As ESPN’s college basketball season starts today, and with the homestretch of the college football and fall college sport seasons in sight, the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) has launched a new initiative entitled Membership Recognition Week (Nov. 7-13).
It recognizes the dedication of its members, an important yet unsung group of professionals that works with ESPN each day to help shape content across all platforms.
Many of ESPN’s analysts are former college sports coaches and student-athletes. They have built relationships with athletic department employees known as sports information directors (“SIDs”) who are still relevant in their ESPN careers. The role of the SID is to work with players, coaches and members of their athletic department and serve as the primary media contact for national and local outlets seeking to cover the school’s athletic teams.
As a former Sports Information Director at UConn and the BIG EAST, I know firsthand the hard work put in daily by these individuals and media relations offices. The very first College GameDay basketball aired from UConn when I was working at the BIG EAST. I can recall the thrill and excitement working behind-the-scenes with ESPN to execute a successful show (in a January blizzard in Storrs, Conn.). I never dreamed I would now be on the other side still working closely with so many SIDs on a regular basis.
Several former coaches now working at ESPN took the time to show their appreciation for members of CoSIDA:
– ESPN college football analyst Mack Brown
Mack Brown, ESPN college football analyst and former head coach at Texas, North Carolina, Tulane and Appalachian State:
“SIDs play such a vital role in an athletic department because they help cultivate and tell the stories of your student-athletes and programs. They are the bridge to the media and provide a critical connection between the school and its fans, alumni, students, recruits, and so many other groups.
“As a coach, if you are able to develop a good, trusting relationship with your SID, they are an invaluable resource for you. They can help you be prepared for managing so many situations and anticipating issues or concerns you might face. Just like your coaching staff, they build great relationships with the kids in your program, mentor them and help them grow and mature as they manage the spotlight.
“They’re a group of people who are unselfish by nature and don’t seek attention for what they do. Because of that, I think SIDs often don’t get the public credit or recognition they deserve, but definitely are greatly appreciated by coaches across the country.”
Dan Dakich, ESPN college basketball analyst and former head coach at Bowling Green and Indiana:
“For me, SIDs have ranged from information provider to best friend and everything in between. As a coach some of my best memories are driving back from a win or a loss with my SID JD Campbell, now at IU. He was a counselor, a comedian, but mostly a friend during times that were either incredibly high (a win) or incredibly low (a freaking L). As a broadcaster, SIDs have become my lifeblood. From sharing info and work-related information to just hanging out talking ball, their team or life. Thank you to all the fantastic SIDs for all your hard work and friendship.”
– ESPN women’s college basketball analyst
Fran Fraschilla, ESPN college basketball analyst and former head coach at New Mexico, St. John’s and Manhattan:
“A good SID is a necessary gatekeeper for a coach with the media. They try to create a positive working relationship between the two in an atmosphere that, by nature, is stressful. As an ESPN analyst, who prides himself on preparation, there’s no way I could do my job without the help of a team’s SID. They help me tell the story of players, coaches and teams in our telecasts. They are invaluable.”
Seth Greenberg, ESPN college basketball analyst and former head coach at Virginia Tech, USF and Long Beach State:
“I was fortunate to have some great SIDs during my coaching career. They are the backbone of your program and support staff. They work countless hours and help shape your vision for your program. Now working in the media, I even value them more. Their willingness to not only help you gather information but coordinate access has been invaluable.”
Andy Landers, ESPN women’s college basketball analyst and former head coach at Georgia & Roane State Community College:
“A great SID is imperative to the success of a college sports program. They work long hours to distribute pertinent information to coaches, media outlets, student-athletes and their communities. I don’t know where we would be without them. As a coach, I had great respect and appreciation for the job they did… As an analyst, I would be lost without their assistance!”