David Plati: Hall of Fame Sports Information Director, University of Colorado
Hi everybody, I’m Brian Clapp Vice-President of Content and Engaged Learning at WorkinSports.com and this is the Work in Sports podcast.
Getting a new boss can be one of the scariest moments of your career. Whether you like your boss or not, you’ve come to know them, their actions are predictable, you know how they will rewact to certain stimuls, what they expect, how they operate. You may not always agree, you may not see eye to eye, but you at least know what’s coming.
A new boss is the unknown. They could be great! But they could be awful. There is a feeling out process, you have ot prove yourself all over again. And in truth… most new bosses like to bring in their own people, people they know, that they have a level of familiarity with...and that means their people might be coming in to replace you.
When I first left CNN and headed to Fox Sports in Seattle my first two months I kept thinking, I wish I had someone here I knew and trusted. I wish I had one of my people around me to rely on and help me teach and train my new staff the way I expected things.
At that time I didn’t consider the fear going through my new staff… they were probably feeling as challenged as I was, wondering how best to work with me, wondering if I was going to start firing people, or replacing them with “my people.”
There is anxiety in the building when major change happens.
My GM at the time told me “the routine when a new person comes in is you fire an anchor or two anchors and bring in new people to freshen things up, you fire a few producers and bring in your people you trust, and then you bring in a few nw lower level people and give them a chance to grow.”
And then he paused...and said “Let’s not do that this time.”
My GM liked and trusted the staff in place, he wanted me to help them grow not just remove and replace them, which I appreciated.
But this is the norm. New people come in, and the bring their old people with them. Change is a certainty.
That is why today’s guest David Plati is even more impressive than his resume.
He’s worked under 5 different athletic directors. At no time did an AD come in and say - let’s replace this guy.
He’s worked under 9 different head football coaches - at no time did they say “I want to bring in my own person and replace David"
Sure, we can list the accomplishments -
- He’s worked or covered over 2,200 CU sports events
- Has worked 5 BCS National Championship games, all 5 college football playoff title games, 8 Rose Bowls and 2 Fiesta Bowls.
- In the pro's he has worked 398 Denver Broncos games and has been the Rockies official scorer for 320 games.
But at the end of the day, he made himself irreplaceable everyday. People wanted him to stay, demanded that he stay. This is the kind of loyalty and commitment we should all strive for.
Here’s the Hall of Famer David Plati…
Questions for David Plati, Hall of Fame Sports Information Director, University of Colorado
1: You’ve had a long and storied career in college athletics filing many roles in the athletic department at the University of Colorado including Sports Information, Media Relations, Associate Athletic Director and you teach as an Adjunct instructor.
Let’s go back to your beginning a bit -- why was college sports the right fit for you and what makes that environment so special?
2: When you attended CU as a student you were the information director for the Rocky Mountain Athletic Conference, worked for the Colorado Golf Association and for the Rocky Mountain News -- that’s some high level experience entrusted to a college student, do you feel these type of opportunities exist for students today, or is it harder to get top level experience?
3: Over your career you’ve had hundreds of student assistants working with you and have gone on to work full-time in sports information or media relations for a college or professional team.
No one knows better than you what makes a successful employee in sports media relations and or sports information -- so tell us, what is the pattern, the common traits, the look of success for people to work in these communication fields?
4: One of your main roles is in Sports Information, primarily focused on Football, Skiing and Men’s Golf - a sport for every season! What’s the process like, how do the day-to-day responsibilities line up for an SID?
5: How much has the role changed in this era of analytics? Everyone is data driven, it’s not just teams and scouts, more and more journalists use advanced metrics to tell their stories and provide analysis -- has this added emphasis on data affected the role of the SID?
6: On the flip side -- with data and information becoming more readily available to the public, what do you see as the future for roles in sports information?
7: The Football Writers Association of America has three times awarded CU sports information for outstanding press box operation and five times with the Super 11 award for all-encompassing efforts with the nation’s football media.
What makes for a good press box operation and how have you gained this reputation amongst your peers?
8: You’ve worked over 460 CU football games, and been a member of the Denver Broncos statistics crew since 1980 -- what are your main responsibilities on game days?
9: As the main liaison between the media and athletic department, how important is it to build trust and relationships with the people covering your teams?
10: I read a quote from former CU football coach Dan Hawkins about you -- he said “"Administrators, coaches, professors, students — they all come and go. But Dave has been there longer than them all. He is an institution. He is so passionate about Colorado and dedicated to his work. He's a grinder. He gets the job done and he does it with professionalism and excellence."
Professionalism, excellence...being a grinder -- are those the attributes every young person who wants to work in sports should aim for?
11: We’ll finish up with this -- this year you’ve been named to the CoSIDA, which is the College Sports Information Directors association Hall of Fame, and received the Football Writers Association of America's Lifetime Achievement Award...As you reflect back on all you have accomplished in college athletics -- what are you most proud of?
Listen in to this great episode for David's answers!
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