Thoughts from an “In Transition” Sports Information Director

This post is part of the #YPSportsChat Blog Series! This series will give young professionals an inside look at the intricacies of the sports business world and advice on how to navigate it.

By: Don Vieth, @dwvieth

Cameron University (soon to be Northeastern State University on Oct. 6)

The transition between positions and locations is something that nearly every one of us in the sports profession has done or will do at some point in their career. Presently, as I am writing this week’s contribution to the #YPSportsChat series, I am one of those, “Sports Professionals” transitioning from one department to another. After over four years serving as a NCAA Division II Sports Information Director at Cameron University in Lawton, Okla., I am making a trek four hours to Northeastern State (NCAA Division II) in Tahlequah, Okla. to serve as Director of Athletic Communications.

A challenge in leaving mid-semester is simply leaving mid-semester. There really is no ideal time to leave a spot especially if you are working as a one person shop which is the case for many of us SIDs at this level. Personally speaking, I’m transitioning from a non-football or soccer program, to the complete opposite. The idea of working with new sports is exciting and there is no question that getting trusted into a program mid-season will be a challenge.  However, I’m going to come in prepared and ready to go on day one. 

In the meantime, I think where many people go wrong in transitioning is how they leave their past employer. Some give up and don’t care as much in those final days and those will be the final impressions left at that program. My advice is to keep the gas pedal down and give everything you can give up until the last day; don’t use it as an excuse to say it doesn’t matter anymore.

Keeping the theme of transitioning in this blog post is that this is a profession where people do move-on and people have different reasons for making a “change.” There is no one reason across the board on why people leave; easy ones could include a bigger opportunity, money, new challenges, life changes, ect. There is no one thing I could put a finger on and say “yeah, that’s the reason.” But for those looking or planning to make a change in the future here are some thoughts to consider:

- Why do you want to leave?

o Consider this: How long have you been in your current position and what your overall career goals are.  

- Is the grass greener on the other side?

o Look at a potential school enrollment numbers and leadership. A decline or rise in enrollment can have an effect on your job. Additionally, if the campus has new or same leadership, their views on athletics can differ.

- How do the next five years sound?

o Vision is a must in this industry and having a plan on who we are and where we are doing as a department is vital.

- Is there a life/work balance?

o There is no quicker way to drain the batteries on a professional if they are working 24/7/365.  To stay sharp, you need to have time to unplug.

- Location?

o What surroundings are you comfortable around and this can include being a particular region or climate. 

These five reasons are not the silver bullets to ask when you are looking to make a change but simply food for thought. However, in general you do need a clear vision on what your plan is in this industry.   

In concluding this #YPSportsChat blog post and I just would like to remind everyone to be grateful if you are one of those transitioning in the sports industry. You are getting to continue doing something that is fun and exciting. Personally, I am grateful for the people I have met and worked with Cameron University and the Lone Star Conference. Additionally, I can’t wait to getting going at Northeastern State.

To those young and older, just a friendly PSA that this is an industry of connections and take advantage of #YPSportsChat and or other online chats to connect with others. 

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