SID Thrives at DIII Centenary College
“I love my job,” said an upbeat Patrick Meehan, Centenary College’s assistant athletic director for strategic communications.
You would expect such a positive approach from a Gentleman. Sure, Meehan may hold the door open for strangers or assist old ladies crossing the road, but it is appropriate to call him a Gentleman simply due his work at Centenary. All male Centenary athletes are known as Gentleman. Women athletes are fittingly dubbed Ladies. Working in sports information, that too gets you the honor.
While the nicknames are unique at this Shreveport DIII school with an enrollment of just over 500, all the duties and responsibilities Meehan faces while working as an SID are not. In fact, they are consistent with what others working in a similar capacity at other DIII schools encounter. The demands from coaches, administrators and student athletes are just the same as their more recognized DI brethren, but they have to be executed with a fraction of the budget and far less support staff.
After working in different capacities at some DI institutions, Meehan thrives meeting all the demands he faces at Centenary.
“You work very hard at the DI level,” said the 40-year old Meehan. “But it is so much more focused and specialized. You are working with just a few teams. At Centenary, I am working with 19 varsity teams, one club team, and I’m a one-man shop.”
As an undergraduate, Meehan worked in sports communications at Louisiana State University and first served as an assistant in media relations at the University of Alabama at Birmingham after graduation. Then came the opportunity for him to return to his Shreveport roots and work in media relations for the Independence Bowl Foundation beginning in 2005.
Meehan cites “juggling” as one of his skills. He uses that as an analogy to describe the multitude of roles he simultaneously must play promoting the Ladies and Gents.
“The other day I was sitting courtside at one of our basketball games and I had to start thinking about live streaming our swimming meet,” Meehan began. “Then I had to do some work on the volleyball awards. And I had to finalize a photoshoot for gymnastics. All of this was rolling around my head at once. If I was at DI school I would probably be thinking about just one team.”
Don’t worry, Meehan isn’t suffering from information overload. In fact, he prefers the “juggling” a DIII environment provides. It also allows him ample time to spend on the sidelines with his 10-year old son Jacob getting close to the game action.
“I'm lucky enough to be living my dream job and in my hometown,” Meehan said.
Another aspect of working at the DIII level is championing the achievements of Centenary’s student athletes.
“In DIII, if you want to get coverage for your players, you have to actively work hard and seek it out,” Meehan explains. “Without the same level of media coverage that other levels get, you need to fight hard to get coverage.”
Excitedly, the men’s basketball team has had a lot of recent success for Meehan to publicize. In 2020, the squad made an NCAA Tournament appearance after winning the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference (SCAC) title.
This year’s team was a preseason pick to finish 3rd by the coaches of the Southern Collegiate Athletic Conference, sitting just behind Trinity University (San Antonio) and the University of St. Thomas (Houston). Expect the Gents to play their trademark tough defense — gave up a league best 61.9 points in 2020-21 — and get plenty of their scoring from junior forward Seth Thomas, who poured in 15.3 per game last season, good for third in the league.
Historically, Centenary may be familiar to hoops fans with a little grey in their hair as it serves as the alma mater of Boston Celtics legend Robert Parrish (’76). At that time, the school competed at the DI level. In 2011, the administration decided that its relatively small enrollment was best suited for DIII.
Regardless of the division, Meehan believes Centenary’s student-athletes deserve the same recognition they would receive at any other school.
“I want these kids’ stories to be read, to be heard. They work just as hard as any other college athletes,” Meehan remarks.
Meehan is constantly pitching stories to the hometown media outlets of all the Centenary players. That includes small towns all around Louisiana along with the much larger Dallas, Houston and San Antonio markets.
It’s a little easier these days to get the word out about Centenary basketball because of the relatively affordable digital tools at Meehan’s fingertips. All the school’s home basketball games can be found here for free.
Meehan also works alongside some of the student athletes to help create and share video highlights via Tik Tok, Twitter and Instagram. Look for his work on Twitter at @GentsBasketball.
Staying abreast of the new trends in social media is something Meehan has had to do since entering this business.
“I’ve seen all the changes and always had to follow what’s going on with social media,” Meehan explains. “Back in 2009 when I was at the Independence Bowl, we had to start tweeting before most people even knew what that meant.”
When basketball fans watch Centenary or any other DIII program on a streaming platform or see video snippets on social media, Meehan believes they will like what they see.
“People watch our basketball and say ‘this is a quality product.’ There isn’t a major drop-off in talent or play from any other level.”
Spoken like a true Gentleman.
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