By Andy Solomon
As many Citadel followers are aware, I went part-time in the Department of Athletics several years ago to pursue my teaching career in our HESS (Health, Exercise and Sport Science) Department in Deas Hall. I call myself a “visiting professor” since I visit daily from across the street.
It took me nearly 30 years to realize that road games could be played without me, and I’m learning that home games can go on without me.
Truth is, I love teaching and simply adore my students. I’ve found teaching to be a most rewarding profession and wish I had started it earlier. I have joined the many educators who have stated that they’d teach for free but get paid to grade papers.
I admit to bringing a unique style to the classroom as we have loads of fun, yet they learn – and retain – more than they ever anticipated.
Despite my continuous 39 years in intercollegiate athletics, I am quick to admit that I don’t know it all. Therefore, I rely on a textbook in one class but not in the other.
For that course that no textbook are used, I teach from personal experiences yet am smart enough to exploit the skills of my colleagues and friends and invite them to visit my class. These gues speakers complement what I throw at the sponges we call “students.”
On Wednesday, March 12, I invited Associate Athletics Media Relations Director Jon Cole to visit my class in which the topic for the day was “Athletics Websites.”
Jon, who has been here for five years and covers basketball, volleyball and golf, is a young veteran who blends old school sports information with the new-school social media.
The question that I posed to the class was this – What does one want from an athletics website?
Of course, there are the basics that everyone wants – an easy-to-navigate site that is truly informative and attractive, updated, colorful, accessible, interactive and did I mention easy-to-navigate?
Before Jon began, I implored how important “e-commerce” is to a site, meaning the ability to purchase game and event tickets along with merchandise and even donate. We all agreed that it was indeed fair to judge a college or even an athletics department by its website.
With Jon pointing out things left and right, I switched from CitadelSports.com to ClemsonTigers.com and even to GamecocksOnline.com for comparison sake. I asked the class what those two sites had that ours didn’t.
Before I would acknowledge a student answering, I said “hold up for a moment” and switched to the Dallas Cowboys’ site and later the Washington Redskins’. I posed the question once again – What do those sites have that ours didn’t?
“The bigger (teams’) sites had about the same as ours did,” one student observed.
That’s when it hit me. Our site is pretty darn good.
Led by Athletics Media Relations Director Mike Hoffman and his able staff that includes Cole, Brian Gargone and Cathryn Hardy, the responsibility of our website is in their hands. There is also critical input from our marketing and ticket offices, among others. The operation of our website is a team effort.
But the bottom line is that our website is pretty darn good. It is updated constantly and our interactive aspect is very good. The “e-commerce” portion is
Is it perfect? No, but very few are. But clearly it is pretty darn good and here’s an “atta-boy” for our media relations staff that controls it.