June 27, 2011
That he didn’t want this article published tells you a lot about Colorado College sports information director Dave Moross.
He’s most comfortable toiling behind the scenes, a spot from where he has been one of the school’s biggest advocates.
Moross, 60, will be recognized for his longevity with a 25-year award Tuesday at the College Sports Information Directors of America national convention in Florida.
He trails only Minnesota-Duluth SID Bob Nygaard’s 28 years in the Western Collegiate Hockey Association.
In 1986, Moross beat out 200 other applicants for the job; thanks in part to the support of Jay Beeton, who worked in the CC communications department, and CC coaches he had covered during his time with the Colorado Springs Sun newspaper.
His hockey media guides consistently place in the top 10 in CoSida’s national contests, including winning best cover for the 1999-00, 2000-01 and 2001-02 seasons.
The original member of the CC Hall of Fame search committee is proud of the role he played publicizing the All-America honorees and coordinating the promotional campaigns of Hobey Baker winners Peter Sejna (2003) and Marty Sertich (2005).
That work got him noticed, but it’s the myriad little chores the job requires that make the 25 years impressive. It’s a demanding job that has gotten more difficult.
“The number of people he has to please has grown exponentially,” athletic director Ken Ralph said. “It’s a 24/7, instant access and feedback era.”
It’s a grind but it hasn’t kept him from producing good stories.
“He does terrific work,” hockey coach Scott Owens said. “His attention to detail is good and he’s an excellent writer.”
Fittingly then, here’s Moross in his words:
Question: List a few of your favorite memories in the past 25 years related to CC sports.
Answer: Going to the women’s soccer Final Four my first season as SID was really a thrill. I remember being in the stands at George Mason University in Fairfax, Va., and being sought out by Sen. Tim Wirth, who wanted to wish our team the best of luck. The Tigers beat UMass, 1-0 in a shootout, to advance to the national championship game against North Carolina. We also saw Steve Winwood (musician with Traffic, Blind Faith among others) in the lobby of our hotel during that trip.
We had a great football season under Craig Rundle in 1993. Took an 8-0 record into the season finale against Hastings College, with a chance to earn an NCAA playoff bid after several great victories, but lost a 22-21 heartbreaker at the end to finish 8-1.
Hockey-wise, it really doesn’t get much better than beating Boston College the way we did at the West Regional last March. I do remember feeling nearly overcome with awe in 1996, however, while walking from our hotel in Cincinnati to Riverfront Coliseum, on my way to see the Tigers battle Michigan for the national title. The program really was back on the map at that point, and frankly, that realization was very emotional for me. I was elated when Peter Sejna won the Hobey Baker Award in 2003, extremely happy for Marty Sertich following suit in 2005 but also proud of the way Brett Sterling handled himself after Marty’s name was called instead of his own. Then, to have those two guys plus Mark Stuart and Curtis McElhinney earn All-America honors that same year, took a bit of the sting out of losing to DU at the Frozen Four.
Provide a short job description.
Well, in a nutshell, (associate SID) Dave Reed and I handle all the publicity efforts for 17 varsity programs at Colorado College. We supervise statistics crews in press row at all home events involving most of those sports, serve as liaisons with local, regional and national media outlets as well as conference offices and the NCAA. We write all news releases, season previews and reviews, pregame notes as well as game stories. We coordinate the production of game programs and other publications, maintain archives, set up media interviews with coaches and players, and are responsible for all writing and developing all content on the athletics website. Traditionally, while there’s always a good share of overlap, I’ve focused my efforts on the two Division I programs (hockey and women’s soccer) while Dave takes on most of the Division III duties. Our operation wouldn’t function at all without him.
How has it changed over the past 25 years?
Technology has created the demand for immediacy. People want to know what’s going on as it is happening. There’s little if any room for delays in getting information out there. I remember being given the first fax machine on campus years ago. Now faxing is almost an extinct practice. I also remember keeping stats with a pen or pencil. Now it’s all done on the computer.
Innovations in statistical software have made it possible to print out final stats from a basketball game or volleyball match in a matter of minutes, as long as the equipment functions properly, which it doesn’t always do! We also can provide “live stats” over the Internet for any given competition, as well as live video streaming, which is all pretty amazing stuff compared to the things we were doing back in the late 1980s. Just plain old e-mail itself is mind-boggling to me.
Why do you prefer to be behind the scenes?
Some of it probably has to do with inherent shyness. I enjoy seeing the final results of my efforts, but do seem to prefer going about it quietly, without feeling under a microscope. I just think and function better that way. I wouldn’t call myself a loner; I like working around and with other people. I just don’t crave attention or have any need to be in the spotlight. We’re in the business of enhancing the experience of our student-athletes, and to be successful at that requires a lot of behind-the-scenes.
You’re a real advocate for CC. What motivates you to be one?
I believe in the college’s mission. I think the block plan is absolutely wonderful. I’ve seen what four years at this school has done for hundreds of student-athletes, kids that have worked in our office, and my own daughter. The ways they grow from the time they come in as freshmen to the day they walk through graduation ceremonies is astounding. It’s an honor and a pleasure to play even the smallest part in that transformation — from the perspective of a publicist, boss, friend or parent.
Is it difficult not to cheer for the Tigers during games?
Yes, very difficult at times, and I don’t always do the greatest job of holding back. I love seeing our student-athletes succeed, and really like sharing the joy when they do. At the other end of the spectrum, I feel the disappointment and pain of defeat as well.
What’s the best part of the job?
I think experiencing that range of emotion I just addressed in the last question. Getting to know the kids, watching them grow. Witnessing great moments in competition and reminiscing about them years or even decades later. Being involved with Hall of Fame inductions. Getting together and working with colleagues from other schools who face the same challenges as I do. Contacts in professional hockey and throughout the media nationwide.
The most challenging?
Establishing boundaries and priorities while keeping organized enough to successfully juggle all the various aspects, demands and expectations that come with the profession. Maintaining a healthy balance between life on and off the job.
The most satisfying?
Seeing the fruits of my labor pay off in awards for our student-athletes such as All-America and Academic All-America recognition. Peter Sejna and Marty Sertich winning the Hobey, of course, were truly very special for me. But also, just knowing that I have a solid reputation as an honest, dedicated and fairly competent SID among most people with whom I’ve worked for many years.
What does the 25-year award mean to you?
I’ll tell you, I’ve admired and become friends with so many other SIDs over the course of the last three decades. To be associated in even the smallest way with those people, at least in terms of durability and tenure, is a privilege. I think what we do is a very honest and honorable way to make a living, and I just feel blessed to have survived in it as long as I have.
What a few colleagues had to say
Paul Allan, Minnesota State-Mankato: He’s one of the best writers in our profession and he takes a lot of pride in his work.
Erich Bacher, Denver: A member of the media told me a few years ago that after Denver came back from a big third-period deficit at Magness that Dave said in the World Arena press box that same night that “Denver must have a deal with the devil.” He wanted Denver to lose that bad and I appreciate that he loves Tiger hockey that much. I still laugh to this day about that quote. He showed his true SID colors as media host when we won the 2004 NCAA West regional at World Arena when CC didn’t qualify. He did a great job making sure all four teams were taken care of, especially Denver.
Troy Garnhart, Air Force: I remember working with him when Air Force and CC played lacrosse back in the old days and we watched a game in the CC press box. The Tigers upset Air Force that day and we were trying to figure out how big a deal it was and how to write it up for the paper. His passion for CC, knowledge of the news industry and respect for opponents shined through that day and has ever since. He’s a real credit to the area sports scene and is very well respected by his peers in the area and throughout the country.
Bob Nygaard, Minnesota-Duluth: He’s a professional above all else and someone that young people in the sports communication field can learn a thing or two from. Dave and I are from the old school where good writing skills and cultivating and maintaining strong relationships with media still matter. The SID profession can use more Dave Morosses, that’s for sure.
Doug Spencer, Western Collegiate Hockey Association: He has been a tremendous asset to Colorado College and the athletic program — as well as the WCHA — throughout his career. He is passionate and dedicated and has always been willing to do whatever it takes to get the job done and done to the best of his ability. He pays attention to detail, is an outstanding writer and knows his job as well as anybody in the business. He is always among the first to answer any requests I have.
Other longtime SIDs
Colorado colleges are blessed with a number of head SIDs with a longtime connection to their school.
Doug Fitzgerald, Colorado-Colorado Springs, 10 years
Troy Garnhart, Air Force, 10 years (12 more as assistant SID before)
Gary Ozzello, Colorado State, 33 years (including five after promotion to oversee all external operations, including sports information)
David Plati, Colorado, 27 years (six more as assistant SID before)