Please tell us about yourself

Every Sunday during football season, Paraag Marathe, BS 99, feels partially responsible for whether the San Francisco 49ers win or lose. He doesn’t catch touchdown passes, kick field goals, or sack quarterbacks. But he signs the players who do.

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How did you end up in such an offbeat, unconventional and cool career?

As the team’s vice president of football operations, Marathe negotiates player contracts and manages the salary cap — the limit a team can spend on players’ salaries. He never imagined he could work for his favorite childhood football team until his sophomore year at Cal, when he saw the Tom Cruise movie Jerry Maguire.

“If you were not an athlete, I didn’t know there was a career in sports. But Jerry Maguire let me see that there’s the agent side of it and the front office side of it,” he says. “That’s when I realized I wanted to get into sports.”

What did you study?

Paraag did his B.S in Business from University of California Berkeley.

While studying at Haas, Marathe interned at IMG, a sports marketing and management firm. After graduating, he joined management consulting firm Bain & Co., who 49ers executives hired to help evaluate potential draft picks. Marathe impressed the Niners brass so much that they offered him a job, and he’s steadily risen up the ranks ever since.

Tell us about your work

Marathe is credited with developing new statistical methods for evaluating and acquiring players and managing the team’s salary cap, which in the early 2000s prevented the team from having funds to get or hold new players. He also has developed extensive databases on players and their salaries to better compare players with similar skill levels when he’s negotiating a contract.

What do you like about your career?

Marathe’s goal, of course, is to help the team win again. “It doesn’t feel like a job,” he says. “It’s like a hobby to me because I love it so much.” As Marathe enters his eighth year with the 49ers, he credits Haas for building the foundation for his success. “The level of intellect there makes you raise your own game,” he says. “My ability to break down problems in a logical, rational way and go from Point A to Point B all started at Cal.”