I’m not sure how to say goodbye.
Let me start at the beginning. I was living in London when a friend pinged me about a job opportunity at Marist College. I loved teaching, I knew the sports media industry inside and out. I wanted a new challenge.
Walking onto campus on a cold January day, the Hudson frozen as I walked to get my Marist ID and my family finishing up the school year in London, I was wrestling with a monster of second-guessing.
Turns out, I didn’t need to. Coming to Marist was the best decision.
A few memories: Taking Will Bjarnar, Lily Caffrey-Levine, Jess King, and David Connolly to the University of South Carolina for a research conference and having them RELENTLESSLY prank call my room. Planning the Bob Costas gala, canceling the Bob Costas gala due to COVID, and then… planning the Bob Costas gala again! Hosting Michael Smith’s class as he called in from the NBA All-Star game to talk to his class about, among other things, being a hard-working journalist on the literal move. Getting to know my excellent colleagues at Café Azteca for Taco Tuesday, and then when the next semester came and everyone had class, moving it to Thaco Thursdays.
I could name 100 other moments just like that, hilarious or poignant, despite the disruption Covid made in our ability to be together. Just sitting here in my office as this position comes to a close, the faces of the hundreds of students who have sat across from my desk are coming back to me. I’ve enjoyed getting to know you all. I hope I’ve helped you find direction in some small way.
We’ve talked about jobs, stories, and how to ask a good question. We’ve lamented the ridiculous digital interviews for internships, where you talk at the screen for two minutes to answer a prompt. I’ve edited your stories, brainstormed for honors projects, and prepped you for job interviews.
You’ve reminded me of how it felt to be at the beginning of something, Of how much it means to want to be part of sports and journalism.
So back to goodbye. I’m going to be taking a role at Seton Hall as the Executive Director of their new Center for Sports Media. I wouldn’t be prepared for this if not for Marist and for all the conversations we’ve had over the last four years.
Still, I wasn’t sure how I was going to tell you all. Making sure that the April 29 gala moved forward smoothly and successfully was a huge focus for me. Marist invested in me, and I wanted to see this project through. The goodwill and funding this event generated will benefit each of you, and the Center. A big announcement from me before that celebration seemed like a distraction.
It didn’t leave me a lot of time. Mackenzie Meaney and Bridget Reilly suggested I write this, and it seemed like a solid solution.
One thing I’ve learned is that it doesn’t matter what your title is or who pays your checks, your relationships stay with you. We are part of each other’s networks and personal stories. That doesn’t go anywhere.
So in closing, I want to say thank you for one of the best learning experiences I’ve ever had. Thanks to my students for sharing so much about your lives in Sports, Culture, and Communication, to colleagues who endeavor to make Marist one of the most student-centered colleges, and to everyone who reached out to get advice or to offer it.
And remember, you want to do well in class, but if you want to work in sports, no one will ask you about your GPA. It’s what you did outside of class, how you hustled to learn more by writing for Center Field or MCTV, internships and reps, reps, reps.
Be relentless, and keep in touch.
Feature photo credit: Bill Meaney