A window inside life at Augustana College

An interview with Dave Hilbert of the University of St. Francis

The third interview that I conducted for my internship at Augustana was with Dave Hilbert of the University of St. Francis located in Joliet, Illinois. With USF being an NAIA competitor, Mr. Hilbert offered a different perspective of sports information, especially considering his background at each different level during his career.


Dave Hilbert – University of St. Francis (Joliet) – NAIA


Q: How did you get into sports information?

“I went to Michigan Tech. I was starting my senior year and we needed to do some sort of an internship to complete my degree. Since it was a pretty small town most of the internships were done through the campus departments. I had no idea what to do so I went to my advisor and he said that they had just hired a new sports information director and he had passed along that he was looking for someone to work with him. As a freshman I had worked doing statistics in the SID office so I went over there and started working for him. He was almost brand new and he needed someone to come over there who was able to do some real work right away so he turned over a lot of assignments to me. I did a lot of feature writing and game summaries and by halfway through that internship I decided that I want to do this for a living.”


Q: What did you do after your undergrad?

“I went to graduate school at Saint Thomas University in Miami. It was a pretty small school but they had a sports administration program and there wasn’t a whole lot of those programs around. One of the best parts of that program there was just being in Miami there was so much around and so many opportunities to work. I was lucky enough to get an internship at Florida Atlantic University. They hired a new SID whose main job was marketing and sales so they wanted someone to come in to do day-to-day SID work. At the end of that internship the guy that was the SID left so I ended up being the replacement.”


Q: In your office at St. Francis, do you employ a lot of student workers?

“Yeah, we have really just two that work primarily in statistics and game management.”


Q: How many hours do the student workers average each week?

“On average, probably 8-10. Then again some weeks we don’t have games and some weeks we have 5 so on average probably somewhere in that range.”


Q: How many hours would you say that you work a week?

“Somewhere in the 60-70 range. During the summer it’s more like 40 but you make up for it. I think that’s pretty comparable for just about anybody in this business.”


Q: What do you like most about sports information and doing what you do?

“There are a couple of things. One, from a professional standpoint, you almost never have two days that are the same. And definitely no two years are the same. With the changing in technology from one year to the next you never know. Neither of us know what new technology is out there that we are going to have to learn, which in a way is a challenge but it is also a lot of fun. It makes the job a lot more interesting. And more from a personal standpoint, it is fun to be on a college campus everyday. It helps to keep you young. It’s fun to be in the campus setting and get to know and be around the kids.”

An interview with Jim McGrath of Butler

The second interview I conducted was with Jim McGrath of Butler University, formerly our own Augustana College. Mr. McGrath offered a unique perspective having started at Augustana, a Division III institution, and then moving to Butler, a Division I school.


Jim McGrath – Butler University – Division I


Q: How did you get into sports information?

“It was really kind of a round about way. I was actually planning on going onto law school when I was at Augustana. I worked in the sports information office during my last two years as a student and Augie didn’t have a full-time SID at the time, so as students we really did the sports information work. During my senior year I unfortunately got a low draft number and was drafted which meant any career plans I had hoped for, I had to put on hold. Fortunate for me, during the summer right after I got my draft notice and went through my physical and got my orders to report President Nixon halted the call-up and I was put into a holding group and if things would have escalated I would have been in the first group called but I was kind of back on a career track. I hadn’t made any plans to go to law school so I was trying to refigure what I was going to do.  Just about that time the Augustana athletic director called me and said they wanted to make a full-time sports information position and would I be interested. And so I became Augie’s first full-time SID and I did that for 10 years before I turned the reins over to Dave Wrath and came to Butler University.”


Q: What do you see as the biggest differences between Augustana and Butler?

“That would be the level on competition and the notoriety and recognition that goes along with it. Certainly the athletes at Augie worked every bit as hard and had every bit as much success and were terrific people to be around. But being in Division III that Augie was when I left, they were NAIA when I started there, there just isn’t as much national media demand. When I came to Butler, moving up to Division I and then as we progressed from the Horizon League to the Atlantic 10 and now to the Big East the amount of media attention just grew exponentially. “


Q: In your office do you employ many student workers?

“We do, we actually use student interns that we get from our journalism school and college of business. They’ll work a semester as an intern. This past year we had four working for us. Some of them have gone on to work into sports information which has been nice. And in fact, some of them I have even hired as assistants here. “


Q: How many hours do the student interns work each week?

“We ask that they can commit 10 hours a week. It usually ends up being twice that much with the covering of events. They’ll be in the office maybe 10 hours a week and then they’ll put in another 10 hours working various athletic events that we host.”


Q: How many hours do you put in on average per week?

“Probably close to 70. “


Q: What do you like most about sports information?

“I like the variety of the job. How it changes day to day. One of the things I’ve told people is that you can come into the office with a to-do list of things that you plan on getting done on that particular day and one phone call can change all of that. You’ve got to be prepared to change on the fly and turn your attention to another task and still be able to get that first one done. I think the constant activity and variety day to day keeps you young and motivated.”


This interview was part of the academic portion of my internship in the Augustana sports information office. A third interview will soon follow.

An interview with Dave Blanchard of Luther College

I had the chance to talk to the sports information director, Dave Blanchard, of Luther College. It was a great chance to see how the Augustana office compares to another Division III institution.


Dave Blanchard – Luther – Division III


Q: Why did you want to be an SID and how did you get into it?

“That was strictly accidental. I started coaching men’s basketball at Bethel University (Minn.) where I graduated from college. As I got into the coaching more and as Division III schools do they started piece-mealing things together to get on at a decent full-time so first I was an equipment room manager then head golf coach, then they tossed the sports information thing at me because no one else really wanted to do it. So I just ended up learning it from the ground up.”


Q: Do you have any regrets?

“No, it’s been a good way to make a living. You get to watch athletics. Things have really changed…10 years ago before the internet and websites broke loose the time commitment was drastically different than it is today in the instantaneous world that we live in. To be honest with you, if it would have been like it is today, it would have been harder to sell your soul, especially when you are raising a family. It was a lot easier raising a family in this position than it was coaching because you were always on the road. That’s one thing that I do not regret because I was able to be home and help with the family and get to my kids’ events.”


Q: How many hours would you say that you put in a week?

“It depends on the time of year. In the fall it is a heavy load in the one man shop, plus the transition into winter. On an average I’m guessing that I have to be working somewhere between 60-80 hours a week. It’s seven days a week right now, it never used to be that way but it is now.”


Q: Do you use student workers quite a bit?

“Yes. The school does an excellent job with providing student work opportunities and I use quite a few student workers. That staff has grown drastically, especially now with the video streaming that takes place in our world. So right now I have a student work staff of around 14.”


Q: Do any of your students work office hours with you?

“Yes. There are two things that go on. First, I hire a few athletes that help during their off-season. I do usually have two or three (workers) that keep regular office hours. The most they can work is 10 hours a week and most of our kids are at 6-8 hours. They’ll do stuff like get programs ready and writing releases along with sizing photos for websites. Some of them that want to get into this kind of business, I turn loose and let them go and they are doing things like updating the website, working on bios, and writing game recaps, we use it as a learning experience. “


Q: Do any of your students that work the 6-8 hours a week usually help at events?

“Usually not. I have a group set up to help at events. I have three or four kids trained and I try to do it from when they’re freshman on so I have them for a few years.  If we get in a pinch sometimes the people that work in the office will help at events, but not usually.“


Q: Do you think that you’ve kept up with social media?

“For the most part. We’ve kept up with Facebook and twitter. Those are probably the two that we use the most along with our website. We’ve tried some instagram as well.”


This interview was part of the academic portion of my internship in the Augustana sports information office. A couple more will follow.

Once EDUC340, Always EDUC340

This was a line in my EDUC340 professor’s final “Random Memorandum” for the term. Deborah Bracke teaches EDUC340: Methods of Inclusion, a class required by all Education majors, and the Random Memorandum is her weekly email containing any stray thoughts about our week’s progress.

As we come to the end of the term (and the year!), I’ve done some serious reflecting on my career as a teacher candidate as well as the amount of growing I’ve done in just the past year.

At the beginning of the year, I was a scared little baby walking into my first day of EDUC300. I had been told that EDUC300 was the “weed out” class of the Education major, and that was proven to me as I progressed through the course material. Randy truly challenged all of us to step outside of our box of assumptions and discover what it really means to be a teacher.

EDUC330 came next, where I learned about the power of assessment. Assessment is far more than just multiple-choice questions, short answer items, and a book report here and there. Assessment is a constant process that teachers go through every day, and I’ve learned how to craft meaningful assessments for many different kinds of students. Dr. Scarlett’s first term at Augustana proved to be a great success, and I’m so thankful to have had him for a professor.

Now, I’m approaching the end of my sophomore year and the end of EDUC340. Dr. Bracke (or Deb, as I call her) was my first year advisor. The first time I actually met with her was when my mom and I were exchanging tearful hugs at the opening convocation during Fall Connection! Little did I know, I would come to the end of this year having developed a fantastic relationship with Deb. She has helped me through my first clinical experience, deciphering IEPs, and even submit my first paper to a national education conference. I never thought in my wildest dreams that I would have the guts to submit a paper to a national conference full of veteran teachers, but she helped me find the courage to do so. Now we’re crossing our fingers, waiting until September to find out if we get to travel to San Diego for the 2015 annual conference of the Council for Exceptional Children!

The amount of growing that I’ve done in the past year is just astounding to me. I came to Augustana to become a teacher, knowing how spectacular the Education department was. However, I didn’t know just how brilliant every member of the department truly was. So many of them have helped me in just these two first years, and I can’t wait to see what the second half of my undergrad career has in store for me.

Interviews with SIDs

As part of my internship in the sports information office at Augustana this term there has been an academic component that I manage to find time to complete occasionally. One of my assignments was to conduct brief 5-10 minute long phone interviews with three sports information directors that I have never interacted with before.


The three victims of my interviews were Dave Blanchard from Luther, Jim McGrath of Butler (formerly Augustana), and Dave Hilbert from the University of St. Francis in Joliet, Illinois.


Luther is a Division III school while Butler is Division I and St. Francis is an NAIA institution. Having the opportunity to speak with individuals from three different levels of competition was really interesting. It was cool to learn how different schools, at different levels, operate so similarly.


In the next couple of days I will get the questions and answers up from those interviews in my blog.

My Augustana internship experience hosting an NCAA women’s lacrosse game

For most people week nine consists of countless tests, quizzes, exams, and presentations. However, my final week nine has been a little different. On top of presenting my senior inquiry research in aquatic biology from this past fall, I have also been planning and preparing for an NCAA second-round women’s lacrosse game along with a speech and my internship assignments.


My experience planning the lacrosse game that takes place on Saturday has been such an awesome opportunity. I have taken part in conference calls along with meetings that give me a first-hand taste of the business. Being a part of everything that goes on behind the scenes of an NCAA event has caused to me gain a great deal of appreciation for the people that make these events run smoothly.


During the week, I have been busy assigning workers and making sure that they have picked up their game management passes for the contest. I also created a statsheet insert for the programs provided by the NCAA.


It hasn’t taken long for me to realize that planning an event of this caliber requires a lot of small tasks not just a few big things.


At this point, I would have to say that my favorite part of this experience is how much I have gotten to interact with coaches and officials of the event and being consulted about things regarding the event.

Your latest women’s lacrosse news is here!

In the last week I have had the opportunity to write seven stories reporting on Augustana’s women’s lacrosse team. The team has had a monstrous week. Starting on Monday, April 28th, the team returned to the NCAA National Rankings at 26th place.  Tuesday evening Tisdale’s unit wrapped up an undefeated regular season with a stomping over MWLC opponent, Fontbonne. With the victory the Vikings climbed to 16-0 and earned the MWLC regular season championship and hosting rights for the league tournament. Come Wednesday, the blue and gold had nine players named as all-conference athletics along with head coach Sara Tisdale earning the league “Coach of the Year” honors.


The Vikings took it easy on Thursday but on Friday beat North Central 16-9 in the MWLC tournament semi-finals to earn a spot in the championship game. On Saturday, the women’s lacrosse team decided its own fate by earning the MWLC’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament with a 17-11 win over Carthage. That victory marked Augustana’s 18th consecutive win of the year and 17th straight at Thorson-Lucken Field. The women’s lacrosse program is 26-1 all-time on home turf. Sunday evening the Vikings’  eventful week continued when they learned that they would be hosting an opening-round NCAA game against Adrian. The game will be on Saturday, May 10th at 12:00 noon. Adrian is the team that handed the Augustana program its only ever home loss. Earlier during the season Tisdale’s team travelled to Adrian, Michigan and defeated the Bulldogs 21-10.


The Vikings are now just one of two unbeaten programs left in Division III. When the national rankings were announced on Monday, May 5th, the Vikings were left sitting on the sidelines.

With my internship, I am the primary contact for our women’s lacrosse team. I anticipate that this week will be extremely busy but very exciting at the same time. During the week I will be handling all media requests as well. I am really looking forward to this experience and believe that it will be a great learning opportunity.

Your Augustana Athletics update

To follow-up my last blog post, I wanted to catch everyone up on how the Vikings faired on Saturday. Baseball was able to sweep the series with Millikin and claim the program’s first regular season championship since 1974….which is 40 years for anyone that doesn’t math well. The Vikings earned hosting rights for the CCIW tournament and will also be hosting a regional regardless of if they get a bid.


Women’s lacrosse pulled off the victory over Carthage by a 17-11 score despite being doing 3-0 and 4-1 midway through the first half. With the win, Augustana will earned the MWLC’s automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. The Vikings found out Sunday night that they will be hosting an opening-round NCAA game against Adrian at Thorson-Lucken Field on Saturday, May 10th.


Men’s tennis finished 3rd in the CCIW while the women took second place.  In Naperville the women’s track team brought home a 3rd place finish while the men tied for second place.


Softball ended up losing the second of the three games that they needed to win to come away with the CCIW automatic bid. However this morning (Monday) the NCAA Selection Show was good to them and Kistler’s unit came away with an at-large bid, as did North Central to join the tournament winner, Illinois Wesleyan.

It’s a big day for Augustana athletics

Typically my blogs revolve around just lacrosse, my internship(s), or sports information in general. Today I am broadening my horizons (just a little) to inform you of how big today will hopefully be for the Augustana sports nation.


We’ll begin with baseball. With victories in both of today’s contests the Vikings will claim the CCIW regular season championship. Currently Wallace’s crew is 25-10 overall and 13-6 in the league. With two wins the Vikings will also win hosting rights for the conference tournament next weekend. Augustana is also hosting an NCAA regional.


On to softball. Kris Kistler’s unit entered today (Saturday, May 3rd) needing three straight wins to claim the CCIW tournament championship. The Vikings won their first contest at the time of this post so they need just two more for an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament. Augustana is 33-10 overall and 10-4 in the CCIW.


Women’s lacrosse is on a hot-streak winning its first 17 games of the year. With a win tonight Augustana has a lot to gain. First off, a win would earn Sara Tisdale’s squad an automatic bid into the NCAA tournament for the second season in a row not to mention an MWLC tournament championship for the second straight year. With a victory the Vikings would also have never lost in the league during two seasons as a member with a mark of 22-0 including four tournament wins.


Over to tennis, both men’s and women’s tennis are in action today. A win for the women’s team at 2:00 p.m. would earn the Vikings a bid into the NCAA tournament. On the men’s side a victory would give Augustana a 3rd place finish in the CCIW tournament.


In track both teams are in competition at the conference meet at North Central College in Naperville, Ill. A victory on either side would earn the group bragging rights within the conference.


Needless to say, it is a busy day in the sports information office of Augustana College but there is potential for today to be a great day.

Another Belated Happy National Poetry Month

April was national poetry month.   Here’s a poem by the dynamically talented Jeffrey Mcdaniel.

Feel free to send your daughters to Augustana.

Alibi School

My pal, Jake, majored in corruption.
His final exam: a girl from the Midwest,

three weeks to dismantle eighteen years
of good parenting. High results came early

in the easy days, with the principal taking
his puff from the honor role in the bathroom.

In gym we learned how to turn our backs
on the world at once; the team

elected me captain of varsity nosebleeds.
At the prom, we parked our limousine

before doing the mandatory wind sprints;
my date’s eyes were big, hazel dictionaries.

At our homecoming Jake injected the clouds
with a hero’s last breath; rain on the victory parade

was greeted with cheers. The years rushed by
with their tongues hanging out. We packed

our cages and invented course work overseas.
In Guatemala, we copied back pain

for a hundred milligrams of extra credit
and proudly parachuted into sleep. In Prague

we emptied our text books and guzzled
chapters of Bohemian history. The class

kept shrinking until it was just me, passing
all the social tests. I returned to America

fluent in disaster; all the smiles I looked at
collapsed. I walked my pneumonia

up Avenue A, where inconspicuous teachers
assigned telepathic equations. My pupils

leapt from dilated chalkboards; a hundred
consecutive nights of slow, dirty arithmetic

curdled inside of me. Graduation
is an impossibility. Ditto expulsión.

I am permanently unrolled in the rambling
Lectures of insomnia. Wake in the lab

with my back against the wall. Turn: the wall
turns on me. I am the mutual friend

of enemy foxholes. It’s like bowling
for hostages: exactly beyond my periphery.

Jeffrey McDaniel

Also, enjoy some poetry written and performed by Augustana Students.