(Monday, June 5, -11:15 a.m. -12:30 p.m.)
Our topic today will be a little fun. I have asked our panelists today to take their white gloves off and not to worry about getting upset. We want everyone to sit back and let it fly. We want them to say some things that we all should be doing and what they see from their perspective as to how we can do a better job. It is being done in the spirit of helping all of us to improve our programs.
Our first speaker this morning is Jack Martin. He received his BS in 1964 from Ithaca College in health, physical education and recreation, his MS in 1970 from the great institution of Seton Hall in administration supervision. He's worked in armament research and development. He's worked at Morris Hills Regional High School in science and physical education and since 1968. He's been at the County College of Morris in New Jersey as director of athletics and facilities. He has received several noteworthy positions and awards over the years. He is the director and honorary chairman of the Northwest New Jersey Special Olympics. He is president of the New Jersey Community College Athletic Conference. He's on the Executive Committee of the Randolph Township Recreation and Parks Commission. The New Jersey Sports Writers has recognized him as Coach-of-the-Year on two occasions. He has received outstanding service award from the New Jersey Special Olympics and he works as a radio color commentator for two different stations in his particula area. Without further ado, Jack Martin.
Thank you, Bob. I appreciate that. I don't how controversial I'm going to be, but I'll certainly try to share some things with you this morning. I'm sure I'm going to hear some things back from you that will
stimulate my thinking .
I look at image enhancement as a way to increase the college's credibility and visibility in our community. It's been a topic of concern for all of us, I'm sure, and I think each of us is always trying to find ways to better our image for our college. I started to think about the mission that our college had in looking at our goals and objectives. One thing we had to fight off was the fact that our students came to UI when there was nothing else left for them. We've had to overcome that immediately.
My particular problem was the demographics that surround my community. I live about 40 minutes from N~ York City and we've got about 10 colleges within a 35-mile radius of our school. We're in a very high profiJ community. We've got about 12 national corporate headquarters. We're facing a tremendous labor problem, which is not enough people to fill the spots. We've got a two percent unemployment rate. We now have the corporate headquarters moving out of the area because they can't find people to work the jobs they've createc It's very expensive to live in our community. You can't find housing under $40,000. Car insurance is about $2,000 a year for two cars. We're finding that we have to get out there and find students to come to our institution. When the economy is that strong, students want to go out and grab those jobs. We have to find way to keep on tracking them.
When we opened our doors in 1965, the people in our community called us "Harvard on the Hill." We're located on top of a hill which was a 220-acre farm. After that, we were known as Route 10 Tech because we' on Route 10. They gave us a lot of nicknames which we didn't feel were very complimentary. We worked hard since that time to create a new image in our community. Recruiting students, I'm sure you'll all agree, is very serious business today. I say business because we're all in a competitive environment. In our county, are attracting one out of every four college-bound student. We're getting 25 percent of those students looking to go on and advance their education.
We are part of a college-wide public relations effort. We don't separate athletics from the other outlets in our college. We are part of that team. We go right to our central office and make them aware o the fact that we not only want to join in on any marketing efforts that you put forth, we want to be active involved in making some of those decisions .
There are things at our college that cost a great deal of money and there are things that don't cost ; cent. Our college has taken out a major marketing campaign for the last two years and has spent $125,000 yearly on billboard advertisements. We've got about 30 billboard advertisements throughout the county that say, "I started right." It profiles graduates of our institution who have become corporate executives, meteorologists, a vice president for Fieldcrest Cannon Mills, etc. We've put their pictures on these billboards to show where they are now and where they got their start. We get tremendous feedback on this. costs money, but our feedback is amazing. It's one of the greatest media ploys we've had in the 20-some ye, our college has been established. We have also taken a 30-second radio blurb and we advertise on cable T.V
The kids in our community hear these ads. We have taken 250 30-second advertisements on T.V. and they are shown between ESPN Network and Yankee ball games in New York City. When they break for an advertisement, it wouldn't be unusual to see our promo in our area. This Fall our media director for the first time, will take our teams and athletes and put them on T.V. 30-second promos. Again, we're getting tremendous feedback on this and we're all very happy with it.
We also have a "college viewbook." A major part of this book deals with athletics. We have pictures of our coaches and athletes. These books go to all of the high schools in our recruiting area. I would like to emphasize that we go to our marketing and media and we give input to them. We don't let them tell us what they're going to do for athletics. We tell them what we'd like them to do for athletics. Many times you have people in your college putting out these productions and they rorget about athletics or do not emphasize it enough. Because we're part of that marketing committee, we are sitting with these people to make sure we get visibility in these productions. This too, has done a great job for our athletic program.
We have a part-time sports information director, which I'm sure some or all of you have. His responsibility besides working with the local media outlets, is putting us on a five-minute radio talk show.
We have this radio show aired twice a week and it is paid for by a sponsor in the community. We go on the air and report how our teams are doing, profile any outstanding athletes and tell the listeners what games are coming up for the week. This is on at 6:30 p.m. It's not the best time, but it's o.k.
We are in the process of putting together a cable T.V. show for one-half hour per week. We will hold clinics by our coaches on this show to feed information to the community. These clinics cover soccer, basketball and baseball. This, too, is being paid for by a sponsor in our community.
I'm only trying to give you some ideas. I'm not saying that what we're doing is putting a handle on the market, but I'm trying to stimulate ideas that you can take back to your institution. Most of the things we do for the athletic department is free. It takes a little bit of creativity to go out and find the right person to help sponsor your needs. Again, our feedback from these avenues has been very positive for us.
We distribute athletic department brochures. Our admissions personnel take them with them when they go to the high schools for recruiting. They are given to the guidance counselors along with our college handbook. Additionally, when our admissions people attend college nights, one of us goes with them. A lot of people do not know much about athletics or our college sports program, so we'll send a coach along with the admissions person, if they think it's necessary. That's been very positive for us. Go with them. It may
take a couple of hours, but it might be great for you to keep on pumping that image. Keep on trying to get the visibility to the community.
We're concerned about our image and how our teams look when we go out. We're concerned about how we travel. We don't want to look like a bunch of renegades. We want to look decent. We work on that and projecting that image to our community. We want our kids to look good. We cultivate our relationships with the college services in our institution. We go after them to work hand-in-glove with them. We need their services. We feel that we're part of that marketing team.
Our county is governed by elected free holders. They determine how much money we either get or don't get. We have to cultivate them too. We have a good hockey game and a lot of our free holders like to go to these games, so we give them free tickets. We'll give them free hats, free anything to get them to come out because we want them to see what is going on. In turn, our trustees will give us luncheons for any of our teams who win a conference. Now, our free holders saw that and donated a plaque to display in our lobby. We note on the plaque, "donated by our free holders." Each month my president calls me for an update to give at his Board of Trustees meeting. He announces how our teams are doing, what their records are and highlights of any individuals. I feel that's great. That is positive feedback, too.
We have a trustee liaison to the athletic department. He attends our games and helps us out. We have CCM athletic department golf outing each spring and bring in all of the people who have helped us with advertising, guides and finances. We get about 100 people and we go out and golf with them. This is great networking to bring those people in to thank them for all they have done.
In concluding, I would like to leave you with my own personal attempt at image enhancement within our athletic department. We need to relate to our faculty members and make them feel good about our athletes and our programs. There is a stigma attached to athletics sometimes and we have to calm these stories down to
make our faculty realize that we have everything in proper perspective. We've created an academic advisory program, but we do not use any counselors. We use administrators. Our vice president of student affairs is responsible for a team, our director of admissions is responsible for a team, etc. These people are the advisors for our athletes. It's been extremely successful because we got these administrators out of their offices and back dealing with students on a regular day-to-day basis. They love it. In our schedules we also list them as part of our coaching staff. They attend our practices and at times travel with us. We give them shirts and hats or whatever else they want. But, when a student is in trouble, they'll go right into their offices. This has shown our faculty that we do care about our kids and our administrators will take care of them.
I'd like to leave you with this. Our vice president of academic affairs is responsible for the facul Anytime he sees in our college-wide publication that we've had a winning team or an athlete with recognitiol he'll write that person a personal letter. The president will then invite that student and his parents to
a luncheon at the end of each season. The president usually gives the athlete a token of appreciation. We tried to network and not be an island by ourselves. We have the right people involved and showed them we'r, not a separate entity.
Our next speaker is Nancy Lazenby, commissioner of the California Interscholastic Federation. She received her Bachelor of Science Degree in 1974 from Western Washington University in business and her MS 1983 from the University of Washington in sports administration. Nancy started as a swimming coach, teach and athletic director at the high school level. She had a couple of internships with the Campbell Sports, Inc. in the Olympic Training Center. Many of you remember her as the assistant executive director of the NJCAA. She left there to become the assistant commissioner of athletics for the California Interscholasti Federation Central Coast Division and this year, has been promoted to commissioner of athletics for that conference. She has received the State of Alaska Merit Award for Innovative Business Education
Program, and she is on the Board of Directors of the U.S. Volleyball Association and has served in the Hou of Delegates for U.S. Swimming. She is on the advisory board for the Women's Sports Foundation and served the head of the United States Delegation to the International Olympic Academy.
Thanks, Bob. I'm no longer officially one of you, but my heart remains with you. Since I've been , in California, I've missed many of you, so this gives me an opportunity to say hello. It also gives me t opportunity to tell people that junior college athletics are probably the best kept secret in the country want to promote your cause whenever I get the opportunity.
I want to talk more generally today because I'm not at a junior college. We did some image enhance] when I was at the national office and it's an issue that affects all of us personally and professionally. I'd like to talk about how society views image in our day-and-age. Who does your image impact and how do. that impact them? Is there any way you can change it, enhance it or improve it?
In society today, we see a lot of image enhancement. We see it in the area of cosmetic surgery and also see thousands of dollars being spent on gels, dips and mousse and anything else to make us look bett. We spend billions of dollars on the fitness craze. The community colleges, in particular, have seen a b~ boom in the fitness centers. If you were to ask these people why they are into fitness, their answers WO\ not all be for their heart, longevity, etc., but they want to look good and need to lose about 30 pounds. They'll invest a lot of money in workout clothes and say, "oh yeah, I'm going to be cardiovascularly fit.' We're spending billions of dollars on our image individually and collectively. Then we go out and spend E more money on clothes to improve our image. We go to seminars and listen to people tell us what to wear 1 year, what's a power tie this year, what to eat for lunch when you're out with the big guys. If I was go: to adhere to the theories today, I would have worn a dark suit with a high neck, glasses, instead of my
contacts, no makeup and I would have been five inches taller. Then, you would have believed something I ! today. Otherwise, I have no credibility whatsoever.
We also measure our president, not by what his intelligence level might be on the issues or how inf he is on the issues or on what is going on in the world, but how good he looks on T.V. or how comfortable makes us feel. It's kind of scary when you think of all the different levels of attitudes and areas that have to in our complex society, deal with. We just are overwhelmed with the diversity of decisions that
expected to make on areas that we really don't have a clue about. We rely on experts, whether self-procl; or other proclaimed, in order to tell us what we should do. We don't have the time and we don't have the information nor the knowledge to make those decisions always on our own. Generally, we listen to those Pi that look like they know what they're talking about and present a good image. They may not know anymore
you or I. Because of time constraints, we have to listen to those people and make decisions based on the information they give. So, image effects us in a lot of different ways.
In community colleges, with what publics is your image critical? I think there are way more than I going to talk about this morning. There are a few that are critical for your image and your image enhancement. Number one is your own administration and your own faculty. Is the athletic department viel as the jocks who wear sweat pants all of the time? Is the team just traveling and spending money? Do we more funds to just use for going here and going there? Or, are they Been as a good recruiting tool, in ti day-and-age, with declining enrollment in high schools and colleges everywhere? Are they Been as an intel part of your curriculum and is your administration involved and do they understand what you're doing and 1 you're doing it? I think that is maybe the most difficult area in which to convince people who are not ex-jocks themselves. We're seeing people in administration coming from the academic background and not fl an athletic background. They may not understand what athletics Bay and what its role is in the college community.
In the community, you obviously have an image which affects your fan support, your funding, your connection with the corporate world, and unfortunately, we're very dependent on them in this day and age.
Many times we have to go outside for funding. It affects your evening and weekend classes and your continuing education classes. So, the community college in the community has an image that you have to nurture and protect and develop as positive.
You have an image with your community colleges. Some of you are bad guys because you win all of the
time and some of you are nice and let everyone else win so people will like you. You have to think about that image within your own peer group within your college. You have to think about how you appear to them and it may be very different from how you appear in your own community. That's another avenue or area that you need to consider.
Potential students is probably the most critical area in the recruitment and retention of kids because we're all competing for them. That is what we think about the most when we think about image because we
want to attract good quality students and we want to keep them. The more quality students, the more we'll get. It's something you can monitor and stay in control of because you can stay on top of it. It's not a one-time shot. It has to be continually nurtured.
The image of your teams is so important. Their involvement in the community is important because it attracts other students. They want to come to a program that is positive and not necessarily winning all of the games. I really believe they're attracted to a winning program, but I think that is secondary to the fact that they're in an organization with an image of being big-time. They all want to play at Indiana. Theyall want to go big-time, but, they are now coming to the realization that that may not be the fact, so, they want to look for something that fits that image, but one they can attain.
Four-year colleges are another area of image enhancement that junior colleges are constantly struggling with. Junior college individuals, as individuals, do an excellent job of negating that concept and work to get your students good scholarships and get them into good programs after attending your school. That, indeed, helps to attract new students coming in.
The media is also a tough problem. They always look for the negative, but as long as you can involve them by keeping them as informed as you possibly can, it will make a big difference. That's an area that
needs nurturing. Sometimes it's an area that is out of our control, so we try to ignore it. Get good press on some positive things and capitalize on them.
How do you improve or enhance your image? Number one is to make people believe the image we want them to see. We should go on the defensive in developing our image. If you have a negative image with the
public, it's more difficult to change. If it's neutral, you can do some very inexpensive, easy things in order to increase your image and your visibility to those publics. Everything that comes out of your office should look professional and first-class. Desk-top publishing is very inexpensive and someone can help you to learn it. It's not that hard to do. The days of the mimeograph are gone.
An answering machine in the athletic department is important. Many of you are not just ADs. Many of you are coaches and teachers and you do not have secretaries. An answering machine is more professional and the caller knows you will get the message. No one likes a phone in an office to just ring and ring. It's not a very business-like way to handle calls. The bottom line is that we are now in business. We used to be in athletics and we used to be playing sports. Now, we're in promotion and fund raising and we're running a business. We have to act like we're running a business and we have to project that image to the business
world in order to attract sponsors, boosters and other administrators' involvement. In order to do that, we have to everything first-class that we possibly can. It takes a little more time, but I feel that image enhancement takes more time than it does money. If I meet Jim Harvey for the first time and he says he's from Miami-Dade Community College and I've never been there, he becomes Miami-Dade CC in my mind. If he's wearing sweat pants and smoking a cigar, I might not think a whole lot of that college. But, if he's dressed in a power suit with a red tie, that will be my image. Every member of your staff and every athlete is representative of your school. Those little things need to be monitored and taken care of. It means that you're always on. You're never really off the job.
Those are some practical ideas. I wanted to share them with you. We need to remember that the public is fickle and as soon as there is something bad out there, you'll have to do at least 50 things to improve your image and erase that image. Thank you.
Thank you, Nancy. Gerry Reis received his Bachelor of Science Degree in '74 from Southern Illinois University in mass communication and in health with an emphasis in athletic training. He received his MS in 1981 from Webster University in administration and management. He has spent some time in the parochial high school situation. He's been the executive director of the Catholic Youth Organization and since 1975, he's been with St. Louis Community College-Meramec. He began as a teacher and athletic trainer. He currently is in charge of athletics and physical education. He was a member of the Arkansas State University national
championship football team. He's an innovator, puts on an antique car show and dabbles in computerized fitness programs and has been nominated for the St. Louis Community College Innovator of the Year Award its drug education program. He's a member of your executive board. Gerry Reis.
Nancy is exactly correct. When we look at the image of our people and the business we're in, she's exactly right. How we present ourselves is so very important. You've actually heard two presentations on program enhancement. Let me take it to a little different twist and talk about some of the problems that J and I share as athletic directors in a two-year community college program.
We're very concerned at Meramec as being part of a district with Bill Miller as AD and Russ Dippold ~ Forest Park. We have a unique relationship in that we're very good friends, but we're all trying for the f student-athlete. Many times we interchange programs and personnel as they get tired of one place or a student-athlete wants to transfer. So, there are all of these complications.
In image enhancement, how you present yourself as a college athletic director in this day and age i: critical importance. I have a degree in mass communications. It's probably a degree and an area of spec that I've used more since becoming a college athletic director than any other skill or tool I've learned.
The success of your program is not as much tied in to the wins and losses as to the image and perc of your program. As Nancy said, a president, elected officials, many times move on because of the perc4 of what's being done. That's not to say that substance is not important, but the perception you create your facility or department is critical.
A small example is that we have worked very hard to improve our basketball program at Meramec. We t not won very much and there was a stigma that we were a losing program and we had difficulty in recruiti~ We sat down with the coach and agonized over making two decisions. One, do we get out of Division I and @ Division II and can we make Division II viable and can we be successful? Can we sell that in a metropolitan area that has professional and college sports where the community college is down the line? Over a five-year program, we finished second in the country when we lost by six points to Delta Community College for the national championship. That was a period of building for us to improve a program by generating revenue for scholarships and creating an atmosphere where student-athletes, facultyand staff ~ feel comfortable in being part of it. We were going to perform first-class or we weren't going to perforD all. Slowly, but surely, our image has grown into a classy operation. Not so much because of the athletj director, but because the rest of the staff became more involved in the communication and appearance that we do is very important.
Both people have mentioned the tool of recruiting. It has taken us a long time to get the district understand that we bring in some 200 student-athletes who take 12 credit hours who are full-time paying students; either by scholarship money that is privately raised or scholarships provided or extra hours ti or their parents pay for. That's a captive audience and it's taken us a long time through a process of continually reminding them about the numbers in what we do.
It's not just important to create an image with the public, but it's important with your own administration. We should be viewed as important in the whole system rather than a separate entity.
The input that the director of athletics and the athletic department has to the community relations peopl, very necessary.
On our campus five years ago, our college president changed the directive by how the director of athletics reports. I now report to the college president. That changed the whole complexion of our cc in getting things done. There's a risk involved and I was more than willing to take it. You're not st by another layer of administration and what you do better be together when you present it. When the Cc sits at the president's level and items are being discussed such as budgets, etc., you're going to have chance to make your case in a very professional and open way. That has helped us. We just changed pre and I felt she may not feel the same way about intercollegiate athletics. In a series of meetings, we changed that reporting process.
It depends on you and your best personality. Look at yourself and see what your best mode is. Each of us needs some time to reflect on what is the individual goal and your individual sk: project best. Then try to spend some time energizing those areas. My greatest concern in interc athletics today is sending positive images. I think the billboard is an excellent idea.
You individually need to sell your programs. We felt like we needed to get something to the area I school recruitors so we put together a series of press guides. It goes to every high school student. WE it with the coach along with a video tape. It talks about our campus. We were able to sell to our administration that we needed it. We tried to bring the rest of the campus into the physical education building. Instead of us going out, we made them come to us. We have created more good will with faculty staff through our fitness center regarding intercollegiate athletics than anything else we've done. We I with our coaching staff who is there to help the faculty whether it's just friendly talk or discussing a
problem regarding a student-athlete. We tried to put our best foot forward in everything we did, from a notepad to sending special thank you notes to people who helped us. We've had some tough times in the district as far as general change, which happens.
Our president and members of the board are involved in our programs. We also involve the coaches and we had 50 volunteers from our staff from the deans to the associate deans, staff to the custodian, and they were
all treated equally. That tends to bring people together. You can talk about image enhancement for hours.
What is your goal towards marketing? Is athletics simply an entity where you open the doors and let the teams go. Are you involved? What do you want to see done? Who do you want to promote? You have to go forward and find out what you need to get these peoples' attention. We felt we had a morale problem and we felt that the administration didn't care about us or didn't understand us, so we wanted to tie all things together and be involved academically. That's a big charge. It's an on-going daily charge. It's every time you pick up the phone. We changed the impression of a sock-jock house into an academic athletic facility.
That can be done. Most of you are doing it now. It's just a matter of targetting the people that you want. Take a look at who has been involved and who on your campus you haven't seen in 10 years in your facility. We did a series of open houses and we were amazed at the turnout. Invite the faculty and staff to an open house. Bring them in to be a part of it.
We generate a weekly newsletter which goes to all members of the press, our president and all members of our staff which updates everything being done on our campus. Maybe only a portion of what we've discussed
will work for you, but try to find out what it is. Selling the program is the on-going responsibility of the athletic director beyond the administration. The perception that the presidents, the deans and the public
have of you will be the representation that they will feel about your community college. That is something we have to continually remember. We do get caught up with so many jobs, so we tend to forget that. We wear so many hats. You must surround yourself with the right kind of people. As Nancy said, we are businessmen and we are educators. As an athletic director, we are much more the business person than we are the educator. Thank you.
When you have a speaker come before you to talk about legal liability, you usually leave the room. With image enhancement you can think about and realize the multitude of things that can be done. I have a story which helps me. Russ Potts, who some of you know, went for an interview to SMU. They asked him how he felt about the problem that SMU leads the nation in empty seats in their football stadium. Russ said, "The way I view it, SMU leads the nation in opportunities." We just take the same thing, turn it around and go after it.
Our panel did a wonderful job and we thank you for your time.