Chuck Pool, the Assistant Athletic Director for Media Relations Director for Rice's Athletic Department, spoke to the the SMGT 466 (Media Relations) class today about the different ways that the university is able to generate positive publicity in a crowded sports market like Houston.
"A lot of professional teams and college programs can afford to by 'order takers' meaning that the media is going to cover everything that they do no matter what," Pool said. "At Rice, we have to be story tellers. We have to get our message out there so that people hear these great stories about the athletes and teams at Rice. In order to place these stories, you have to have a relationship and credibility with the media.”
Many things have changed during Pool’s 25 years of working in the industry which has caused him to constant stay up to date with technology and media patterns. For example, with www.RiceOwls.com, the department’s official webpage, Pool basically controls his own media outlet as fans go in droves to find information and watch live games on the site. Pool admits that this technology has changed his job (and the jobs of other media relations directors) considerably. In the past, media relations directors relied on the media 100% to get the message out to the public. Now, media relations directors have much better control.
A former football player at the University of Nebraska, Pool later moved into the school’s sports information department where he assisted on a successful Heisman Trophy campaign for Mike Rozier. Before coming to Rice in 2006, Pool was the first media relations director for the Florida Marlins. He also worked seven years with the Houston Astros.
The class watched several different videos involving Rice Athletics including head football coach David Bailiff’s introductory press conference as well as a human interest story about pitcher Cole St. Clair and wide receiver Jarett Dillard graduating. Pool was able to provide valuable background information regarding each occasion in regards to the planning, pitching, and execution of each opportunity.