Monday, September 10, 2007

Wabash SID Earns Praise

It's not often that sports information directors get noticed. Well, I guess they garner a lot of attention, usually for not very good reasons: a mistake in game stats - genuine or perceived, no game story in the local newspaper, web sites not updated fast enough, complaints that they do more work for one sport over another, and the list goes on.

What most people don't see is how hard these individuals work. They are the first to arrive and the last to leave an event, working behind the scenes to set up, to record and showcase the actions of others. Heck, sometimes their busiest time of day is after the last whistle clears the fields for the day/evening. In our conference it's not unusual for an SID to have to host five or six events, some taking place all at the same time.

That's what makes an article in today's Crawfordsville Journal-Review so unusual. The paper ran a column about Wabash SID Brent Harris.

We in the NCAC Office have had many opportunities to work closely with Brent. He is a huge help to our office and also willingly helps out his SID colleagues throughout the league. He works very hard at telling the stories of Wabash and its Little Giants. He never wants to draw attention to himself, preferring to let the student-athletes and the College take center stage. The story sheds a little light on the way Brent goes about his job:
Now, many years later, Brent has become the public face of the Athletics Department. But it’s funny because he’s not as public as I was; he puts our coaches and student-athletes out in front and tells their stories admirably.

Brent works in close collaboration with Athletic Director Vernon Mummert, and together they have lifted our intercollegiate athletics program to new heights, within our conference and nationally. Brent has put an emphasis on hospitality and professionalism for our visiting teams, officials, and media. Vernon has emphasized sportsmanship, class, and fair play.

I applaud them both; I’m proud of them and all the Little Giants.

When reporters come to campus to cover our games, they’re treated with the same respect as if they were covering the Colts’ home opener for Sports Illustrated. Trust me when I say this is rare, if not unique in Division III.

Saturday we kicked off our 121st season of intercollegiate football. I feel safe saying that anyone across the country who cares about Division III football knew about our game with Franklin. Brent does his job that well. In fact, it was one of the featured games nationally thanks to Brent’s promotional efforts. That kind of effort helped land three of our football players on preseason All-America teams.

He applies the same level of passion and professionalism to all of our sports. He has computer-generated statistics printed and ready for coaches and media poolside, on the track, soccer pitch, and baseball diamond. He prints the programs, sets up the sound system, provides meals for media, and has even sung the National Anthem once or twice.
Last week Brent was honored for his feature writing. His article for the Wabash Magazine about long-time football clock operator Rob Tomey’s battle with cancer received second place in the Fred S. Stabley Sr. National Writing Contest from the College Sports Information Directors of America. The story was honored as the best general feature in the nation and also swept the district judging. For the full column click here or here.

In addition to the story in the Journal-Review, Brent was featured in the September issue of the CoSIDA Digest, talking about how he came to the SID profession and how he performs his job at the Wabash. For the full column, click here (pdf - scroll to page 50).

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