Today, July 1st, marks the beginning of the fiscal year for Grizzly Athletics. I always welcome the start of the fiscal year because after a whole month of having it drilled into our brains not to spend anything in anticipation of closing out FY11, we finally get to start fresh with our new budgets and we regain the freedom to make the necessary transactions that enable us to be one of the best athletic departments in the west.
The start of the fiscal year is also important in the fact that contracts start, some new hires come on, and people assume new positions. The start of FY12 is especially meaningful for me given the third reason I just listed.
Today I started my first “official” day as Director of New Media for Grizzly Athletics. I used quotes around official because I have been transitioning into this new position for a good three months now. Around five months ago, I was approached by my boss about accepting this newly created position. With the way the landscape of intercollegiate athletics has changed over the past few years, the need for a new media coordinator is imperative in any legitimate athletic department. I accepted the new position offer with enthusiasm and optimism, it was really a no-brainer. Not only was I getting a “Director” title but I was also getting to work in an area where I have an immense interest. Getting the best of both worlds, I will still be doing lots of marketing but I will also have the opportunity to develop my talents with web technology and social media. I will elaborate on my specific duties soon.
Now I know I did not tell really anyone about this. I apologize. I am not a guy who counts his chickens before they hatch. Things can change and I wanted to make sure we got to July 1st before I said anything. You never know.
So what am I exactly going to be doing? Let me give you a little bit of background first. By using our connections with our third party rights holder, Learfield Sports, we partnered with CBS Sports In January to launch our brand new official website, www.gogriz.com . Before we launched this new site, our official website was less than satisfactory. Worse yet, our department was not even administering the page. We had another campus entity taking care of those duties while we relayed all of the content from our headquarters to theirs. CBS Sports changed all of that when they created for us a beautiful, brand new page with a fresh, cutting edge look. CBS Sports has created websites for many of the premiere, top athletic departments in the country. With our flashy new site our department also gained all of the capabilities to administer the page ourselves. This is where I come in.
I will be in charge of administering www.gogriz.com . When someone in the department needs something to be put up, I am their man. This part of my new job description has already been well defined as I have helped various areas in the department with their website needs. I am also responsible for updating regular weekly features on the website as well. Over the past few months I have learned so much about website technology and website code. It has been very enlightening. It is nice overseeing such a great product. Gogriz.com is a powerful and slick looking website, our athletic department definitely took a major step up in making the change.
I am now also the official point person for all social media within the department. Although I managed most of this in my past role as Assistant Marketing Director, I now have much more time to concentrate on it. Social media in this day and age is crucial for intercollegiate athletics but really it is just huge for the business world in general. If you are a student getting your degree I can’t stress enough how important it is to be well-versed in social media. I am in charge of 10 different Facebook accounts and 9 different Twitter accounts. We have main athletic department Facebook and Twitter accounts and then specific Facebook and Twitter accounts for each sport. It takes time and care to keep each account up to date and rich with content. More so besides just maintaining our existing social media outlets, I am in charge of finding new innovative ways to enhance the social media presence of Grizzly Athletics. I look forward to taking on this challenge and really taking our department to the next level.
Another important duty I have acquired is keeping all of the university’s various social media representatives informed and up to date on the happenings of Grizzly Athletics. Here at The University of Montana, athletics are a huge draw. Because of this, everyone on campus from the alumni office to the Foundation to University Relations posts content on their social media outlets regarding Grizzly Athletics. Many times, inaccurate information is posted and a mini crisis breaks out. My job will be to communicate with everyone on campus who is reporting on our department and make sure that a unified, accurate message is going out to the public.
While I do have new duties, I still retain many of my old duties from when I was Assistant Marketing Director. I will still run the group ticket sales basketball campaign. I will still serve as the Hall of Champions coordinator. I will still have a large role in game day operations for the football and basketball teams as I will retain my DJ duties. Yes, I will still be Monte’s boss (Mascot Coordinator). The major change that is occurring is that I will no longer serve as director of marketing for the volleyball and soccer teams. I will miss this old part of my job to a degree, especially the relationships I developed with the athletes. However, I will not miss the late nights and constant planning that went into each Fall. Who will now take control of the soccer and volleyball teams? We hired a Graduate Assistant to work part time during the year to pour her heart into these two teams and implement her ideas and vision into Grizzly Athletics.
I am very excited for this new step in my career. I get a chance to do something new while still being very much involved in marketing. When hired into the Grizzly Athletics family I promised I would devote three years of my life to the department. I feel two years in one area and a year in another area will help me out more than if I was in the same position for all three. I am thankful for this new opportunity and ready for the challenges that lie ahead. Don’t Blink.