Schenectady native and 1990 Linton High School graduate Jamie Weir-Baldwin was looking for a school where she could serve an internship in the sports information department in order to complete her college degree at SUNY-Brockport.
She found a place close to home.
Weir-Baldwin broke into the sports information business at Union during the 1995-96 season under then-SID George Cuttita. She is now the hockey sports information director for Michigan State, the Dutchmen’s opponent in today’s NCAA hockey tournament East Regional semifinal at Webster Bank Arena.
“I was finishing up my undergraduate degree at Brockport, and one of the requirements was an internship,” Weir-Baldwin said. “It was highly suggested that it be unpaid. So, it really didn’t leave you a lot of options. I called George, and he was kind enough to take me on. I worked with him over the summer on the media guide and things like that. I fulfilled my degree requirements, and stayed on for the year and helped him out a bit.
“It was a great opportunity. When you’re limited in what your options are because of the unpaid portion of the equation, it was great to have a high-quality internship opportunity in my backyard. I could walk to the rink. It was five minutes from my parents’ house.”
After finishing her internship, Weir-Baldwin was hired by St. Lawrence as an assistant sports information director. After two years there, she moved on to Harvard, where she was the men’s hockey sports information director until January 2006, when she joined Michigan State.
Weir-Baldwin will always remember what she learned at Union.
“Our business isn’t one where you learn in a text book,” Weir-Baldwin said. “It’s a doing profession. The way you become prof-icient or good at what you do is by having those hands-on experiences. The best thing that George did for me is let me do — game night, media guide preparation — things like that.
“You have to learn how to do those things by doing it. It’s not something you can learn by sitting in a classroom.”
The East Regional features three first-time Division I head coaches — Union’s Rick Bennett, Michigan State’s Tom Anastos and UMass Lowell’s Norm Bazin. Bazin has had head coaching experience, compiling a 38-31-7 record in for seasons at Division III Hamilton College.
“Call it beginners’ luck,” Bennett said.
The grizzled veteran in this regional is Enrico Blasi, who is in his 13th season as head coach of Miami (Ohio).
Anastos laughs at the irony.
“Rico is the wily old veteran of the group,” Anastos said. “He’s probably the youngest, too.”
When asked about being the most veteran coach here, Blasi joked, “Does that mean I’m old? Because I think I’m still the youngest of the four.”
Bennett on Lowell
Before he became head coach of the Dutchmen, Bennett interviewed for the opening at UMass Lowell after Blaise MacDonald was let go.
“I went down once, and met with a couple of people there,” Bennett said. “I remember driving back saying that’s the last time I’ll see that school again.”
Not so fast. Bennett was invited back for a second interview.
“I was very fortunate,” Bennett said. “It didn’t work out. Mainly, I was doing that stuff to prepare myself for the future. Little did I know that an opportunity would happen at Union. It worked out great.”
All three games from the East Regional will be televised by ESPNU and ESPNU HD. John Buccigross and Barry Melrose will call the action.
Radio coverage of Union’s games will be on WVKZ-AM (1240) and WABY-AM (1160). Matt DuBrey and Brian Unger are on the call.
The radio broadcast will also be available on the Internet at www.-Teamline.cc.
Union is inviting fans to the Olin Auditorium on campus to watch today’s game. Doors will open at 2:30 p.m., and admission is free.
Highlights of last week’s Union’s 3-1 win over Harvard in the ECAC Hockey tournament championship game will be shown prior to the Union-Michigan State contest.
With the Union students on their winter trimester break, the Dutchmen’s band won’t be playing at the regionals.
But the team did the next-best thing — it hired the Sacred Heart band to sit in.