STUDENT VIEW: My Experience Working SEC and ACC Media Days

Written by Darrell Sawyer

I first would like to thank ESPN and The Winning Edge for this incredible opportunity for me and my colleagues. My experience working the SEC and ACC basketball media days were great and I learned a lot. This opportunity actually opened my eyes.  It gave me the confidence to explore and not limit myself to just college athletics. My duties for the media days included being a team host and assisting with the shuttle service. The SEC media days took place on Wednesday, October 21 and Thursday, October 22.  The last event, ACC men's basketball media day took place on Wednesday, October 28.

The SEC men’s media day was first and for that I was a shuttle person. The shuttle team was in charge of making sure that all coaches and players got to their destination on time. Each shuttle person had a van with a driver. Although many would say this was a boring job I took this opportunity to interact with the players and coaches but most importantly the sport information director. One day I want to be a SID and ultimately a college athletic director so my interaction with the SIDs were  a bit more meaningful. I asked questions such as, "How many people do you have on your staff?" and "What sports do you personally cover?" Surprisingly many SID’s did not cover both football and basketball.  I also learned that with the amount of sports needing coverage many schools allow their assistants or interns to gain experience with smaller market sports like golf, soccer, and tennis.

The SEC women’s media day was next. For this day I was a team host and my team were the Bulldogs of Mississippi State University which also happens to be my favorite team in the SEC. My coach was Coach Vic Schaefer and the players were Victoria Vivians and Morgan William. This day consisted of making sure the players and coach made it to each destination on time (make up, social media, press interviews, etc.) and of course making sure they got something to eat. My interaction with the coach and players for a whole day was great. The coach and players were so friendly and laid back. I was actually surprised because all the coaches were talking to each other as well as the players from the different teams. You really wouldn’t think these teams would be playing against each other in a few weeks. One thing I learned from the Mississippi State SID, Brock Turnipseed, is in this business, “You would rather have more friends than enemies because you never know when you might need them for something.” He was speaking on being friendly with other SID’s because he said they exchange information all the time.

The ACC men’s media day was my last event and for this I was a shuttle person. This was very much of the same thing as the first time. Since we had the same shuttle team everyone knew their job and did it very well. This gave me more time to walk around and observe my surroundings.

The experience I had was remarkable and everyone at ESPN made me feel at home. Once again, thank you ESPN and The Winning Edge for this opportunity.

Darrel Sawyer