My introduction to the world of Sports Information began at the University of Central Florida (UCF) when I answered an advertisement seeking an intern in the Sports Information Office. During the three years I interned with the UCF Sports Information Office, I worked with the Men’s and Women’s Soccer teams and the Men’s Basketball team.
Several years later, I used the skills learned during my internship in my position as the Sports Information Director for Lee College. At Lee, my responsibilities included the promotion of all athletic programs, from news releases to media guides covering the Tennis, Volleyball and Basketball teams. I also served as the official campus photographer. This allowed me to let my love of photography shine as an action sports photographer. Below you will find examples of items I created in the sports information field.
Tate – A Throwback to The Days of Leather Helmets & Solid Cars
One of the highlights of my internship in the Sports Information Office at UCF was getting to write the player interviews for the football game programs. In total, I wrote five player profiles. Each profile featured a member of the senior class, as they prepared for life outside of college.
In this article, I remember how nervous the subject was at being interviewed. Back then, UCF was a smaller school with very little media attention. As a result, players were not used to telling their stories in interviews. But once they opened up, their stories were truly amazing.
The stories I wrote as an intern at UCF, remind me of a time when players played for the love of the game before college football transitioned to the current business model of chasing max profits.
Seniors Play Final Game Today
For this article, I chronicled the careers of the graduating class of senior football players on the 1996 UCF Golden Knights team. Looking back, it is hard to imagine UCF’s humble roots not that long ago, compared to where they are now.
It is surreal to think I was there to witness the start of that transition from my front row seat in the Sports Information Office. I doubt any of us back then truly understood what UCF would become in such a short period of time.
Lady Rebels Capture Fifth Straight Lee College Classic Title
After interning, and graduating from UCF, I had the opportunity to run my own Sports Information Department when I served in the dual role of Public Information Manager and Sports Information Director for Lee College, a two-year community college located on Galveston Bay in Texas.
I was fortunate that during my tenure there, the Volleyball and Tennis teams were among the best Junior College (JUCO) programs in the nation.
This article is an example of the type of press releases I sent out to promote the college. I enjoyed a great relationship with the local newspaper, which sometimes ran my press releases in their entirety and even gave me byline credit.
Nichols Making Most of Talent, Opportunity
As was the case during my UCF internship, one of my favorite things to do as Sports Information Director was to profile athletes. At Lee College, this meant creating feature articles on the members of the volleyball team and sending them out to the newspaper that served the college, as well as to the hometown newspaper of the athlete featured.
This article was one of the examples where the local paper not only ran the article and the photos I took, but gave me byline credit, which definitely made my inner journalist smile.
2001 Lee College Lady Rebels Volleyball Media Guide
In addition to writing game releases and feature articles during my time as Sports Information Director, I was also responsible for the creation and design of all media guides and other promotional materials for the athletic department.
The first media guide I designed was for the 2001 volleyball team. The photo shoot for the player profiles included a fire truck from the local fire department.To this day, I am still a little upset that everyone got to climb onto the fire truck except me.
2001 Lee College Tennis Media Guide
In addition to having a National JUCO powerhouse volleyball team, the Lee College tennis team was also a yearly contender for the National Championship. The number of international players on the tennis team reminded me of my days as an intern at UCF where I worked with the men’s soccer team. That team was comprised mostly of athletes from Finland.
Through the international language of athletics, people who may have never met otherwise, are able to share their cultures as they bond together to achieve a common goal through competition on the soccer pitch, or in Lee College’s case, on the court.
2002 Lee College Lady Rebels Volleyball Media Guide
After finishing as national runner-up in 2001, the 2002 Lee College Volleyball season was all about unfinished business. The media guide I created reflected that sense of wanting to finish what was started the year before while also allowing me to try a few new design tricks.
Designing media guides at Lee College definitely helped me learn how to make the most out of limited resources. The college did not have the resources to do the full color, full bleed media guides that I was accustomed to at UCF.
The lack of full color proved to be my gain. It pushed me to become a better, more creative designer, as I learned to make the most out of limited resources..
2002-2003 Lee College Runnin’ Rebels Media Guide
Whenever I look at this media guide for the 2002-2003 Runnin’ Rebels basketball team I am reminded of being suspended high above the basketball court in a rickety scissor lift because the coaches wanted this artistic shot of the view from above the rim.
In the end, the photo did not turn out as well as I hoped, since my only thought was getting back onto solid ground as quickly as possible. While the above the rim shot fell short, I think the overall guide was a success.
Lee College Volleyball Camp Brochure
In addition to creating media guides, I also designed the brochures for the summer volleyball and basketball camps.
The brochures were another example of using a single spot color along with black and white to make a design statement that stood out.
Point Lee College
My boss at Lee College was a huge fan of radio ads as a way to advertise the college. As such, that gave me many chances to be on the radio. Whether it was doing a town hall style show on a radio station, or recording ads at AM radio stations in and around Houston, I spent a lot of time in the studio.
Of the dozen or so radio ads I wrote and voiced, my favorite was this volleyball themed ad called “Point Lee College.”
The process of recording the ad involved taking a 15-passenger college van and three volleyball players to the sports radio station, only to discover that the only place to park was in an underground parking garage.
There was quite a bit of concern among the passengers regarding whether the van would fit inside the garage. I am not really sure whether I was more afraid of facing the volleyball coach, or the motor pool manager had I gotten the van stuck in the garage.
To this day, whenever I see a parking garage, I can hear the players ask, “are you sure there is enough room?”
Thankfully the roof of the van remained intact. While attending a party a few weeks later, a family friend said, “Hey I heard you on the radio.” This proved that my boss’ love of radio as an advertising medium reached at least one person.