A Coach for All Seasons
I don't know how I missed this little blog piece by New York Daily News sportswriter Flip Bondy. Back on March 20th, he wrote about a recent meeting he had with Head Coach Norries Wilson.
Now this story might seem like it's not much, but I guarantee you it is. I have no idea how much previous Columbia head coaches have done to get the local media interested in the team, but I have a strong feeling Wilson is already light years ahead of most of his predecessors. And this is exactly what we need. We already saw the effect Wilson had on his players on the field last season. And now he's working as a PR advocate for the team as well! I wonder if people realize just what a gem we have in this guy. Every week, I get more and more convinced that Columbia somehow lucked out in getting him. I only hope we can hold on to Wilson long enough before some Big 10 or Pac 10 school comes to grab him.
Now, it's true that winning seasons will be the best draw for the media, but as the Mets in the early 80's proved, the marketing infrastructure MUST be there first if anyone is going to notice.
In Bondy and his cohorts' defense, you can understand how Columbia's regular diet of losing records could be less than interesting fodder for your average reporter. Plus, when I worked in local news in NYC in the late 90's, my colleagues often complained to me about how difficult previous Columbia athletic department officials made it for them to get media credentials and other access. But the new regime is apparently much more accommodating. So it looks like both of those excuses are fading away.
Take it from me, even in the "city that never sleeps," Saturday's can be a challenge for a local news producer. Sometimes I would be downright hurting for stories to fill the half hour. The idea of sending a general assignment reporter to a well-attended Columbia game to get some color from the crowd, etc., is one of the better "time-killer" options most weekend producers get. This is especially true once the baseball season is over and Saturday's in local New York sports get pretty quiet.
And while last season's 5-5 team deserved more attention, the media coverage of the Lions during the strong period of 1994-96 was good, at least locally. And there were a lot of national stories on the team when it started 6-0 in 1996. At the Princeton game in particular that year, I remember lots of local reporters covering the game, (unfortunately, that game turned out to be the Lions' first loss of the season, but it sure was beautiful day).
So thank you Coach Wilson for your efforts. And rest assured, if you keep building it... they will come.