The great Phil Caskey, assistant sports information director at West Virginia who not only handles all communications for women’s basketball, but also unearths some fine news and notes for the football team, somehow finds the time to teach a graduate level class in the sports management program. Already this semester, he’s featured guest lecturers like Bob Hertzel, now of the Fairmont Times West Virginian, and Joe Brocato, of WDTV in Clarksburg.
Tuesday, he brought his class to the Puskar Center for the weekly Rich Rodriguez press conference. Initially, I thought it was lazy teaching, but it’s actually a good idea. Far tooÂ manyÂ graduates ofÂ similar programsÂ around the country enter the working world without real-life experience in such areas. Subsequently, they’re in awe or lost the first few times they encounter those situations. This, though, gave then a different look into the world they’re about to enter. They may never be in a press conference again, or maybe they want to be around more now, but they definitely understand what happens.
And fortunately for Caskey’s class,Â Rodriguez’s press conference isÂ always entertaining and sometimes hilarious.
Not that that’s some sortÂ of a surprise, because Rodriguez is never drab or boring, but this Tuesday thing is sometimes his fourth media obligation in as many days. He’s available immediately after a game, then the day after on a conference call, then on Monday’sÂ Big East coaches’ teleconference and then finally in his press conference. You could understand if he went through the motions at the end of the line. Or if he flew off the handle, like Colorado’s Dan Hawkins.
Yet there’s always something fresh, even if he finds new ways to answer old questions, and more and more it seems like a show meant to entertain and not necessarily inform the masses.
Check out Tuesday’s hereÂ (right side, under “Our Latest Podcasts,” the “10/9 Rodriguez Presser.” Honestly, he needs only a few minutes to make a “Lion King” reference.)
In a way, it’s a must because he’s theÂ face of a highly visible program. Within minutes of theÂ event’s conclusion, everything he was asked and everything he saidÂ in reply is up on the InternetÂ and ready for the world’s consumption. It’s later televised and ultimately cut up into littleÂ pieces and dispersed by the media throughout the week.Â For Caskey’s class to observe the give and take with the media and the coach, to see the formal and not-so-formal nature of the interactions surely shed some light on a world they might not have known.