YSU’s Schmidt, Sumner speak
BEAVER TOWNSHIP – The Curbstone Coaches received a double dose of athletic marketing and promotional tips Monday with YSU assistant athletic directors Robb Schmidt and Chris Sumner sharing insight about their duties to the group at Avion Banquet Center.
Schmidt, who has been the radio voice of the Penguins’ men’s basketball team the past 20 years, is responsible for all marketing and promotions while Sumner is in his fifth year as part of its sales and event management team. A native of Champion, Sumner joined the athletics staff in June 2017 after spending eight years as director of group sales for the Mahoning Valley Scrappers.
“I always wanted to work in college athletics so moving over to YSU from the Scrappers was an opportunity on which I could not pass,” Sumner told the group. “I wanted to remain local, assume more responsibilities and YSU provided that opportunity.”
From March to August, Sumner pounds the pavement selling signage, advertising and corporate sponsorships, creating revenue for YSU’s athletic department.He spends the next six months executing what he has helped sell.
“Advertising for our football and basketball game day programs, as well as for our website is paramount,” Sumner added.
“Working on game day entertainment and scripts is also part of the process. Our focus this season was to create a student section for men’s and women’s basketball games.
“Burgan Real Estate is the sponsor of that section while other promotions to attract students include free pizza, Chick-Fil-A sandwiches and hot dogs for select games. We also have free t-shirts, beanie hats and tumblers for designated games with $2 beer nights every Thursday for men’s games and every Friday for women’s games.
“Corn hole games take place on the upper deck with chances for YSU students to win a year’s free tuition and an opportunity to make a half-court shot at a $5,000 gift at Thom Duma Fine Jewelers are also part of our activities.”
Another focus for Sumner is a hospitality area at Beeghly Center.
“We are pushing back one set of upper bleachers for certain games and selling that area to companies as they can host parties,” he stated. “Last weekend, a party was hosted both Friday and Saturday with more set over the course of the season. Multiple kid’s days are scheduled featuring inflatables on the upper deck with mascot mania nights, kids shooting foul shots after games and autograph sessions also planned.
“The annual teddy bear toss returns for our women’s team December 4 and for the men’s team on December 8. We have multiple Pack the House nights scheduled which include $5 game tickets and $1 popcorn for all fans.
“The basketball season features entertainment every game, multiple t-shirt tosses, mini-basketball tosses, eight, three or more free Dunkin’ for a section if YSU scores 35 or more points in the first half. Free Rise Pies are on tap with on-court contests and continuous entertainment from our pep band and cheerleaders also set.”
In addition to all marketing and promotions, Schmidt helps oversee the department’s broadcast operations and the licensing of all university trademarks. A native of Warren, Schmidt is in his 14th year with the department after spending nearly two decades in radio and television in the Mahoning Valley.
“We help generate income through marketing, sponsorship, ticket sales and promotions,” Schmidt said.
“It’s fun to develop strategies for all athletic department broadcasts and to work hand in hand with our Penguin Sports Radio Network, both radio and television coaches shows as well as special radio and television programming and internet broadcasts.”
Schmidt continues to enjoy his broadcast duties, noting five games remain most memorable for him.
“The Cam Morse pass to Jordan Kaufman for the game-winning lay-up against Oakland in the Horizon League tournament in 2017 is still quite memorable,” Schmidt added. “Beginning the 2012-13 season with wins at George Washington and at Georgia was a great experience while Garrett Covington’s game-winning lay-up at the buzzer last year to beat Wright State, our first-round win over Oakland in the College Insider.com (CIT) post-season tournament and calling games from the Bahamas and U.S. Virgin Islands are also very special.”
His top five Penguins’ players over the past 20 years, which will number 600-plus at season end, include Kendrick Perry, Quin Humphrey, Bobby Hain, Naz Bohannon and Adam Baumann.
Next Monday, Westminster College head basketball coach, Kevin Sioroki, will serve as guest speaker.