Appreciating Totality

Good morning and happy Eclipse Day to everyone! Well, it isn’t such a “happy” Eclipse Day here in the Pacific Northwest. Any effects from this major astronomical event will only last in Spokane for just under two hours and we won’t experience anything above 27% totality.

But I can’t complain too much. You see, I had an experience of a lifetime with the Great American Eclipse in 2017. I was working at Coastal Carolina University at the time and I was given the assignment to cover it via our university social media channels. My boss, a videographer, and I were dispatched to a tiny South Carolina town called McClellanville (population 500) that was smack dab in the path of totality.

Goofy photo of myself looking up at the sky (Thanks, Bill 😉).

Once in McClellanville, we met up with Louis Keiner, a CCU physics professor and eclipse expert. In the weeks leading up to the Great American Eclipse, Dr. Keiner provided his expertise to our campus community about what we could expect. All of the knowledge he instilled and anticipation he had planted would culminate on this particular August day.

A look at our “Coastal Crew” from the Great American Eclipse in 2017. Videographer Alexandra Morris is on the front left, University Marketing and Communication VP Bill Plate is front middle, and I am front right. Physics professor and rockstar Louis Keiner is in the back and his daughter, Emma, is wearing the red hat.

It was an experience I will never forget. As Dr. Keiner provided me with minute-by-minute commentary and full access to the incredible photos he was taking, I felt so lucky to be there. Then it happened. Totality hit and a strong mysterious feeling swept over me. During those 150 phenomenal seconds, a couple sentences did manage to register with my overwhelmed brain…

My amateur photo of the sun post-totality.

Oh, this is good. Oh, this is good.

Those repetitive sentences came from Dr. Keiner, a true kid in the candy shop moment for a man who had this event circled on his calendar for such a long time. That genuine joy was almost as good as the eclipse itself.

It was a pleasure to observe and take in the expertise of Louis Keiner.

To those who are fortunate enough to view the eclipse in totality today, I hope you have the same reaction as Louis. Enjoy this opportunity. Don’t Blink.

Chicago Thursday Rundown

If you notice a couple extra typos and grammar mistakes in tonight’s post you can chalk it up to jet lag. I am still trying to adjust after arriving back home from Chicago yesterday afternoon. So as long as you can tolerate that, let’s proceed with my latest five topics.

Hello, Chicago – What better way to really feel like you are in Chicago than to have this view from your hotel room? Each night I went to bed I marveled at the hustle and bustle of Downtown Chicago seemingly right beneath me. On the two full days we were there, I also found a couple moments to sit on the chair by the window and just really soak in the magnificent Chi-Town scene while listening to my “Catechism In A Year” podcast. So much appreciation and energy!

A look at the view of Downtown Chicago from my hotel room.

Ice Cream Museum – On Monday night, one of the vendors at the AMA Higher Ed Symposium hosted a social at the Ice Cream Museum in Chicago. They had me at “ice cream” as I told Cara that we HAD TO go. The museum was decorated in a way that made it a selfie paradise. It also boasted plenty of ice cream trivia, a sprinkle “swimming pool,” and unlimited ice cream. The Ice Cream Museum was definitely the cherry on top of a fabulous day in which Cara and I presented earlier. Thanks to Open Fortune for hosting us.

A few shots from our Ice Cream Museum experience in Chicago.

Deep Dish – Besides ice cream, I also had the chance to eat famous Chicago deep dish pizza. Cara and I went to Giordano’s on Sunday night as I ordered a chicken pesto pie. Because deep dish pizza takes a little longer to cook than other pizzas, it gave us time to soak in the restaurant’s busy atmosphere and to watch the Seahawks defeat the Commanders on a last-second field goal.

On Sunday night we ate deep dish pizza at Giordarno’s.

Taylor Swift Experience For Sloan – This past Saturday Sloan was over the moon stoked when she was invited to go to the movies to see “Taylor Swift: The Eras Tour.” Adding to the excitement was that our friend, Fidela, asked her to go. Fidela is the same friend that went with Sid to the Jonas Brothers concert and someone who Sloan looks up to. Our daughter made it through the entire three-hour movie and loved every moment of it. Thanks for taking her, Fidela!

Sloan walking into the theater to watch the Taylor Swift movie.

Baby Poll – This showed up in my Timehop from seven years ago and it just reminded me of an exciting time. We were close to learning Sloan’s gender and my University Marketing and Communication colleagues at Coastal Carolina University decided to create this poll. How can you not notice the “social media” onesie they included on the sheet? Interestingly enough, the office sided with “boy” by a 10-9 vote. Sloan had other ideas.

This was the baby poll that my office did while working at Coastal Carolina University in 2016.


That will wrap things up for this Chicago-themed rundown. I may be back from the Midwest but things are just going to get even busier. Hold on! Don’t Blink.

Pickleball Thursday Rundown

Let’s open this blog post with the sobering reality that many people in our country are facing unimaginable hardships due to disasters such as hurricanes and wildfires. Please pray for all those impacted and for the conclusion of these disastrous events. On that sad, but necessary, note, here are tonight’s five topics…

Night At Indians Game – On Wednesday evening we finally attended our first Spokane Indians game of the summer. Thanks to our friend Shauna (whose daughter, Aminah, is a great friend/classmate of Sloan) we had free tickets. Even better, Shauna arranged for Sloan to announce the first Indians batter. If you think I am lying, watch her flex her announcing chops here. It was a rainy day but it all cleared by first pitch as it was truly a gorgeous evening at Avista Stadium.

It was a great night for baseball at Avista Stadium as the Spokane Indians hosted the Everett AquaSox.

Other Drink Stand Business Models – Last night I told the story of the drink stand business model we concocted for Sloan. Well, there are many other creative options out there as well. Nearly eight years ago, several groups within a business class at Coastal Carolina University converged on Prince Lawn to compete against each other in a lemonade stand battle. Each group did something different and innovative to attract customers. I loved going from stand to stand and I wrote this blog post highlighting the models and tactics that each group used.

This was one of the lemonade stands I encountered on the Coastal Carolina University campus back in September 2015.

Pickleball – Our new neighborhood has a couple of really well-done pickleball courts and we are all about them. The Resers are now part of the national craze as we have ventured down to the courts multiple times for some family fun. Sidney bought a couple of the Target pickleball sets and they are working just fine for us at the moment. However, if we continue to have a blast playing, we might have to invest in equipment that is a little nicer 😎.

Sloan loves pickleball already!

Strike Force Five – It is kind of a neat concept. Colbert, Fallon, Kimmel, Seth Meyers, and John Oliver are collaborating on a podcast to support their striking writers. Although I am not a fan of any of them, especially the first three I mentioned by last name, I admire what they are doing. When reading about it, I kept thinking, Could you imagine Letterman, Leno, and Conan doing this in their heyday?

I admire the teamwork of these five comedians.

What A Feat! – Early in my career I was a marketing director for an intercollegiate volleyball team so I understand the challenges of packing the venue with fans. Because of this experience, I was blown away by the 92,003 people who filled the University of Nebraska’s football stadium to watch the Cornhuskers volleyball team host Omaha. Many Division I football programs would be ecstatic if just a third of the fans that showed up in Lincoln went to a game in their venue. What transpired on Wednesday night reveals so much about Nebraska’s passion for women’s sports, the commitment of the institution’s marketing team, and the success of the volleyball program. How cool it must have been to watch that match in-person!

What an incredible and encouraging sight! (photo courtesy of CNN).


Okay, I think I am going to release all of you so you can enjoy a terrific Labor Day weekend. Be safe and savor these last official moments of summer. Don’t Blink.

Spider Thursday Rundown

What a fun week of summer it has been! I always try to take a daily moment to reflect on how glorious these late June/early July days are in the Pacific Northwest. Speaking of reflecting, it is now time to reflect on the following five topics…

Fitting Days – Today is Social Media Day and I always feel it is important to honor the day of your livelihood. Social media has provided me with a career and many opportunities which I am thankful for. Two years ago I wrote this blog post that I feel perfectly sums up my gratitude. On another note, today is National Handshake Day which reminds me of two things: 1. I was dead wrong about the pandemic making the handshake go extinct. 2. Everyone should have a special handshake with their brother.

I am thankful for social media.

CCU College World Series Reflect – It was six years ago on this date that the Coastal Carolina University baseball team won the College World Series. The Chants defeated the Arizona Wildcats to win the title and the party was on in Conway. I covered the team’s arrival at the airport later that night and then the victory parade/community event the next day. Coastal’s unexpected success in Omaha and the resulting victory celebrations are still some of the most memorable moments of my career. Also, I will never forget how HOT it was in Springs-Brooks Stadium for that victory event!

July 1, 2016, was an extrememly hot and humid day inside Springs Brooks Stadium as we welcomed the Chanticleer baseball team home from a College World Series title.

Adam Sandler Movies – I thought this article counting down every single Adam Sandler movie (45 at the time of press) was an entertaining read. I learned about some obscure Sandler films and was also intrigued to learn what the writer tabbed as Sandler’s best movie…but I won’t spoil it for you. If this article was written after the release of his latest Netflix movie, I am pretty sure “Hustle” would have been in the #1 spot.

It was interesting to go through 45 Adam Sandler movies.

Spiderbox – Speaking of Netflix, my movie recommendation this week is “Spiderhead.” The film stars Miles Teller and Chris Hemsworth, the latter who I think delivers an entertaining and eccentric performance. “Spiderhead” is about a drug trial administered to prisoners on a remote island. Deception and ethical practices are central themes in this rather creative film. Sidney and I watched it together and were captivated the whole time so if you have a free evening this weekend you might want to give it a try.

“Spiderhead” was good for a couple hours of entertainment.

How Did The First Half Go? – Today is June 30 and that means that 2022 is already halfway in the books! Yep, six months down and six months to go. This evening is the perfect time to reflect upon whether this first half went according to plan. If it didn’t, congrats, you’re human. But it is important to be mindful of the things that you can control and then make necessary adjustments as you enter the third and fourth quarters of 2022. Approach this exercise with optimism and get off to a great start tomorrow!

Tomorrow begins July, which is a great month, but it is also the beginning of the second half of 2022.


So that is going to wrap things up this evening. Thanks for spending some of your precious time with Don’t Blink. I hope you have a fantastic start to your July. Don’t Blink.

My Top 10 Blog Posts of All-Time

After 10 years and 2,000 blog posts, I guess you could say this one means something. Today I am not counting down my top 5 favorite hard candies or my top 5 favorite fast food desserts. No, this one is a little more significant.

This month I took time to reflect on my personal favorite Don’t Blink blog posts from the past decade. I combed through the content and engaged in spirited internal debates about which ones meant the most to me. After much deliberation, I picked an extreme short list that comprises just .2% of the posts I have written since beginning this blog in 2011.

I am proud to present my Top 10 Don’t Blink Blog Posts. This countdown is all about my personal preferences and isn’t tied to analytics or the opinions of anyone else. These are my favorite pieces. What a journey it has been…

10. My Insanely Long Hair (February 13, 2014) – We open with a shocker. If I ever want someone to spit out their coffee, I send them the link to this blog post. Back in high school I had LONG hair that was thick, curly, and UGLY. It is definitely a sight to be seen and after reading the post you might either laugh or vomit.

i had some long hair back in the day and it made for an entertaining blog post.

9. Making the Cut: My Cameo in Darius Rucker’s Music Video (September 29, 2014) – Alright, now we go from not getting my hair cut to making the cut! It was a thrilling afternoon in the office at Coastal Carolina University when Darius Rucker released his video for “Homegrown Honey” which took place exclusively on the CCU campus and in downtown Conway. Seeing my goofy mug right next to the Hootie star himself made that day that even better. Besides my starring role in a short film that was showed on a jumbotron, this post is my very brief claim to fame.

I made the cut in Darius Rucker’s “Homegrown Honey” video.

8. Hey Southern Belle, What Have You Learned After a Year? (May 12, 2021) – Some of the blog posts on this countdown go back 10 years…this one goes back three weeks. Around the anniversary of Sidney moving to Washington, I wrote this blog post chronicling some of the major themes my wife learned from her move from the South to the West. It is lighthearted and fun, but it definitely implies that Sid is a rock star and made a major transition look easy.

It didn’t take long for Sid to adjust to Washington but she still learned things around the way.

7. $25,000 Dollar Man (October 19, 2011) – If there is a post that my loyal readers bring up more than all the others, it is the one I wrote about my brother winning BIG at the casino. On a single hand of Paigow he snagged $25,000. Not only do I describe the hand itself but I go into detail about the INSANITY that followed. Needless to say, it was quite fun to tell the outrageous story of a 21-year-old kid who blew the roof off a sleepy bowling alley casino during the wee hours of a snowy winter night.

Glen got real lucky at the table once.

6. A Man of Faith: Monsignor James LeBlanc (February 26, 2017) – I love writing profile pieces and have written numerous of them for this blog, but this one about the former St. Andrew (Myrtle Beach) pastor is particularly meaningful to me. Just the fact that Msgr. James LeBlanc married us is good enough to land him a special spot in our hearts but he did so much more than just that. He gave Sid her first true introduction to the Catholic faith and strengthened my own. About six months after he officiated our wedding, the Bishop of Charleston appointed him the pastor of a couple parishes in Columbia. After hearing the news, I wrote this colorful profile on one very excellent priest.

Sidney and I with Msgr. LeBlanc at his farewell party.

5. Farewells (April 2014 and February 2020) – For this portion of the countdown I must cheat a bit and offer my readers a 4-in-1. This is the spot where I want to include the final posts I wrote before leaving jobs. My top 10 moment entries for the University of Montana and Coastal Carolina University serve as perfect highlight reels for my time at both stops. I also hold my “final goodbye” posts at UM and CCU in high regard because I had the opportunity to recognize the people who made my experiences as a Grizzly and a Chant so amazing.

I have worked for some great employers and I tried my best to say “thank you” when I left.

4. Our Fierce Fighter (April 25, 2018) – At the end of April 2017, Sidney published something significant to Facebook. For the first time, a year after the fact, she made it publicly known that Sloan was critically ill with a rare condition called Pyloric Stenosis. It took us time to come to grips with the traumatic experience but on this particular night Sid wanted to speak out. Her purpose was simply to offer support to other families who might have a baby with PS.

Using Sid’s act of bravery as motivation, I followed up the next night with a blog post. I wrote about the emotions we felt as parents as we watched our baby daughter throw up all food that entered her system. I testified to the undeniable fight we watched Sloan exhibit throughout the entire frightening experience. I also made sure to offer education on what Pyloric Stenosis is and how it can be treated, heaping praise on Dr. Robert Cina (the head surgeon who performed Sloan’s procedure) and his entire crew at MUSC. This post put us in touch with parents who were going through the same thing we did with Sloan. Because I believe this blog post actually helped people (opposed to the 2,000 other posts that most people just find annoying), how couldn’t it be on this countdown?

This is Sloan being wheeled out of MUSC on a wagon after receiving a clean bill of health.

3. My Top Ten Photos From Our Wedding Day (July 17, 2016) – It is really tough to put into words the joy you feel on your wedding day. Although I tried to do so with several different blog posts, I don’t know if it ever did our special day justice. Thank goodness for pictures. In July, I wrote this post highlighting my absolute favorite images from June 11, 2016. Each picture says so much and helps to tell the story of that day in beautiful fashion. I still feel so much happiness looking back at this post. As a blogger, some might think that placing an entry so high on a countdown that didn’t rely much on actual writing would be a disappointment. Nope. Drafting up a blog post that uses the heart more than words is always more rewarding.

Less is more. Images over words. Counting down my favorite pictures from our wedding is one of my all-time favorite blog posts.

2. Long, Painful Process; Beautiful, Perfect Result (March 21, 2017) – Well, what can I say? These next two blog posts are going to be about the births of my children. Let me start with my firstborn. Delivering Sloan was not easy. We went through a week-long saga to meet her once Sid was admitted into the hospital. However, the drawn-out process was 100% worth it. In this post, I take you through the curvy road that started with Sid hooked up to a machine and me almost passing out to us walking out of the hospital on a sunny morning with our beautiful baby girl. This post focuses on the strength of Sidney, the gift of Sloan, and the point in time that our lives changed for the better, making it easily one of my top blog posts of all-time.

One of the best two days of my life.

1. Beau Meets World (February 17, 2020) – This wasn’t just my top post of 2020—it is my top post in the history of this blog. I tried to be raw and thorough as I chronicled the emotional 11-day journey from the moment Sidney’s doctor decided to operate to the Sunday afternoon that Beau was released from the NICU at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina.

The post is special to me because it displays Sid’s courage and Beau’s grit. It also conveys the important role that faith played throughout the saga. Tough setbacks are confronted and glorious triumphs are celebrated. It isn’t saying much because I consider myself a mere novice with the pen, but from a writing aspect I think this is my finest piece. But even if most serious writers consider Beau Meets World to be garbage, it sure means a lot to Sid and I. This trumps them all.

Beau was born at 1:37 p.m. on Wednesday, Feb. 5, 2020.


And there you have it. After 10 years, those are the posts that stick out. Let me again extend my heartfelt gratitude to all my readers who have read my work over the years. It has been a pleasure. Don’t Blink.

My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2020

During a year that saw the cancelation of so much, somehow Don’t Blink managed to stay afloat. That’s right, this 9-year-old blog continued to grind out posts over the past 12 months. Why Brent? Hasn’t this world suffered enough in 2020?

All joking aside, writing provided a release for me during a year that was ripe with COVID anxiety and an aggressively toxic political news cycle. Because I managed to feed my blogging appetite in 2020, it means that I am in position to present my seventh annual Big Blog Post. This is my favorite entry of the year when I look back at what I wrote over the past 52 weeks, tab my 10 favorite posts, and rank them.

In 2020 I published 172 posts, up from the 165 posts  I wrote in 2019 but a far cry from the 253 posts I wrote during my peak year of 2014. Considering we added a new baby to our family along with other major life events in 2020, I won’t get down on myself for this year’s blogging output. 

As I say every year, the list is mostly reflective of my personal opinion. However, audience feedback and blog post traffic are always considered when making my final decisions. Thanks for reading in 2020 and let’s get this countdown started…

10. Beau’s Newborn Photos (November 23) – Not promising anything, but Beau might be leading AND ending the countdown this year. Not too long after Beau arrived home from the NICU, my friend and former co-worker Judy Johns came over to take newborn photos. Judy is the director of photography at Coastal Carolina University and one of the best photographers you will ever meet. In this particular post I showcase some of my favorite images from her beautiful work.

Judy’s work is incredible and I enjoyed the opportunity to include some of my favorite images in this blog post.

9. The Joys of Working From Home (August 12) – I am always careful to paint the pandemic in any type of favorable light. However, if there was one result from COVID-19 that turned out pretty well for us it was the directive to work remotely. In this blog post I reflected on what a joy it has been to work upstairs while my wife and kids are safe/content downstairs. From enjoying the early mornings to eating daily lunch with my kids to simply walking down a flight of stairs when the work day is over, this post conveyed the joys of working under my own roof.

Working from home in 2020 has been nice.

8. March 2020: I Will Never Forget (March 31) – In March, the world changed. COVID-19 introduced itself on a mainstream level and life as we knew it took a hike. But our family didn’t need the added pandemic to make it a crazy month. We packed up our house, I moved across the country, Sloan celebrated her third birthday, and I started a new job. In this blog post I looked back at a month we will never forget, beginning with seemingly normal daddy-daughter dates and ending with a bizarre earthquake. March was CRAZY and I am glad I documented it.

Before I left for Washington, I had an early birthday celebration for Sloan.

7. The Weight Loss Challenge (November 23) – During the fall, Sid and I decided to go outside our comfort zones and participate in a weight loss challenge sponsored by our gym. For six weeks we went on diets and pushed ourselves…almost to the point of insanity. This blog post traces our weight loss journey and the measures we took to be successful. In the end, we both lost weight and I even won the competition. I also come to grips with my previous unhealthy methods of dieting.

The Weight Loss Challenge proved to be successful for both of us.

6. They’re Here! (May 12) – I am not going to lie, it was hard going eight weeks without my wife and kids. I literally counted down the days until their arrival. Thus, you can imagine how ecstatic I was the afternoon they landed on Spokane soil. In this blog post I wrote about feeling whole again while also recognizing the surreality of it all. I described that first special weekend together while also being frank about the sadness of saying goodbye to Sid’s parents. It is a blog post of many different emotions and new beginnings!

It was so great to get my best friend back!

5. Until Next Time, Myrtle Beach (March 18) – I moved to South Carolina solely for a job at CCU. However, during my time out east, I received so much more than a paycheck. It didn’t take long for me to fall in love with the Grand Strand community and by that time I had fallen in love with a girl too. In this blog post I paid homage to what made Myrtle Beach so special. From my new family to my church to my gym to Sloan’s daycare, I wrote about how appreciative I was for the people and places that made such a positive influence on me during my time as a transplant.

Was so fortunate to become part of this great family during my time in Myrtle Beach.

4. Feeling Symmetrical (November 10) – Last month, Beau shed the corrective helmet he wore pretty much all day for three straight months. When his headgear was removed, he had a completely symmetrical head, a complete transformation from its shape in July. In this blog post I was able to show before/after photos, explain the intricacies of helmet therapy, describe the thrill of watching Beau progress, and reveal how the outside world reacted to a baby boy who wore a hard hat. It is kind of weird, it seems like forever ago that Beau had to wear his helmet but I am thankful for this blog post because it won’t let us forget the interesting challenge of correcting his misshaped head.

This was Beau’s last day in his helmet.

3. My Top 10 Favorite Moments Working for Coastal Carolina University (February 19) – During my nearly six years at Coastal Carolina University, I had the opportunity to do some really cool things. After I announced my departure from CCU, I remembered some of my defining moments as a Chanticleer. This post pretty much summarizes what a fun, diverse, and busy tenure I had in #TEALnation. This post allowed me to reflect quite a bit and I was happy to include so many of my former co-workers in it. I would write one final CCU wrap-up post but this countdown piece is my favorite.

I had some really good times working at CCU.

2. Pumped to be a Coug (March 1) – With pride and relief, I announced my new job via my blog on March 1. After keeping tight-lipped about the opportunity, it felt great to finally reveal that I had accepted a position at Washington State University. In the post I was also able to explain what I would be doing and why Sid and I decided to take the offer (so glad we did). As I re-read the post, the excitement that I wrote with brings me back to that entire crazy post-Beau’s birth/pre-pandemic period when we were preparing to move across the country. This post rates high for both significance and vividness that it is my runner up in 2020.

We took this photo for the “Pumped to be a Coug” blog post.

1. Beau Meets World (February 17) – This isn’t just my top post of 2020—it might be my top post in the history of this blog. I tried to be raw and thorough as I chronicled the emotional 11-day journey from the moment Sidney’s doctor decided to operate to the Sunday afternoon that Beau was released from the NICU at McLeod Regional Medical Center in Florence, South Carolina.

The post is special to me because it displays Sid’s courage and Beau’s grit. It also conveys the important role that faith played throughout the saga. Tough setbacks are confronted and glorious triumphs are celebrated. It isn’t saying much because I consider myself a mere novice with the pen, but from a writing aspect I think this is one of my finer pieces. But even if most serious writers consider Beau Meets World to be garbage, it sure means a lot to Sid and I.

An 11-day journey of emotional twists and turns is chronicled in my top blog post of the year, “Beau Meets World.”


Thank you to all my readers for supporting Don’t Blink throughout 2020. I can’t promise how productive I will be with my blog in 2021 but I do plan to write at least some. Tomorrow I will close out the year with my annual wrap up post and then I will be looking entirely forward to January 1. Thanks again. Don’t Blink.

My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2019
My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2018
My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2017
My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2016
My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2015
My Top 10 Blog Posts of 2014

Exceeding all Expectations

When I worked in the athletic department at the University of Montana, our football team played a college I had never heard of called Coastal Carolina University during the 2013 FCS Playoffs. I thought they were a team like many of the others that would play the Griz in an early postseason game and then fade into obscurity.

In 2013, I worked a blistering cold game (as a UM employee) in which Coastal Carolina University upset the University of Montana in the FCS Playoffs. (photo courtesy of the Montana Kaimin)

As fate would have it, I started working for that college I had never heard of not too long after they eliminated the Grizzlies from the playoffs. As I started to watch the CCU football team make a name for itself on a normal grass field in the FCS, I didn’t really think they would compete beyond the level formerly known as Division I-AA.

When I arrived at CCU and worked the football games in 10,000-seat Brooks Stadium, I didn’t exactly think that the Coastal football team would one day join the FBS and host College Gameday.

Working the press conference in which CCU announced it would make the jump to the FBS, I thought it would take several seasons to become respectable in the Sun Belt Conference.

In 2015 when CCU announced it was moving to the FBS, I didn’t think a half decade later it would be hosting College Gameday.

While observing the Chanticleers struggle on the “Surf Turf” during their first couple seasons as full-fledged FBS members, I thought I might have finally made a correct prediction about CCU football.

Teal turf was installed and Brooks Stadium was expanded, all signs of a program on the rise. However, I thought that the “rise” might take several years. The Coastal football team struggled its first couple years in the FBS (photo courtesy of CCU).

Now back on the opposite side of the country, I watched as the CCU football team posted convincing victory after convincing victory on the ESPN networks. As Coastal’s undefeated record stayed intact as the weeks rolled by and the fanbase started to mention a certain college football pregame show on social media, I thought no way.

I have watched Coastal Carolina football from the opposite coast during the 2020 season.

Yesterday, this happened…

College Gameday is going to Coastal Carolina University.

Tonight I want to congratulate the Chanticleer football program for attracting the most prestigious sports pregame show to its campus while proving all the doubters (including myself) wrong. Most programs will never receive a visit from College Gameday—CCU is doing it in only its third season as a bowl eligible FBS school. Well done to the student-athletes and coaches…truly amazing work.

I also want to congratulate Coastal Carolina University in general. Unfortunately, the institution has experienced some tough times as of late but the success story of the football team is a boost that CCU needs and deserves. It couldn’t have happened at a better time. I know my former colleagues are loving this ride right now!

Enjoy this, CCU!

It will be exciting to see College Gameday set up shop on the campus I spent almost six years on. I look forward to the broadcast and to seeing social media posts from my CCU friends. Just like with its College World Series victory in 2016, I know #TEALnation will savor this moment in the national spotlight. Don’t Blink.

Farewell, CCU

Reality has finally sunk in. I have reached the end of my time at Coastal Carolina University, a place that has provided me with fulfilling work and lasting memories. It has been a nearly six-year journey, one that has encompassed the better half of my professional career. It is impossible to properly convey in a blog post all what CCU has meant to me, but at the very least I can use it to offer a few final thoughts before I close this chapter.

It has been an honor to wear this name tag.

I feel blessed that I worked at CCU during its glory years. When I started in May 2014, Coastal Carolina was an FCS-institution on a nice, quiet campus. By the time 2018 rolled around, enrollment had steadily increased, fundraising broke records, several state-of-the-art buildings had been erected, Ph.D. programs were being offered, a major NCAA championship had been won, and the athletic program had joined the BCS. These years of upgrades, milestones, and increased prestige served as a breeding ground for a social media program to explode.

I had the good fortune of being at the right place at the right time under a leadership team that made a dedicated commitment to social media. I had the freedom to think and act creatively with marketing and communication professionals who helped turn ideas into reality. From day one, it was an absolute blast.

I had the privilege to develop a Chanticleer social media voice, interview students, cover events, design campaigns, provide comfort in times of vulnerability, lecture in classes, chat with the media, jump head-first into paid digital advertising, and so much more. The backdrop for all this excitement was a special Feel the Teal culture that you just won’t find at other places.

Looking back at my time at CCU it all seems almost too good to be true. Not because the university is just minutes from the beach or because the school colors are some of the best in the nation, but because of something else. Something not so superficial.

I am talking about my University Marketing and Communication team.

My wish is to go out giving credit to the people who helped me on a daily basis; the people who literally optimized their talents to make our social media program better even when they had a thousand other things to do. If not for them, #CCUSocialMedia is not what it is today.

Let me start with Bill Plate (department vice president, now at Utah State), the man whose innovativeness and vision made me not think twice about moving across the country. Bill took marketing at CCU to new heights, placing a premium on social media. He taught me more than just marketing—he taught me that effective leadership is about humility, levelheadedness, and trust in the team. Thanks for hiring me, Bill.

Bill Plate with Martha Hunn at Bill’s going away lunch. Both these individuals are incredible leaders who earned the respect of the University Marketing and Communication team.

The first person I ever met at CCU was Martha Hunn (chief communication officer). She picked me up from the hotel for my on-campus interview in March 2014 and immediately I thought this person has it together. She taught me how to be poised and composed when the media came calling and always made sure I had everything I needed on the social media front when major university statements were released.

Another photo of the two leaders who shaped University Marketing and Communication…Bill Plate and Martha Hunn.

For the majority of my time at CCU, I had the good fortune of reporting directly to Lindsi Glass (associate vice president for marketing and branding, now at Utah State). You won’t find anyone more creative, smart, and FUN! Lindsi allowed me to flex my social media muscle while at the same time expanding my horizons in the marketing world beyond just social. She was a tremendous team player, someone who effortlessly connected with everyone in the department and threw the best Kentucky Derby parties ever. If not for Lindsi, I would not have had my career moment late last year when we presented in Las Vegas. Lindsi and I understood each other and shared character traits, making for a great working relationship and paving the way for a personal support system as well.

Lindsi and I could always relate with each other.

Perhaps one of the best developments during my time working in University Marketing and Communication was when Judy Johns was elevated to director of photography. This was a game changer for not only our social media program but for CCU as a whole. Not only did she modernize Coastal’s photography operation and build a team that clicks (no pun intended) on all cylinders, but, like Lindsi, she is the epitome of a team player.

Judy Johns (to my left) always went out of her way to help me.

Scott Dean and Tad Robinson, the other two professional photographers of the unit, would literally drop anything they were doing to help me, whether it be to take a photo or find one.

During my time as a Chanticleer, the emphasis in social media switched to video. David Russell, newly installed as the director of video production at the time, didn’t hesitate to throw the talents of his unit behind #CCUSocialMedia. If I asked David to assign one of his videographers to a social media project and no one was available, he would step in himself. On a personal note, David and his wife, Robin, went out of their way to provide support to Sid and I after Sloan was diagnosed with Pyloric Stenosis. I will never forget that.

Most of the time when David would assign a videographer to a social media project, he would turn to Geoff Insch. My best friend in the entire department, Geoff and I collaborated on numerous projects during my time at CCU. He knows how to create video for social media and is damn good at it. Geoff did everything I ever asked of him and we had a lot of fun together. I will miss his positive attitude and our shared love for all things nerdy.

Two nerds! Can’t say enough about Geoff Insch.

I would be remiss if I didn’t recognize Richard Green, our digital journalist. Richard is one of the hardest working people I have ever met and constantly provided high quality video content for use on our social channels. He was always a joy to coordinate with and a true example of a consummate professional.

The graphics team led by Rob Wyeth provided me with creative designs from the moment I stepped foot on campus. Whether it was a logo for an organic campaign, graphic for a major (sometimes minor) holiday, or something for a paid social media ad, “the guys”––Jonathan Ady, Regis Minerd, Ron Walker, Daniel “Scoops” Mableton––would always have my back. Special thanks to these gentlemen for welcoming me to their lunch table when I was brand new at CCU and for inviting me out for beer and movies.

This would be a great “Caption This” photo. That is Rob Wyeth on the right.

At the end of 2018, I had the opportunity to hire a social media specialist. Anthony Bowser joined our team and instantly improved #CCUSocialMedia with his creative ephemeral storytelling, witty Instagram captions, and Gen Z-first outlook. He has a bright future ahead of him!

Anthony Bowser has brought a spark to our social media program. Katie Ennis has been an incredible student intern for us since 2018.

AP Style was valued by #CCUSocialMedia and editors Caroline Rohr, Mel Smith, Mona Prufer, and JoAnne Dalton would always quickly turn around anything I gave them for proofing. They helped us look good in front of our audience!

Speaking of quick turnaround time, Brentley Broughton (web design manager) would promptly assist with any issue I was having while navigating the university’s content management system. He also taught me a thing or two on the golf course.

Thanks to Trenny Neff (trademark and licensing coordinator) for processing all our social media advertising bills, Jeanne Caldwell (graphics project manager) for assigning and delivering all my graphics requests, and Doug Bell (editor of Coastal Magazine) for believing in the social media guy to write the cover story for a major publication.

Special thanks to my student social media interns over the years: Jada Tomlinson, Lauren Eckersley, Eddie Harris, Monica Trepiccione, Temperance Russell, Brandon Brown, Michelle Rashid, and Katie Ennis. It has been a joy to watch many of these former students thrive in the professional world.

I worked with some very talented social media interns during my time at CCU. In this photo I am with Eddie and Monica.

Last but not least, I want to give an extra special thank you to Kimberly Harper, the administrative assistant of University Marketing and Communication. When I would introduce my student interns to her, I would simply describe her as the MVP of our department. She does everything for everybody in MarComm, doing far more than just serving the vice president. If there was a glue within University Marketing and Communication it would be Kim. I will miss her.


Of course everything would have been in vain without an audience that was passionate about Coastal Carolina University and hungry for social media content. To the thousands of #TEALnation supporters who gave me such satisfaction on a daily basis, THANK YOU.

Although I now look forward to my next adventure in higher education, I will never forget CCU. My experience as a Chanticleer made me a better professional and person. At this time, there is really only one final thing to say…


Don’t Blink.

Forever A Chanticleer

Graduating students at Coastal Carolina University are reminded of something at every commencement. At the end of the ceremony a representative from the Office of Alumni Relations will take the podium to encourage the new grads to keep in touch with the University. The last words of the address, regardless of who is delivering it, are always the same:

Remember, you will forever be a Chanticleer!

Although I did not graduate from CCU, I like to think that the sentiment can be applicable to departing staff members as well.

I recently concluded my time at Coastal Carolina University.

My time at Coastal Carolina University recently concluded. As of last Friday at 5 p.m., I am no longer an employee of #TEALnation. I have accepted a position at another university and will start next month. To all my colleagues who I did not get to say goodbye to, I apologize. I intended to let everyone know about my departure in person but the early delivery of our son and a stay in the NICU changed those plans. 

I have thoroughly enjoyed working at Coastal Carolina, something I hope to make clear with a couple blog posts over the next week. Without the opportunity I received almost six years ago to serve this special place, my life would be completely different and much less fulfilling. I owe the world to CCU.

Due to life events (you know, like having a baby?!) and thanks to the overwhelming patience and understanding of my new employer, I will be around the area for several more weeks. I am blessed to have the opportunity to be a stay-at-home dad for nearly a month. This transition period will allow me to spend precious days with Sloan and bond with Beau.

My wife is the best. Despite everything going on with our growing family, she has given me the blessing to pursue this opportunity. What more can I say?

CCU, it is time for me to properly thank you. I will do this by reflecting on the events and people that made my tenure so memorable. Stay tuned, there is more to come. Don’t Blink.

A Sizzling Darlington Press Conference

It was another day to file underneath the “my job is so cool” file. This morning I set off with some of my University Marketing and Communication team members to Darlington Raceway.

We were heading to the race track for a car unveil and I was brought along to cover the event on social media. If you read this blog often, you are familiar with Brandon Brown, a NASCAR driver we have sponsored since his time as a CCU student. Now an alumnus of our University, we have continued our partnership with Brandon as he races fulltime in the Xfinity Series. Anyway, Brandon was unveiling his paint scheme today for the Darlington Throwback Weekend that takes place at the end of the month.

Brandon and I a couple years ago.

The unveil was done in grand fashion. Coastal Carolina University, Darlington Raceway, and Brandonbilt Motorsports (Brandon’s racing team) staged a press conference right at turn #3 on the track famously nicknamed Too Tough to Tame. With Coastal Carolina University track signage serving as the backdrop to the covered car, anticipation was high for the big reveal.

When we arrived, Darlington Raceway already had everything set up for the press conference.

Oh, wait one second please, there was another important piece I should mention.

Brandon Brown wasn’t the only NASCAR driver participating in the press conference. Joining him was NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte. To be 100% honest, I was a little unfamiliar with the legendary status of Labonte but I was made aware of my ignorance when I told my father-in-law who I was going to meet today. He let me know that Terry is kind of a big deal in the world of racing. This guy won at Darlington twice and is a household name in NASCAR circles.

NASCAR Hall of Famer Terry Labonte (far right) also had a seat at the press conference.

But why was Labonte there? Well, for Throwback Weekend the active drivers turn back the clock and use a paint scheme from a driver of the past. This year Darlington is paying homage to the 1990-94 era and Brandon liked the idea of using a design that reflected the one used by the Hall of Famer. Terry Labonte was honored to let Brandon run (or race) with it.

Brandon and Terry at the press conference (photo courtesy of Lindsi Glass).

When Brandon, Terry, and Martha Hunn, our chief communication officer, pulled back the cover, a sharp-looking Kellogg’s Corn Flakes 1993 design graced Brandon’s ZL1 Camaro.

A look at Brandon with his Terry Labonte throwback car.

The No. 86 car looked great with the black, white, and bronze color scheme. On the hood, our Chanticleer athletics logo took the spot of the traditional Corn Flakes rooster. The reaction from the people in attendance and those on social media made it clear that the scheme was a hit. It was another great accomplishment by our CCU design team.

The NASCAR Xfinity Series Twitter account was pretty complimentary of our design.

After Brandon and Terry took time to scope out the car, they gave interviews to the media chomping at the bit to get reaction from both drivers.

I snapped this photo of Brandon and Terry.

Did I mention it was hot? Oh man it was a sizzling South Carolina August day. But the temperature doesn’t really matter when you are sweating it out with your fellow co-workers. Besides Martha, I was joined by these other talented individuals:
Lindsi Glass, assistant vice president for marketing and branding, set the press conference up and handled all of the logistics.
Geoff Insch, one of our production assistants, took footage and will be releasing one of his trademark quality videos tomorrow.
Scott Dean, assistant photographer, braved the heat and captured some spectacular images.
Daniel “Scoops” Mableton, graphic designer, could be considered the star of the show because he designed the scheme.

It was another one of those days where we felt like we were truly succeeding at promoting the University’s brand. We enjoyed lunch together at a local Darlington café before returning to campus to continue to market the  institution we work for. Best of luck to Brandon on Aug. 31! Don’t Blink.