OSU’s nationally recognized sports media program provides unique opportunities for success
Thursday, October 13, 2022
Media Contact: Elizabeth Gosney | CAS Marketing and Communications Manager | 405-744-7497 | email@example.com
Opportunities. Guidance. Connectivity. Experience.
Four words used to describe OSU’s School of Media and Strategic Communications (SMSC) sports media program by four of its members: a professor who helped start the program, a sports announcer nicknamed “The Voice of the Cowboys” and two award-winning students.
The program is the first stand-alone sports media degree among NCAA-FBS member institutions, and its success is evident in the 364 graduates it has produced since beginning in 2010. Recently, the program has been noticed by national organizations such as the Sportscasters Talent Agency of America (STAA), a leader in sports broadcasting talent recruitment and job placement. STAA ranked OSU’s sports media degree program ninth best in the country this year, placing the program higher than many other larger universities.
The idea to start the sports media program began in earnest in 2007 when SMSC professor Dr. John McGuire helped form the annual Sports Media Camp. The demand from camp attendees and SMSC students for a sports media degree was overwhelming, McGuire recalled. Along with former SMSC director Dr. Tom Weir and former assistant professor Marc Krein, McGuire initiated the program in 2010. It has since grown to include countless resources for students, including two specializations — sports journalism and sports digital production — and a graduate degree in mass communication with a specialization in sports communication.
“It’s the opportunity to do just about anything — whether practicing play-by-play skills, reporting for the O’Colly or working for the Poke Report, O’Colly Media and OState TV,” McGuire said. “A lot of this recognition comes down to the fact that we’ve had successful graduates. We have people in some of the top television markets in the country and content creators in some of the major universities in the country.”
In addition to alumni, McGuire highlighted current OSU student Grayson Singleton. The junior works for Triple Play Sports doing play-by-play of Perry High School football and is a sports anchor for O’Colly TV.
“Opportunity, there’s a lot of it if you really want to do stuff,” said Singleton, who has won two Oklahoma Broadcast Educators Association (OBEA) awards in sportscasting. “Faculty, advisors and mentors can be like, ‘OK, you can go do this or go talk to this person,’ It’s really cool. And if you do a good job, they’re like, ‘OK, here, we’ll give your contact to this person,’ and then things happen.”
McGuire said they celebrate when their students are hired professionally and use them as resources to help other students. He said they want to build a network of support from which future graduating classes will benefit. That support includes professors.
Dave Hunziker, SMSC professor and play-by-play announcer for OSU football and men’s basketball, has a unique title at OSU: The Voice of the Cowboys. Hunziker’s play-by-play presence allows students to see their professor call major games in person.
“Working in the business, as soon as I walk out of the classroom, I'm back in my other world, which I think helps students have a real grasp as to what is going on and what to expect once they graduate,” Hunziker said.
He added that SMSC students get job opportunities from multiple departments at OSU.
“I think our success is because of connectivity with our athletic department,” Hunziker said. “I think there's a lot of real-life experience overall with sports, media relations and various social media endeavors where a lot of students are involved. There are a lot of kids going out doing high school play-by-play and just grabbing opportunities. Also, all the professors have somewhat recent, if not ongoing, real-world experience in the business. So what we tell them is applicable right now.”
A student who has taken advantage of opportunities is OSU junior Ryan Breeden, who Hunziker praised for being a go-getter from day one. Breeden has won three OBEA awards for sports reporting with the O’Colly and Pokes Report and currently works for Triple Play Sports doing play-by-play of Blackwell High School football.
“Oklahoma State is very much on board with getting their students the internships they need to help them get that experience,” Breeden said. “You have the academic side where anything in the classroom is very important. But then, in this major, it’s important to get that experience.”
This summer, Breeden was the play-by-play announcer for a collegiate baseball Summer League Team — the Pierre Trappers — in Pierre, South Dakota, where he won the Expedition League Broadcaster of the Year award.
“I learned a ton this summer,” Breeden said. “It was two months of chaos and everything in between, and I came out on the other side feeling like I learned a lot.”
Summing up the program, sports media student Singleton said it’s about recognizing the great resources the program provides.
“They promote us very, very well,” Singleton said. “If you do your job in class, if you do good work outside, if they can see you’re really somebody that works they'll promote you and tell a bunch of people about you. They do a wonderful job of getting us out of here on a good foot. That’s probably the best thing about this program.”
To learn more about the SMSC sports media program at OSU, visit media.okstate.edu.
Story By: Kelli Leech, CAS graduate student | firstname.lastname@example.org