A lot of factors and individuals in supporting roles play a part in the success of collegiate athletic programs. One key ingredient that should not be overlooked is the role of the individuals within athletic departments and conferences who are actively involved in media relations and communication. Their role and responsibilites and the significance of it have evolved as the manner in which information is consumed has changed with the development and accessibility of information through the internet. This seems like a good time to identify a few of the many dedicated and professional individuals who serve in this role in college soccer as a means to salute and acknowledge the value of all of those who serve in similar positions coast to coast.
Barbara Barnes – Georgetown University – Assistant Athletic Director of Communications. Barnes came to the Hilltop in 2008 and has served in her current role since 2017. As the primary media contact for the men's soccer program she annually does an excellent job of providing a lot of interesting and timely information regarding the accomplishments of the program and the Hoyas players.
Bobby Parker – Bradley University – Associate AD for Communications and Event and Facility Operations – Parker has been a member of the Department of Athletics at Bradley for twenty-two years and is in his fifteenth year as an Associate Athletic Director. He joined the staff at Bradley in 1999 as the Sports Information Director. As the primary contact for the men's soccer program, Parker provides a wealth of information regarding the men's soccer team.
Jodi Pontbriand – Rhode Island – Assistant AD, Media Relations – Pontbriand joined the athletic staff at Rhode Island in 2006 and was promoted to Assistant Athletic Director in 2019. As the contact for the men's soccer program, she does a really good job of communicating current data and information regarding the team and promoting the performance of the Ram players.
Sean Palchick – University of Akron – Assistant Director for Athletics Communications – Palchick has served in his current role since 2014. He performs his role as the primary contact for the men's soccer program with a gusto that serves the program well and results in a lot of information and insight regarding the accomplishments of the program as well as individual team members.
Meredith Rieder – Duke University – Associate Sports Information Director – Rieder joined the Athletic Department at Duke in 2008 and served for seven years as an Assistant SID prior to assuming her current position in 2015. She provides a ton of information regarding the men's soccer program and the Blue Devil players. The fact that she was a four-year member and starter on the women's soccer team at Denison, where whe was an All-American her senior season, adds to her effectiveness.
Mike Cihon – Bowling Green State University – Assistant Director for Athletic Communication – Cihon, who is a graduate of Bowling Green State University, is in his twenty-fifth year in the athletic communications office and his twenty-fourth as an assistant director. He serves as the primary contact for the men's and women's soccer programs. Cihon is a seasoned source of information, analysis, game reports, and statistical data regarding the soccer programs.
Ryan Davis – Missouri Valley Conference – Assistant Commissioner for Communications – Davis enters his fifth season as Assistant Commissioner for Communications for the MVC. In that role he serves as the primary media relations contact for men's soccer. Davis is a very capable and experienced source of information in regard to the teams, players, statistics and game recaps within the MVC.
Kristin Quinn – Big East Conference – Assistant Commissioner for Olympic Sports and Marketing – Quinn has served in her current role with the Big East since 2014. Her responsibilities include media relations for men's soccer in the Big East Conference. She is a knowledgeable, proficient and energetic source of information regarding the men's soccer programs in the Big East.
Niko Blankenship – University of Denver – Director of Athletic Communications – Blankenship joined the staff in the Athelitic Department at Denver in 2014 as the Assistant Director of Athletics and Recreation Publicity before being promoted to his current role in 2018. His responsibilites include serving as the primary communications contact and media representative for the men's and women's soccer programs. Blakenship is a deft source of information regarding the status of contests, the ongoing activities of players, and the accoumpishments of both programs.
Charlie Duffy – Indiana University – Assitant Director of Media Relations – There is a lot to talk about when it comes to the soccer program at Indiana and Duffy does a really good job of doing just that with timely press releases that provide the Hoosier faithful and others with up-to-date information regarding the program.
Jordan Caskey – Furman – Assistant Athletics Director, Athletics Communications – Caskey became an assistant sports information director at Furman in 2006. In that capacity his responsibilities include the coordination of publicity initiatives for the men's and women's soccer programs. He is a consistent and vital source of information regarding the activities of both programs and of the accomplishments of current and former Paladin players.
Matt Turk – CSUN – Assistant Director, Sports Communications – Turk joined the Athletics Communications staff at CSUN in 2017. In that regard his duties include serving as the sports information director for the men's soccer program. Turk came to CSUN from CSU Bakersfield where he served as the primary contact for the men's soccer program for seven years. He has been an adroit source of information about the Matador soccer program and players including recent feature articles regarding the most memorable moments in CSUN Athletic history.
Brent Stastny – Charlotte – Associate Media Relations Director – Stastny has served as the primary media contact for the men's soccer program for many years. He has consistently been a source of current and historical information regarding the activities and accomplishments of the program and the 49er players.
Nicole Praga – Penn State – Assistant Director of Communications – Praga's duties include serving as the primary media contact for the Nittany Lions men's soccer program. Penn State exceeded expectations in 2019 returning to the NCAA Tournament field for the first times since the 2014 season. Praga enthusiastically did a lions share of work on a weekly basis providing on-going information and press releases regarding the accompishments of the program and the players.