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I can’t believe I’m holding their title. It’s a dream come true thanks to the work of lots of people who put the time and effort into making sure I was ready for this. If I can continue to find success and be happy in the industry, then I believe I am exactly where I need to be.
Assistant Director of Athletics Communications
Oklahoma State University
That’s usually the first question I get when someone finds out what I do – so I’ll give the usual answer.
There is no typical day in my job. Sounds great, right? Each day brings a new task, a new assignment and new opportunity.
Sure, some things will never change. There will always be press releases to write, roster maintenance and bios to write, stats to keep and archive, photos to log, interviews to help set up, etc.
But in general, no two game days look exactly the same just as no “normal” Monday looks like the next one. There are new social media strategies to take on, new ideas to formulate, and new feature story ideas to tackle.
With all the news, the constants of the job look as such:
And that’s the beauty of the job. We’re writers, sometimes creatives. We’re historians who live in the new age. We’re scorers, but we’re also a sounding board for our student-athletes and coaches.
I always knew I’d work in sports. I grew up playing a little bit of everything but knew by about middle school I wasn’t going to be good enough to make a living on the field or court.
By high school, I had a choice to make. I grew up in an Oklahoma family – so everyone assumed that was the easy choice (so did I, truthfully).
But there was the other school, Oklahoma State. They had this sports media program I kept hearing about, and I had to see it for myself. I knew about 5 minutes into my tour I was going to be a Cowboy. And from there my path was set.
I wanted to be a journalist. Just like every kid who grew up around sports, I wanted to work for ESPN. It was the dream.
It wasn’t until sophomore year of college that things would change when my future boss, Gavin Lang, came and talked to one of my sports media classes. He wanted to talk athletics communications.
It was the first time I had even heard of an SID. I thought it sounded really cool, but I wasn’t sure I was cut out for it.
I was a shy, not overly confident student who sat in the back and went about his day trying to not be noticed. But sure enough, after class that day my professor emailed me and let me know he thought I should apply.
A day later I did, and two weeks later I was hired to start the fall of my junior year. The rest, as they say, is history.
The thrill of the job.
I love being part of a team and getting to showcase all the great things about my alma mater and a program (men’s basketball) that means the world to me.
There’s no greater joy in life than the opportunity to help others shine and tell their story.
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This is a tough question. I’ve had some wonderful mentors over my time, and I give any success I’ve had to them.
Stephen Howard took a chance on a first-year student my junior year of college and let me help him with men’s basketball.
Gavin Lang, my boss as a student and today, took a chance on me that year as well and gave me my first shot at being the lead on a sport with softball.
Chris Deal spent the next two years helping me survive those first couple seasons on softball – even while balancing his duties as football’s director of creative services.
Nobody has played a bigger role in my career, though, than Matt Freed.
Matt was my oversight and mentor during my time at South Carolina. It was my first job out of school, and I thought I knew everything. Shoot, I had just done softball for two years at a Big 12 school and survived!
I very quickly learned I didn’t know everything and had tons to learn.
Matt was patient the whole time and made me a far better SID than the one he got when Carolina hired me.
He trusted me every step of the way, even when it probably would have been easier at times to step in. He let me learn, he helped me learn and he shaped a lot of what I do today. But more importantly, he made me a better person.
Now that I find myself in a leadership role like his, I’ve tried to model my oversite style after his so I will end it here because I could speak for days on all the things he’s done for me.
If we had more SIDs like Matt, the industry would be a far better place.
Truthfully, I’m not sure.
I never imagined at 27 I’d be the men’s basketball SID at my alma mater. The same office held by some of the best SIDs our industry has ever known (Mike Noteware, Stephen Howard, Will Hancock – just to name a few)?
I can’t believe I’m holding their title. It’s a dream come true thanks to the work of lots of people who put the time and effort into making sure I was ready for this.
If I can continue to find success and be happy in the industry, then I believe I am exactly where I need to be.
Patrick Osborne has come full circle in becoming the Assistant Director of Athletics Communications of Oklahoma State University, where he went to university. Patrick gives a backstory on what landed him in the communications and public relations side of the industry, first starting out as a student intern at OSU. Upon graduation, he became the Assistant Director Athletics Communications and Public Relations at the University of South Carolina, where he met one of his greatest mentors, Matt Freed. Patrick revealed that "nobody has played a bigger role" in his career thus far than Matt. Now back in his alma mater serving the same position that his previous role models once held, Patrick is able to reflect on just how far he has come and on the people who helped him get to where he is today.
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