In the minutes leading up to the puck dropping between Union College and the University of Minnesota in April, with the Division I men’s hockey title on the line, Union assistant athletic director for sports information Eric McDowell was busy … writing personal notes to the graduating seniors on the college’s Division III softball team.
“It’s knowing how to multi-task,” he said Wednesday.
McDowell, whose two-person staff (and an intern) juggles a variety of sports, from Division I men’s and women’s hockey to all the others that play at the Division III level, will being doing more multi-tasking, as he was named president of the College Sports Information Directors of America (CoSIDA) for the 2014-15 term at the group’s convention Wednesday in Orlando, Fla.
“It’s a dream come true to lead a group of people you love and respect and are devoted to the students,” he said Wednesday.
McDowell said serving as an SID for a school with a big-time Division I program but predominantly Division III gives him a unique perspective to lead a group with 3,000 members from hundreds of schools and conferences across the United States and Canada.
“I can talk and relate to and understand the large-school SID and the small-school SID,” he said.
McDowell’s ascension from first vice president is a historic one: After taking over from Shelly Poe of Auburn University, he became the first Division III SID, and just the second from the College Division, to serve as president of the organization.
“Eric is the perfect choice for president of CoSIDA,” Union athletic director Jim McLaughlin said. “He possesses a tireless work ethic and commitment to all of Union’s student-athletes along with his colleagues in CoSIDA. There is no doubt that CoSIDA will flourish under his able leadership while he continues to provide our students and programs with great exposure for the many outstanding accomplishments.”
McDowell’s career began at the University of New Haven in 1980, when he was named sports information director while still an undergraduate. In 1986, he went to the University of New Hampshire, eventually rising to director of sports communications and also serving as the information officer for the Yankee Conference.
The Massachusetts native then served as SID at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, before becoming director of media relations for the Golden State Warriors. He was the point person in 1997 after Latrell Sprewell attacked and choked head coach P.J. Carlesimo during a practice.
McDowell, a media supervisor for the 1996 Summer Olympics in Atlanta, later worked for the American Hockey League Lowell Lock Monsters and SUNY Brockport.
McDowell, 53, of Colonie, has been with Union since 2005, and became an assistant athletic director in 2008. The following year, he was named to the CoSIDA Hall of Fame.
At the convention Wednesday, attendees were given a copy of a Daily Gazette photo of McDowell wildly celebrating on the ice at Philadelphia’s Wells Fargo Center after Union won the national title — the punch line being it was a departure from the normally reserved and highly professional persona the well-regarded SID has crafted in more than three decades in the business.
“Sometimes,” McDowell laughed, “you can’t help yourself.”
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Categories: College Sports