NEW ULM - While attending school at the University of Michigan-Dearborn, Michael Gibbons had dreams of one day becoming a sportswriter when he was finished with school.
But like a lot of college students, Gibbons changed his mind in the process. And while it wasn't drastic enough for him to switch majors, he did decide to put the sportswriting career on hold while still being able to watch sports for a living.
While it seems like a dream job for some, it's just another day at the office for Gibbons, who is the first-ever full-time Sports Information Director [SID] at Martin Luther College.
Michael Gibbons is the first-ever, full-time Sports Information Director [SID] at Martin Luther College.
The need for the job was created when it was noticed there was simply too much work for students to do. Especially since they had to do all the work and balance the books at the same time.
"With the NCAA deadlines, and all of the requirements that are involved with playing at our level - we've been blessed with some talented kids - but it's become more than just a part-time job," Martin Luther College Athletic Director Jim Unke said.
Through the years, the college has gotten by with one or more student SIDs to help get information to other colleges, media and the Internet. Those students juggled both school work and the job, and it made for a lot of work.
"I love being around sports. I love
coming to work, writing about and watching sporting events. My day at work involves all the stuff I read in sports pages, it's just a different avenue."
Sports Information Director [SID] at Martin Luther College
Now, the college has someone who can concentrate solely on the SID position.
Gibbons graduated from the University of Michigan-Dearborn in 2006, interned at University of Detroit-Mercy, then worked at Saginaw Valley State for a year.
He was hired at MLC over the summer to help the school's athletic department get sports information out to media and other colleges.
While he initially wanted to be a sports writer, he became interested in being a sports information director through his internship and had a change of heart.
"I worked at the University of Detroit, and from there it was something that I realized I wanted to do," Gibbons said. "My hope when I was a journalism major was I wanted to be a sports writer, but I started looking into that [being an SID] and it was easier to get an internship. I knew that's what I wanted to do if I could get into it. It was a matter of finding the right opportunity."
Gibbons is in charge of attending all MLC home athletic events, helping with or keeping actual stats, and helping out with getting the live audio stream on the Internet and getting those game stats to the media and the opposing college after the game.
This includes writing up a short summary after the game and putting it online as soon as possible so fans around the country can check out the results.
"During all home events, we are in charge of keeping statistics, and getting them to the UMAC and to the visiting school," Gibbons said. "Then we report the scores to the NCAA. There's kind of a to-do list that we have to do."
During the normal work week, Gibbons reports to his office at around 9 a.m. Monday and does a lot of behind the scenes work. That includes answering phone messages and e-mails. After that, he gets Athlete of the Week information available to submit to the Upper Midwest Athletic Conference, the conference in which MLC belongs to.
Most of the week he spends doing behind the scenes stuff, then gets ready to go to any home match that may be on the schedule for the day. MLC has fall varsity teams in men's and women's golf, men's and women's soccer, men's and women's cross country, football and volleyball, so it seems like he always has something going on.
While the job may seem pretty stress-free to an outsider, he noted there are things that pop up that make his job challenging at times.
Since he's the only full-time SID at MLC, he has a lot to do when there's more than one home game.
He does, however, have an assistant to help him out, and it's possible more could be added if it gets to a busy time of the year.
During the slow times, Gibbons works on the upcoming media guides, getting the information and the pictures of the athletes prepared.
He also would like to improve the website by putting longer re-caps of the games online and make the website more accessible for fans.
And since the job is full-time, he has to find stuff to do in the summer when the students are gone. That is when he anticipates getting done with some of the more time-consuming projects.
But no matter how busy he gets, he enjoys his job, and in the end, that's all that matters.
"I love being around sports," he said. "I love coming to work, writing about and watching sporting events. My day at work involves all the stuff I read in sports pages, it's just a different avenue."
Jeremy Behnke can be reached at email@example.com