The Western Front sat down with Jeff Evans, the new sports information director, to talk about his thoughts on the new job.
Q: What does a sports information director do?
A: We’re the architect of information for the athletic department. It’s changed a lot over the years but the main thing is that we’re in charge of putting information out there about the teams, so the fans, the parents and the students can digest what’s going on in the athletics department.
Every sport has statistics. Basketball, volleyball, cross country and the others have results and we’re in charge of computing those through programs and then putting that into information people can understand.
A lot of it is seeing trends and putting it into context so it becomes interesting and someone might want to read about it — that’s my specialty.
Q: What type of information do you produce? Articles?
A: I’d call them more hard recaps. They’re recaps of what went on—the who, what, when, where and why. Especially now, with the news cycle, people want to know things and how it fits into a timeline.
Q: What are your favorite sports?
A: As a fan, I think baseball has always been my favorite sport — it’s what I’ve spent a of lot time in.
I’m also a big college athletics fan, like Washington basketball. I also grew to love watching volleyball when I was at Arizona State University. As a sports information director, you see how they perform on the court and it’s pretty amazing.
I don’t know a ton about soccer so I’m looking forward to seeing our teams play, as well as softball, cross-country and others. It’s going to be fun to learn all those sports and get involved.
Q: Have you always been interested in sports?
A: Yes. I played a lot of sports, but in high school I mostly played baseball, golf, swam and played water polo. But baseball was always my one true love.
Q: What are your favorite sports teams?
A: It’s funny, sometimes when you work in professional sports, the fan in you leaves. It was my job, my everyday job. Obviously I wanted my team to do well, but I wouldn’t go home and watch sports. I would go home and spend time with my family.
I’m actually excited about becoming a Mariners fan again. I always was one, but now I can have a separation of my job and my love of sports.
I enjoy watching the Seahawks on Sundays, and I love watching my Washington State Cougars.
Q: How was working for the Mariners as their assistant director of baseball information?
A: It was awesome. It was a dream come true, to work in major league baseball. I grew up a Mariners fan, started doing sports information as a sophomore in college at Washington State University and my path took me to Arizona State for five years. My whole goal was to get back to the Mariners.
It was a blessing to work for them. And it was a grind: it’s not for the faint of heart. The hours, the travel, the schedule—it’s tough.
It’s a 24-hour day job at times.
Over the course of those nine years and a 162-game schedule with Spring training, I met some amazing people and some great media members, and I met a lot of different players because of the roster turnover.
My job is to be the middleman. It’s a fine balance between friendship and professionalism—they were my colleges. I worked with them, helped them.
For example, if USA Today called and wanted to talk to Kyle Seager I was the person they communicated with. I had a great nine years with the Mariners and ten years of major league baseball.
Once I had a family, it became a little bit tougher to do everything. We discussed it, and once this opportunity came up we were interested in it. This job is going to be really busy too, but I’ll have a chance to be home a little more, to be a better dad and husband.
Q: As the new SID, what are your plans?
A: First of all, I’m going to carry on what Paul Madison did before me for 48 years — I’d be foolish if I didn’t tap into that. But I’m also going to give it a fresh new look — I will evaluate it and give a fresh face.
But I’ll do it in baby steps, you’re not going to see anything drastic. There will be some new templates and new information on the website.
Q: How have your first few days been since Monday, Oct. 12?
A: Chaos. I’m trying to learn everything and get situated — trying to do a lot of different things at once. For the first three weeks, I’m staying in the dorms at Buchanan Tower. It’s set up like a hotel and it’s perfect because I drove up here on Sunday.
I’m hoping to have my family moved up here by November. After the first six months are settled, I’m looking forward to however many more years here after that.
Q: What do you like to do in your free time?
A: I like to go out and run, spend time with my family and being active. I also love to read. It’s my stress outlet.
We’re really excited to call Bellingham home — that’s the number one draw, to be raising our family here with the school system, pace of life and the quality of life. We are excited to be part of this community.
This job is still busy…but more time to do some of that stuff, so I’m very excited about that.
Q: Where have you worked before coming to Western?
A: I started in sports information when I was a sophomore in college at Washington State University. Then, out of college, my first job was at Arizona State University, where I was the assistant sport information director.
Q: Did you always know you’d go into sports Information?
A: I didn’t. When I was a freshman, some people had it all mapped out, but I didn’t really know. I was considering journalism or criminal justice.
Then there was a speaker in my class who talked about about publicizing the NFL quarterback Drew Bledsoe and other players.
The next day, I came into his office and said, “I’m interested,” and started volunteering, and I guess the rest is history. That was basically 18 or 19 years ago and I’ve been doing that ever since.
And I always enjoyed math in school and the statistical side of things, and it just fit. I’m kind of a closet tech-y guy when it comes to figuring things out and there’s a lot of computer-based stuff you have to figure out.
Q: How was your year working for Texas Rangers?
A: I learned so much in 2006. I met some great people. I had a couple difficult working situations and it taught me so much about the business — it was basically crash course in major league baseball.
I had been trying to get a job with the Mariners a couple different times.
After that year the Mariners called and basically offered me the job.
Q: Is there anything else you’d like to add?
A: I’m excited about getting students involved.
People who have an interest in sports information, media relations, graphic design — I would love to talk to them and help them get some hands-on experience.
That’s what started my career and allowed me to work 10 awesome seasons in major league baseball. There are so many opportunities at a school like Western. We’re not a huge school so there are opportunities for students to get involved.
Hands-on experience is the best. If anyone is interested, come stop by and introduce yourself. And I can see what we can do. There are a lot of opportunities to build your resume and portfolio at a school like Western.