Chris FreetAssistant Director ofAthletics and Communications Chris Freet came to the Univeristy of South Florida in 2007 from the University of Oklahoma. Among his accomplishments, he redesigned GoUSFBulls.com, the official website for the Athletics Department. Freet oversees all communications efforts, which is public relations. He works on the social media sites, mobile connectivity, interviews, and statistics, among other various tasks.
Mission Statement “The USF Department of Athletics provides leadership for the University of South Florida’s NCAA Division I Intercollegiate Athletics programs. Consistent with the larger institutional mission, the Department is committed to sponsoring a competitive program of intercollegiate athletics for men and women that fosters excellence in competition, in the classroom, and toward the development of the whole person. Our vision is nothing less than to position each intercollegiate team and every student-athlete to compete for national championships, and to become a model program by every measure used to gauge Division I athletic success: titles, trophies, and championships; graduating student-athletes’ who are well prepared for post collegiate success; building character and leadership; and generating positive publicity and exposure for the University of South Florida and its host communities.”
A Director’s Perspective Mr. Freet’s personal objective is to provide the best experience for student athletes that challenges academic and personal growth. He wanted to express his vision that “we have our own information, we are going to speak to the media from our own point of view and let the media tell it that way.”
Communications Work and Personnel Recording statistics Retail counts Graphic designing Social media and mobile connectivity New media Video services Website 4 full-time employees, 2 full-time interns 4 employees paid with benefits 2 interns paid without benefits Student staff varies
Typical Activities 9 AM staff meeting starts off the day Chance to discuss issues, concerns, and challenges as a team Other typical activities include: telephone answering, e-mail responding, coordinating interviews, research, preparing game notes and information for a TV spot.
Targeted Publics USF Students Parents of USF students USF Alumni Recruiters for the different sports Residents of the Tampa Bay Area Sports networks like ESPN and ESPNU
Social Media Facebook Most important outlet for social media Twitter More for industry professionals YouTube Not utilized as often as Facebook or Twitter due to multimedia area on website
Research Tools Focus groups Surveys Questionnaires Interacting with targeted publics
Crisis Management Follows same plan for the university How to safely evacuate everyone and strategically handle situations Most important aspect is to always keep leadership updated Also important to protect the parties involved, as well as the university
Website Incorporates school colors Includes various graphics, corporate sponsors and advertisements Each sport has it’s own page Rosters, schedules, player bios, etc. Multimedia area Videos, interviews, pictures, etc. Student section, news section, team store, social connectivity section
Timeline June of 1965 First intercollegiate sporting event Soccer game against Florida Southern; USF was victorious Admitted into NCAA in March of 1968 December 4, 1970 First basketball game, victorious over UF, 85-78 First event in Sun Dome was basketball game; USF lost to FAMU 64-66
Timeline (cont.) Baseball team won Sun Belt championship in 1982 Basketball team won Sun Belt championship in 1990 First football game in 1997 80-3 victory at Raymond James Stadium over Kentycky Wesleyan Entered NCAA Divioin 1-A football in 2000 Admitted into Big East in 2003
Conclusion Chris Freet gave a great explanation on what he does at the USF Athletics Department, as well as the path he took to get there. His final quote in the interview was, “It’s a wild world,” and from his stories about his duties, that is the perfect way to describe his work.