Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Vol. CLIV, Issue 8
Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Whitman news since 1896

Whitman Wire

Search for new assistant sports communication director

The end of February is typically a busy time for the Whitman College Athletic Department. This year, the transition from winter to spring sports will be even more hectic due to the absence of former Assistant Sports Communication Director and Event Manager Jordan Paden, who stepped down in January.

While athletes and fans may not have known Paden personally, they could probably recognize her on the sidelines facilitating many of Whitman’s sporting events over the past two years. As an event manager, her primary responsibilities included organizing the group of students hired to run the clock, hand out programs, keep statistics and set up or tear down athletic events. Aside from delegating tasks to the game management team, she worked closely with Athletics Director Dean Snider and Sports Communications Director Gregg Petcoff, aiding them with social media and other tasks. Now, amidst the turnover from winter to spring sports, the two administrators are tasked with finding a replacement while picking up the slack themselves in the meantime.

So far the Athletic Department has received over 80 applications in its national search. Some applicants have been contacted for phone or Skype interviews, and a handful have been invited to tour the campus. Although the candidates are united by their love of sports, the pool is varied in experience and skill sets. Petcoff mentioned what intrigued some applicants from larger athletic departments.

“The allure of a Division III program is that it is about the student-athlete,” he said. “It’s about the institution and the student-athlete, it’s about caring for the student-athlete, covering the student-athlete, while at a Division I school it’s usually about marketing.”

Both Petcoff and Snider are careful during interviews to emphasize the importance for the new Event Manager to work closely with students. Varsity soccer player and event staffer sophomore Trayvon Foy was asked to consult the hiring committee on potential candidates that visited campus for interviews.

“One of the best things about being on the [hiring] board as both a worker and an athlete is that we actually get to talk to them and get to tell them exactly what we want, like seniority in which events you get to work,” he said. “It’s neat for the potential candidates to be able to ask us, ‘If I were to get hired, what would you want from me?'”

Like many of the student-athletes for which they are responsible, the Athletic Department is seeking someone highly motivated and able to transition into the position quickly.

“There’s a high degree of learning that will take place. It will be on the job learning with training from various voices that engage in that process. There will be a fairly steep learning curve,” said Snider.

With applications still rolling, the hiring committee is sure that they will be able to secure someone who goes beyond the basic job description of the Assistant Sports Communication Director. While some candidates have strong backgrounds in writing or event management, their ability to succeed at Whitman hinges on the connections they will make with students, athletes and the coaching staff.

“It’s not just important. It’s vital,” said Petcoff. “In fact, [connecting with the department] is some of what we talk to each candidate about. You have got to be able to work with the coaches, and you’ve got to be able to engage the student workers.”

The hiring committee hopes to make a decision regarding the opening in the coming weeks. Until then, the Athletic Department will continue to run a tight ship.

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