The end of the year is a time for reflection. When looking back at 2011, I can’t help but marvel at the efforts of the University of Maine athletic media relations staff.
Covering UMaine sports is a big job and it is one we do with two reporters. There are some 400 student-athletes competing for the Black Bears and the seasons often overlap, meaning BDN writers must try to keep up with the goings on in two or three programs simultaneously.
The only way we can pull that off is with the capable assistance of the folks in UMaine athletic media relations.
Not long ago, the department was referred to as “sports information,” but the present title more accurately represents the services assistant athletic director Laura Reed and her staff are providing on a daily basis.
We rely heavily on the staff for a variety of things. That includes game preview information, up-to-date statistics and game reports. They also produce the online media guides that include a tremendous wealth of information about each team.
However, they also serve as the liaison between us and UMaine’s coaches and players. They set up interviews, often on relatively short notice, so we can have a pertinent comment or sound bite for a story.
We are in frequent contact, which means their demeanor and personality are keys in working together effectively. Regardless of the situation or what kind of day they are having, these hardworking people are always cordial and willing to respond to requests quickly.
I have had the opportunity to work closely with Drew Mahoney (football, men’s basketball), Tyson McHatten (women’s basketball) and Reed (baseball). And newcomer Alex Comeau has fit right into the mix nicely.
I continue to be amazed by their dedication and resilience despite working long hours that often encompass late nights and weekends. Their compensation, in most cases, is not in line with the quantity and quality of the work they perform and the time they put in.
It takes a special love for sports and working with people to handle the rigors of this critical job. And while there are times when they are not able to share information about sensitive situations, Reed, Mahoney, McHatten and Comeau often provide interesting tidbits of information that lead to compelling stories about UMaine athletes or coaches that might not otherwise be written.
It continues to be a true pleasure to work with folks in UMaine athletic media relations. Without them, my job would be virtually impossible. Through their efforts, the stories of the most deserving student-athletes, coaches and staff members are told and Black Bear fans are kept abreast of the latest developments within the program.