baseball All-Star Home Run Derby, a crowning lifetime achievement. With over 13 years experience in the sports industry, Todd brings a wealth of knowledge from various positions over those years, ranging from minor league baseball to collegiate athletics. He is looking forward to expanding SET’s catalog of bucket-list experiences to share with fans across the globe.

Favorite city to host a big event: New Orleans, Louisiana

Marcy Bennett: Senior Event Director

Ohio Native, Marcy decided to pack up her whole life and move to Charleston South Carolina after completing her degree in Hotel Administration and has never looked back. There Marcy managed the front desk, guest services, bellmen, valet and concierge staff at a beautiful oceanfront resort. She loved living in South Carolina where she met her husband and had 2 children. She was the food and beverage director at a golf and country club when she started working for us as a freelancer. Marcy started with SET (formerly Dodds Athletic Tours) in 2003, where she has been both a freelance and full-time event manager. Marcy has been responsible for planning and executing a diverse range of events, including international and domestic college and corporate trips, NCAA Final Four trips, football weekends, corporate Masters programs and more than 20 bowl games. Her experience extends beyond SET as she has collaborated with other companies to organize golf tournaments, promotional events, employee incentives, pharmaceutical conferences and corporate meetings. Now living in Northern NY, you might as well call it Southern Canada, she enjoys spending quality time with her family and her 4 dogs. She loves spending time on the water, golfing, biking, walking and traveling. Marcy hopes to move back South where the weather is a tad bit warmer.

Alexa Treon: Senior Event Manager

Alexa is a born and raised Hoosier, by an Indiana State Police Captain we might add. Two days after graduating with a Bachelors in Event and Sport Management from Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis (IUPUI), Alexa started full time with SET. From a hurricane cancelling her first fall football weekend, to a global pandemic cancelling an entire year, her career has been anything but normal. Often referred to as the “mom” of her friend group, Alexa enjoys planning their road trips, making her the perfect fit for an event manager at SET. In her free time, Alexa can most likely be found in the Rathskeller Biergarten singing along way too loudly to any song that comes on.

Favorite City: Nashville, TN

Ryan Roberts: Event Manager

31, Indianapolis, IN – 6’4” – Enjoys long walks on the beach at sunset and romantic candlelit dinners.

Oh wait, this wasn’t supposed to be a dating profile…..Ryan is at his best when in a high energy, fast paced environment, whether it be coordinating a 300 person bowl trip, or dancing on the closest table to Whitney Houston’s “I Wanna Dance With Somebody.” The opportunity to travel the country & experience the greatest sporting events for work is the biggest advantage of working at SET. We have some great trips planned this year and Ryan’s excited to share his experiences!  XOXO Ryan

Favorite Souvenir to bring home from a trip: Golf course pencils

Hayley Burris: Marketing Coordinator

Originally from Indianapolis, Hayley wanted to experience college out of state. Moving to Lexington to attend the University of Kentucky showed her what SEC sports are like. The intensity and passion at the races and games were what kept her coming back every time. Here she majored in print journalism with minors in photography and environmental science. During her time in the UK, she also studied abroad in London which ignited an even greater love for traveling. However, graduating in the thick of a pandemic pushed Hayley to move back to Indiana and get her Masters. At Ball State University, she received a Masters in Emerging Media Design and Development (which is a fancy phrase for marketing and UX design within emerging technologies). During her two years here, she adopted a dog named Lizzie and made some amazing best friends. After graduating and a few job applications later, Hayley landed her first ‘big girl job’ with SET as the marketing coordinator. She is currently residing back in Indianapolis with Lizzie and her new cat Monique. In her off time, Hayley is a big crafter and can pretty much make whatever she puts her mind to. An electric guitar, matching outfits for a Harry Styles concert, or a crochet Shrek hat. You name it, she’s made it. Besides crafting, Hayley also loves tapping into her Italian roots to cook fresh pasta or watching John Mulaney’s comedy specials on Netflix.

Favorite part of a trip: Riding the ‘tube’ in London

Joanna Watson: Accountant

Joanna brings her accounting knowledge to SET after doing bookkeeping and other tasks at a local hospital for 8 years.  Accounting work is much more exciting in the travel industry- things are always changing and this pandemic has definitely made things interesting.  Accounting major but loves to have fun.  Joanna loves a cold Miller Lite and a break from her kids!

Favorite City: Anywhere warm!

Christine Dodds Bruce: Special Projects

Christy started in athletics at birth. Growing up in the family business of Dodds Athletic Tours, Christy’s life was destined to be involved in taking guests to college sports programs. Having majored in Hospitality at San Diego State University, Christy moved multiple times within the Event and Meeting industry (Hyatt Hotels, The Special Event Tradeshow, and others), until she ended up back in Champaign, IL leading Dodds Athletic Tours with her husband Ken in the early 1990’s.  After growing the business nationwide, the business was acquired in 2008 by Premiere Global Sports (PGS), a provider of specialized sports travel, hospitality products, and marketing services. PGS was acquired by PrimeSport, whereupon Christy continued to leverage her experience in sales and operations of the collegiate sports travel programs.  Previously, as President of Sports & Entertainment Travel, LLC, Christy is now Special Projects and continues to utilize her extensive industry experience and connections to develop and expand relationships with leading sports universities around the country.

Favorite Work Experience: Taking first time fans to their first major bowl game or NCAA Tournament, seeing the pure excitement on their faces.