When it comes to college sports, March means basketball. For Sports Broadcasting major George Hathaway ’23, it also meant the experience of a lifetime as he spent spring break covering the Big East Tournament in New York.
“I was able to cover three of the four days at Madison Square Garden on behalf of Dean College and write a recap of the Big East Tournament for the Dean Daily, the student-run newspaper here on campus,” George explained. “Along with covering the Big East Award Ceremony, I was able to cover the games and live tweet the games from the media box. This was a lot of fun, as I was able to witness some of the best college basketball in the nation.”
This opportunity arose with the help of John Rooke, Director of the Center for Business, Entertainment and Sport Management and Distinguished Executive Faculty. Along with leading the Sports Broadcasting program here at Dean, Rooke is also the play-by-play voice for the Providence Friars and was in New York to call the games as the Friars sought to add to their regular-season conference title.
“George asked me, knowing that I spend my spring break covering games at Madison Square Garden every year, if he could potentially come and check it out,” said Rooke. “I told him certainly, but that if he was going to observe he would need to immerse himself in the culture of being a reporter for the week. He applied for credentials as a reporter would do, was accepted by the Big East and spent the week observing, networking and watching games.”
George had the opportunity to meet and network with a number of big names in college basketball, including Providence Friars head coach Ed Cooley, who won the Big East Coach of the Year Award, and Rich Chvotkin, the Georgetown Hoyas broadcaster of 48 years. “Chvotkin gave me great insight into the art of broadcasting, and was able to give me some tips too,” said George. After the games, he would head to the press room for postgame press conferences, where he was able to ask questions of Julian Champagnie, guard/forward for St. John’s Red Storm, and UConn head coach Danny Hurley. “My favorite part was being able to interview players and coaches postgame,” George remarked. “It felt like I was in the real world in the big leagues, amongst the best broadcasters and journalists.”
With plenty of experience in broadcasting both on and off-campus, George credits his classes and campus involvement with helping build his networking and communication skills, which allowed him to connect with coaches, players and broadcasters like Tim Brando and John Fanta throughout the course of the tournament. This opportunity also provided valuable real-world experience as he prepares for his future career as a sports broadcaster. “This experience showed me hands on what it takes to work one of the biggest sporting events in America,” said George. “I was able to understand the work ethic it takes to be working with the best in the business. There is a lot of preparation that goes into covering a big tournament like this, and I was able to fall in love with this passion that makes it not feel like work. The people I was able to meet here are lifelong connections.”
Real-world opportunities like this – and others available through the Sports Broadcasting and Communications programs – are often transformational for our students as they prepare for life after Dean. “George admitted he was nervous at first, not knowing what to expect or how he should carry himself, but the experience provided invaluable,” said Rooke. “There’s a comfort level about him now that he’s seen how a big media event is handled. This is something I’d love to bring about for a selected student every March, the chance to come to New York and experience/cover a big-time event.”