Frank Keenan

Assistant Athletic Director for External Affairs at Henderson State University Englishman, Kicker, Optimist, Falcon, Palatinate, Cyclist, Aspiring Sartorialist
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#ALSIceBucketChallenge Field Goal

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For anyone that follows the collegiate sports landscape or sports industry in general, you know it’s a trying time for the NCAA. But as I watched the news of the O’Bannon decision unfold, I couldn’t help but to wonder why so many people—who have never even been a part of the system—were…

NACDA 2014 is officially underway, with N4A (National Association of Academic Advisors for Athletics) sessions kicking off the nine day college athletics fest at the World Center Marriott Resort in Orlando, Florida, that includes the acronym heavy list of; NACDA, CABMA, CEFMA, CoSIDA, ICLA, MOAA, N4A, NAAC, NAADD, NACMA, NATYCAA, DI-AAA ADA, DII ADA and FCS ADA.

An infinite amount of formal sessions, networking and learning will occur along with an even greater amount of informal knowledge sharing.

By means of preparation here are some of the sessions that I am looking forward to, with a distinct small college athletic administrator perspective.

A full agenda for all sessions is available here.

AD Q&A Panel | Monday | 11:15-11:55 am | NACMA | Must be Basic Training Registrant to Attend this Session | Salons 12-14

Panel: Greg Byrne, @Greg_Byrne, Athletics Director, University of Arizona 

Sandy Hatfield Clubb, @DrakeAD_Sandy,  Athletics Director, Drake University 

Eric Nichols, @ericnichols,  Associate Athletics Director/Chief Marketing Officer, University of South Carolina

John Phillips, @JP_Daytona, Athletics Director, Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University

Great opportunity to ask some of the best in the business a question. Of interest to small college athletic administrators is that the panel includes John Phillips who is the Athletic Director at Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University. Phillips leads the Eagle athletic department which is one of the top NAIA colleges in the nation. They finished fourth in the 2012-13 NAIA Learfield Sports Directors’ Cup and are currently third this year with the final rankings released June 10. Embry-Riddle is in the process of making the transition to NCAA Division II from the NAIA after accepting an invitation to join the Sunshine State Conference in December. Upon completion of their transition to NCAA Division II the Eagles will be a force to be reckoned with in the division. Phillips has been at Embry-Riddle since 1997 and was named Director of Athletics in January 2014. Philips is on the NACMA Board of Directors and also serves as the chair for the NACMA small school committee.

Small School Pre-Convention Open Forum | Monday | 12:30-1:30 pm | NACMA | Tampa

This forum is hosted by the NACMA small school committee and will be led by Ryan Ivey, @rivey35, Director of Athletics, Texas A&M Commerce, and Zach Dayton, @Zach_Dayton, Assistant Athletics Director for External Operations, Pace University. The forum will be a great opportunity for small college athletic administrators to connect, share ideas and advice and also plan how to approach the sessions ahead at NACDA.

Characteristics of an Extraordinary Leader | Monday | 1:45-2:45 pm | NACWAA | Salon H

Panel: Blake James, @CanesAllAccess, Athletics Director, University of Miami

Heather Lyke, @LykeEMUAD, Vice President and Athletics Director, Eastern Michigan University

Patti Phillips, @PattiPhillips10, Chief Executive Officer, NACWAA

Tim Selgo, @TimSelgo, Athletics Director, Grand Valley State University

Miechelle Willis, Executive Associate Athletics Director – Student Services and Sports Administration, The Ohio State University

The National Association of Collegiate Women Athletics Administrators (NACWAA) has been providing some great content and sessions on leadership. The NCAA Educational Session - Ignite Your Leadership session that they hosted at the NCAA convention was one of the better sessions. The panel for Characteristics of an Extraordinary Leader is very strong, including Patti Phillips who is always inspiring. From an NCAA Division II perspective the panel includes Tim Selgo, Athletics Director, Grand Valley State University, who has led the Lakers to nine out of the last eleven NCAA Division II Learfield Sports Directors’ Cups. Selgo has an ongoing blog on the GVSU website that gives you an idea of why the Lakers have been so successful under his leadership. 

Validating Our Business – Why Are We Here? Why Are We Doing What We’re Doing? | Tuesday | 8-9 am Featured Session | NACDA, NACMA, NAADD, ICLA, CoSIDA | Salons G-H

Moderator: Tim Brando, Raycom Sports

Panel: Alex Bisbee, Men’s Soccer Student-Athlete, Rollins College

Peg Bradley-Doppes, Vice Chancellor and Athletics Director, University of Denver, I-AAA ADA President

Jim Phillips, Vice President and Athletics Director, Northwestern University

Moushaumi Robinson, Former Track and Field Student-Athlete, University of Texas

Jack Swarbrick, Athletics Director, University of Notre Dame

The title of this session reminds me of this post from Jeremy Waite in which the questions; Who are you? What do you do? Why does it matter? Are asked to marketers.

At the beginning of the week these are important questions to ask to lead the learning for the week ahead. It is always good to see Student-Athletes on panels as they are in fact the answer to “Why are we here?” It is especially good to see an NCAA Divsision II Student-Athlete, Alex Bisbee a Men’s Soccer Student-Athlete from Rollins College, on the panel. Rollins College has a highly successful men’s soccer program that made the NCAA Division II playoffs in all four years that Bisbee was a member of the team.

Research 101: Marketing Research – How (and Where) to Collect Valuable Insights | Tuesady | 10:15-10:55 am 11-11:40 am 11:45 am-12:25 pm| NACMA Programming Track | Salon F

Moderators: Brian Bowsher, @brianbowsher, Assistant Athletics Director/Digital Strategy, University of Miami

Andrew Goodrich, @ATGoodrich, Associate Athletics Director – Marketing, University of Miami 

Under the leadership of Chris Freet and Chris Yandle the University of Miami has been at the head of the marketing in college athletics. A key challenge for small schools is not just the production of marketing materials but measuring their success and figuring out what is the right fit in terms of marketing for your stakeholders. I am sure that Brian Bowsher and Andrew Goodrich will provide the answers.

Working with Campus to Leverage Student Attendance and Reviving the Student Section | Tuesday | 10:15-10:55 am 11-11:40 am 11:45 am-12:25 pm | NACMA Programming Track | Salon 14

Moderators: Nicole Jones, @nicolemjones4, Director of Marketing and Promotions, Duke University

Elvis Moya, @ElvisMoyaUA, Associate Athletics Director – Marketing and Fan Development, University of Arkansas

On most small college campuses resources are limited and your students are your biggest fans. It will be interesting to hear ideas on how you can work with other campus entities to maximize resources and to create a student section that has an impact.

Enhancing Fan Experience: Real Life Takeaways from a D2 Campus 

Tuesday | 10:15 am-12:15 pm | Division 2 ADA Town Hall Discussion #1 | Salons 1-2

Panel: Kirby Garry, @kirbygarry, Athletics Director, California State University Monterey Bay

Doug Lipinski, @GVSUAssociateAD, Associate Athletics Director – Marketing, Grand Valley State University

Josh Looney, @JoshLooney, Associate Director of Division II, NCAA

Marcus Manning, @MarcusManning2, Athletics Director, Maryville University

Joan McDermott, @JMcDMetroState, Athletics Director, Metropolitan State University

A group of NCAA Division II All-Star administrators are on the panel! Panel includes Joan McDermott, Athletics Director, Metropolitan State University who will be recognized at the convention as one of the four NCAA Division II 2013-14 Under Armour Athletics Directors of the Year. Kirby Garry the Athletics Director at California State University Monterey Bay recently hosted the first NCAA Division II social media basketball game.

#SCACHAT Meet-Up | Tuesday | 5:30 pm | Bar by the pool

Hosted by: Jim Abbott, @jimabbott33, Athletics Director, Oklahoma City University

Kirby Garry, @kirbygarry, Athletics Director, California State University Monterey Bay

Ryan Ivey, @rivey35, Athletics Director, Texas A&M University Commerce

#SCACHAT is a weekly twitter chat hosted by Jim, Kirby and Ryan. The chat is hosted on Sunday evenings at 8 p.m. CST and gives small college athletic administrators an opportunity to share ideas and experiences and to learn from one another. 

The State of Intercollegiate Athletics from the Athletics Directors’ Perspective | Wednesday | 9-10 am | NACDA, NACMA, NAADD, ICLA, CoSIDA Featured Session | Salons G-H

Moderator: Michael Smith, @SmittySBJSBD, SportsBusiness Journal

Panel: Morgan Burke, @MorganJBurke, Athletics Director, Purdue University

Greg Byrne, @Greg_Byrne, Athletics Director, University of Arizona

Jim Johnson, @PittStateAD, Athletics Director, Pittsburg State University

Judy Rose, Athletics Director, University of North Carolina Charlotte

Jim Johnson, Athletics Director, Pittsburg State University will represent NCAA Division II and is one of the NCAA Division II 2013-14 Under Armour Athletics Directors of the Year.

Simple and Effective Promotions | Wednesday | 10:15-10:45 am 10:50-11:20 am | NACMA Programming Track | Salon E

Moderators: Danielle Mayeaux, @DMayeaux18, Assistant Athletics Director – Marketing, Ticketing and Game Operations, McNeese State University 

David Pillen, @davidpillen,  Marketing Assistant, McNeese State University

Danielle and David have done a great job at McNeese State University this year energizing and engaging their fans. This session should provide a multitude of ideas to take back to campus. Both Danielle and David do a good job sharing their ideas online via their blogs throughout the year. 

Issues/Crisis Management: Real Life Examples That Challenge Athletics Administrators | Wednesday | 2:30-4 pm | Division 2 ADA Town Hall Discussion #2 Salons | 1-2

Panel: Ed Matejkovic, Athletics Director, West Chester University

Earl Edwards, Athletics Director, University of California San Diego

Chris Ratcliff, @AthDirUAM, Athletics Director, University of Arkansas Monticello

Eric Schoh, @WinonaAD, Athletics Director, Winona State University

Scott Wiegandt, Athletics Director, Bellarmine University

Another group of Division II All-Star administrators to learn from.

Non-Division I Institutional Marketing | Wednesday | 2:45-4:15 pm NACMA Open Forum Discussion | Salon 13

Moderators: Zach Dayton, @Zach_Dayton, Assistant Athletics Director – External Operations, Pace University

Ryan Ivey, @rivey35, Athletics Director, Texas A&M University Commerce

This will be a great opportunity towards the end of the convention for small college marketers to come together to not only share their ideas and experiences from campus but also what they have learnt over the past few days. Ryan and Zach will both be full of ideas of how to apply big college ideas to small college athletics. In his short time as Teaxas A&M University Commerce Athletics Director Ryan has been responsible for this and this. With equally big ideas Zach produced Pace Lacrosse: The Season this year.

Here are the updated rankings are for official athletics twitter feeds for NCAA Division II schools. 

The biggest risers this month are the East Stroudsburg Warriors (PSAC) who moved up ten places from 35th to 25th, with an increase of 476 followers between February 13 and March 25. Their increase in followers may have been helped by their men’s basketball team hosting the Atlantic Region tournament and reaching the regional final. In attendance for the regional final was Warrior alum Penn State Head Coach James Franklin  (@coachjfranklin) who is very active on twitter. 

The NCAA Division II Twitter Top-25 is available here


The NCAA Division II Twitter Conference Rankings are available here

The Conference rankings see a new number one with the SIAC jumping from third to first place. The increase of 3,409 followers however seems a little odd as the increase came at an exact rate of 202 followers between February 27 and March 16. 



Growing up I was warned of the dangers of being a jack of all trades and a master of none, I was encouraged to find a speciality and to focus. In contrast to these early warnings small college athletics rewards the “Jack of all trades” and in fact the ability to contribute in multiple areas is a necessity to succeed.

In a recent small college administrators chat (#scachat) the question was asked “what advice would you give to a student wanting to work in college athletics?” The responses were almost unanimous in stating that working hard, getting experience in multiple areas and differentiating yourself were the key elements for success. With this in mind the “Jack of all trades” who is the master of one area can be very successful in small college athletics.

Whether you work in compliance, sports information, marketing or development at a small school you do a little bit of everything. On a daily basis you can go from writing a press release to running a scoreboard, cleaning a gym floor to facilitating a SAAC meeting, designing a schedule poster to hosting an event for donors. The diversity of the job is something that must be embraced and thus the “Jack of all trades” must be embraced. 

The designer of Quora, a question-and-answer website where questions are created, answered, edited and organized by its community of users, David Cole contends the need for specialization. In his post, The Myth of the Myth of the Unicorn Designer, he supports the idea of the “Jack of all trades” asking the question;

“Would you rather carve a door 1% better than you did last year, or learn how to build the rest of the house in the same amount of time? This question provides a great analogy for athletic administrators as you look to build a culture of success throughout a department. You must be aware of and have knowledge of all areas of a department in order to support one another. 

In addition to learning about your own department it is essential to look outside your department and learn from others. Learning, or professional development as human resources term it, must not be seen as an activity that distracts from you achieving your day to day tasks. In fact it must be seen as a necessity for achieving these tasks in a creative manner. We are constantly challenged to problem solve and to provide quick and affordable solutions. In order to provide creative solutions we must have a body of knowledge that is diverse. 

Within marketing and particular athletic marketing there is always competition to be the first to do something new and to avoid the dreaded fear of missing out. In his post “Picasso, Kepler, and the Benefits of Being an Expert Generalist”, Art Markman suggests that one way to do this is to be an expert generalist or in layman’s terms a “Jack of all trades”;

“One thing that separates the great innovators from everyone else is that they seem to know a lot about a wide variety of topics. They are expert generalists. Their wide knowledge base supports their creativity.”

An added benefit of being a generalist is the ability to connect with multiple audiences, which is something that marketers strive for. Throughout college athletics your audience is constantly varying from sport to sport, in age, in terms of technology usage and many other factors. In his post “Knowing a Little of Everything Is Often Better Than Having One Expert Skill”, Adam Dachis makes a great point in stating;

“Thinking of things without any connection, without multiple perspectives, leads to work that’s often un-relatable. Being more of a generalist makes it possible to take something personal and share it with others in a way they not only understand but can appreciate.” 

The “Jack of all trades” is a great approach but within this there is value in being a “master of one.” Within all athletic departments, big or small, there are go to people for certain challenges and actions. It is important to be this person for something. As mentioned previously it is important to differentiate yourself, one way to do this is to become your departments specialist in an area. In doing this you not only become indispensable but the learning process you undertake to gain knowledge in that area can help you to become an even greater generalist.  

Finally we focus on creating a varied and valuable experience for our student-athletes, we encourage them to be “Jacks of all trades” who not only succeed on the field, but in the classroom, in their families and in their communities. We celebrate this achievement with Academic All-American honors, Elite 89 awards and Community awards. In NCAA Division II “Life in the Balance” is the strategic positioning platform for the division which again in layman terms could be “Life as a Jack of all trades.”

Small colleges are a great place to work and to be a “Jack of all trades, master of one.”

"I never want to take this for granted so I try to keep motivation simple, real and positive. If I only scrape a living at least it’s a living worth scraping, if there’s no future in it at least it is a present worth remembering"

Inspired by Jason Matheson and what he has done at Auburn University with the Social media Top-25 I decided to see who was at the top of NCAA Division II when it came to twitter followers. 

Rankings are for official athletics twitter feeds and I will periodically update the rankings.

The NCAA Division II Twitter Top-25 is available here


The NCAA Division II Twitter Conference Rankings are available here


Craig Pintens (@UOPintens), Senior Associate Athletic Director - Marketing & Public Relations at Oregon and current NACMA president (@NACMAPresident) asked the question;

The question received a lot of great responses, which are worth sharing;

Social Media gives you an opportunity to share your story

Think before you tweet

Be intentional

The media may have an interest in what you tweet

Every day is a job interview


As promised, here are the resources I recommended during the call today.

People Networking:

Online chats: #SIDChat

CoSIDA LinkedIn group: search and join on LinkedIn

Google+ groups

Campus committees

Local community groups

Developing expertise:People with personal/professional brands on…

(via christinesyme-deactivated201409)

The #FalconFlock

Great to see the #FalconFlock in full force supporting Notre Dame College Men’s Basketball in their home opener.

We have worked hard to give our student fans and student-athletes an identity which they can be part of and embrace.

Hopefully we can continue to build on the success and create a game winning atmosphere at all home events.