Technology key to promoting YSU athletes
BEAVER TOWNSHIP — For Youngstown State sports information director Trevor Parks, no two days are alike, nor is there a script he follows from one day to the next.
In his eyes, that’s a good thing.
The longest tenured SID in YSU athletics history — he’s currently in his 20th season at the helm — Parks manages all aspects of media relations for YSU’s 19 men’s and women’s sports. He also oversees a staff as he handles all media relations for the Penguins’ football team.
Speaking to the Curbstone Coaches during Monday’s weekly meeting at Avion Banquet Center, Parks told the membership that the profession is constantly evolving, and he must adapt to what people want to see, all the while keeping the basics of the job still relevant.
“There is always something going for all of our sports,” Parks said. “The graphics and video content that we’ve started to create and been creating has had a huge impact on promoting both YSU athletics and our student-athletes.”
The recently completed, state-of-the-art Don Constantini Multimedia Center, which is located on the East Side of the Stambaugh Stadium football field, is a model that other schools have already taken notice since its opening.
“We’ve had great reviews by all the visiting media, guests and the TV crew that broadcast our recent North Dakota State game,” he added. “Everyone worked extremely hard to get it ready for our season opener with Howard University this past Sept. 7. We literally carried the furniture and much of the equipment up the steps because the elevator wasn’t approved until three days prior to the game.
“The final inspection was scheduled for the Thursday prior to our season opener, but the inspector forgot about his appointment and luckily he showed up on Sept. 6 to give us an all-systems go.”
Parks said everything is wired so that when game day arrives, the only thing left to do is just set up video cameras for their in-house ESPN productions. When outside TV crews come to Stambaugh Stadium they don’t have any cables that they need to run into the facility.
“Our productions are some of the very best around and it’s all people with YSU ties,” he said. “We use two younger YSU students on cameras during the games while the classroom will feature five wall monitors and two projectors, which will be ready to host classes when the spring semester begins in January.”
Parks’ staff consists of Jamie Hall and John Vogel, each of whom serves as assistant director of athletics communications; Drae Smith, assistant director of athletics communications-event management; Kevin Davis, video production specialist; and Derek Skinner, graduate assistant of athletics communications.
The group is currently dealing with new NCAA basketball software.
“A big change for our profession this winter is the new basketball statistics software called NCAA Live Stats, which was created by Genius out of Germany,” Parks said. “Members of the Penguin Club will notice a different looking score sheet when it is passed out at the games, but otherwise it’s something that a lot of people won’t notice. We’ve just had to adjust quite a bit. We have used Stat Crew software since I’ve been involved at YSU and that was all keyboard work. Now, everything is mouse-click driven and it is supposed to provide all kinds of new reports while providing for more efficient statistics on a national basis.”
Parks noted that the NCAA already has new statistics software for volleyball and soccer and next year, is supposed to have baseball, softball and football ready that they will roll out.
“Graphics intern Paxton Rembis has been a huge asset,” he said. “He used to work in our equipment room and now helps the communications department. He has brought some great outside ideas to our team and he is extremely talented. Dom Joseph has really stepped up to assist us in video content and that’s been a major help.
Parks also helps coordinate the department’s ESPN3 broadcasts and assists with the day-to-day social media efforts for Penguins athletics, updating and providing general maintenance on YSUsports.com as well.
He also assisted in the redesign of the athletic department website, most recently in July of 2019.
Honored multiple times by CoSIDA (College Sports Information Directors of America) for excellence with his football media guide and game day program, Parks has garnered top honors on several occasions and annually ranks in the top-10 in each category.
Next Monday, Adam Barta, Guinness world record holder and one of the area’s top all-time bowlers, will serve as guest speaker.