Inside Communications: The Most Wonderful Time of the Year

On the third Monday of every month, a member of the Georgia State Communications staff will give InsideGSUSports a look at what is going on in their department.  Over the course of every month, each department will be featured at least once. Coming next Monday: Video.

It’s November, which means it is one of the two busiest months of the year for an athletic department. November ties with the month of mid-February to mid-March (I know that it is not a month, but it is a one-month period) for the most hectic in athletics.

We are officially in that time of year where we have crossover in sports. The fall sports are coming to an end with regular-season finales and conference championships, while basketball season is now officially in full swing. And you can add in indoor track, which is practicing now and gets rolling in December as well.

The same thing happens in mid-February. Basketball seasons are coming to an end, while all of the spring sports get started with visions of conference championships and NCAA bids.

At this time of year, you better have a good calendar and it better send notifications to your phone because if you work in college athletics, you will become lost, and lost quickly, without it. This is the case for all departments, but since this is the communications blog for the month, here is an example of just the last week for one SID (me, but others in our office and within the other departments go through similar things):

Following Saturday’s regular-season opener for men’s basketball, Sunday meant catching up on notes and finalizing my end of football stuff for the Louisiana-Lafayette game. While Allison George in our office serves as our primary football contact, I handle things like the website, photography and on-field media.

Monday meant a trip to Nashville to prepare for Tuesday’s game with Vanderbilt. On the road, I try to give fans a behind the scenes look at what coach Hunter’s squad does on road trips during the season, as well as deal with the media who wants to learn all about Georgia State. If you are not following us already, you can follow the Panthers on Twitter @GSUPanthers or on Instagram /gsupanthers.. After the Panthers gave the Commodores one heck of a scare, it was a four-hour bus ride home, arriving back on Collins Street at 3 a.m. After a few hours of sleep, it was back to the office for signing day, plus the phone started ringing early after the near-upset the night before.

Even though men’s and women’s golf are not in season, Wednesday was the start of a two-week signing period, meaning it was time to announce three new golfers who will join the program next year. By the afternoon, it was time to announce two new men’s basketball players and start preparations for the NIT Season Tip-off. There is always extra media attention for events like this, meaning preparations need to start a few days earlier.

Thursdays are generally a day I reserve for members of the media to talk with members of the men’s basketball team and after the great game with Vanderbilt, last Thursday was no different. Ryan Harrow had a phone interview for a big story coming up, T.J. Shipes talked with the school paper and coach Hunter had an in-office interview for an upcoming piece. I also got a chance to finish some NIT stuff, knowing what Friday would entail.

I ended the night back in the Sports Arena for a surprise ceremony honoring Ryann Green who signed his scholarship papers for his senior season. It is a great story of what hard work and dedication gets you now-a-days.

Fridays during football season are always the same in one of two ways: If the team is traveling, we hit to the road around noon. If the Panthers are at home, like this week, it means making final preparations for our home game. Everything for the press box at the Georgia Dome must be prepared, from notes to printers to copiers and more. After you pack everything, you double-check the list so that you don’t forget anything.

Following a Saturday at the Georgia Dome (a tough loss to first-place Louisiana-Lafayette), it was back to basketball, traveling with the Panthers on Sunday to Tuscaloosa, Ala., to open the NIT Season Tip-off on Monday night.

So that is just one example. Facilities is trying to balance prepping the fields and courts for soccer, volleyball, football and basketball games that are taking place on a daily basis as well as keeping a schedule of every practice and shoot around going on in the Sports Arena. Marketing is dealing with the same thing, while already preparing marketing plans for the spring sports. The video department is doing a great job of giving equal footage to all of the sports in season as well as the ones yet to start.

So as you can see, it is a busy time of year, but it can also be fun if you keep things in perspective. Is it tough, sure. But when you can give a serious scare to an SEC team in basketball as well as the first-place team in football, you understand why we do this. Now, onto another week, hopefully one that will end with men’s basketball heading to New York for Thanksgiving and football earning a big win at Arkansas State.

–Mike Holmes

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