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Working in the Athletic Communication office helps launch careers



tudent-athletes across the nation aren’t the only people who hope the pros will recognize their performance and what skills they could bring to the team. While academic coursework at Slippery Rock University continues to build the foundation for students to succeed in life after college, more and more potential employers are looking for graduates with hands-on experience that can hit the ground running. While the University strives to link students to work experience and internships that are tied to their academic major, one office at Slippery Rock University, athletic communication, has seen an incredible level of success over the last five years in placing student employees in “the pros.” The athletic communication department is responsible for a comprehensive communication plan that promotes the University’s 17 NCAA Division II athletic programs, its student-athletes and coaches. The office carries out a myriad of tasks that relate to the coverage and promotion of the athletic department, including the design and maintenance of the official athletics website,, and all content on the site that receives more than 2.3 million views per year. The office also handles operation of live video broadcasts of sporting events, compilation and historical archiving of all statistics and records, photography, production of game programs and promotional materials, management of all the official SRU athletics social media accounts, reporting to the NCAA, nominating student-athletes and coaches for weekly and yearly awards and serving as the media liaison for the department, its coaches and student-athletes. “The amount of responsibility our office has leads to a tremendous

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amount of work,” said Jon Holtz, director of athletic communication. “It has become impossible to do the job to our standards without the help of our student assistants, and in return, we have been able to help many of them develop skills that have set them up to succeed in their professional lives.” More than 20 student assistants from the athletic communication office that have graduated in the last five years are currently working jobs in athletics, from NCAA Division I schools to professional sports, working in multiple concentrations that extend far beyond communications. The department also has graduates in a number of other professions, from teachers to business professionals and from park rangers to financial consultants. “Most of our student assistants want to work in athletics,” said Holtz. “We pull most of the group from the sport management major, but we’ll never turn down a student that we think has potential to help us just because they don’t want to go into athletics. Some of our best student assistants over the last decade have gone into other professions and are succeeding at a tremendous level. We are particularly proud of the number of former student assistants we have working in athletics though. Just about every student we have had graduate in the last five years who wanted to get a job in sports has one.” Dating back to the class of 2012, former SRU student-workers and graduate assistants in the athletic communication office have held a total of 24 jobs in sports over the last year alone. One of those 24 is Tyler McIntosh, M.S. ’12, current assistant director of athletic communication at SRU. McIntosh came to Slippery Rock in 2011 as a graduate assistant and, after earning his master’s degree,

Rock Magazine Summer 2017