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Broadening the Binghamton Brand
September 10, 2013
By Terrence Lollie
Typically Division I athletic administrators use the summer months to recharge their batteries, enjoy their vacation or hone their golf skills, but Ed Scott, Binghamton University’s associate director of athletics for student services, had little time for those luxuries. Scott logged thousands of miles flying all over the country, building the Binghamton brand.
In just two months, Scott was named to the Minority Opportunities Athletic Association (MOAA) Board of Directors, began his first year as a member of the NCAA Division I Baseball Selection Committee and was an adjunct lecturer at the University of Washington.
“What these opportunities have done is help in getting the Binghamton name out there,” Scott says. “People in these areas now have a face to put with the name ‘Binghamton’ and are left with a personal connection.”
Since arriving at Binghamton in 2008, Scott has welcomed every opportunity to build the Binghamton brand through his various endeavors on campus as well. He’s been instrumental in Binghamton’s student-athletes achieving a cumulative 3.10 GPA five consecutive years (2008-13), and his commitment to developing his leadership skills continues to benefit the department and the University.
Two examples of this are Scott’s involvement in the NCAA Leadership Institute and Binghamton’s Leadership in Action Symposium, which propelled him to the hectic summer schedule.
In early June, he attended conferences of the National Association of Collegiate Director of Athletics (NACDA) in Orlando, where he participated in his first MOAA Board of Directors meeting. From there he returned home for 24 hours before hopping on a plane to Omaha for the College World Series. For the final leg of his summer journey, he headed to Seattle to teach a class on the Foundations of Leadership at the University of Washington. In total, he was in the air for more than 10,000 miles.
“It was a crazy, but very fulfilling summer,” Scott says. “Each was a phenomenal opportunity for me, not only to broaden my abilities, but to expand the Binghamton brand.”
Scott’s summer tour started in Orlando, where he began his tenure on the MOAA Board of Directors, an organization he has been a part of since 2010. Coincidentally, the same day he received his offer from the University of Washington, Stan Johnson, the executive director of the MOAA, left him a message, inviting Scott to serve on the board.
“Knowing Stan from bringing him to campus for diversity training, it was kind of full circle,” Scott says. “And part of the reason I accepted his offer was that I believed it perfectly aligns with what President Harvey Stenger is doing with the Road Map. It was a no-brainer decision.”
Serving on the board with Scott is his long-time mentor, Dr. Lee McElroy, director of athletics at the University at Albany. McElroy was Scott’s AD during his Division I baseball career and a mentor during his time as a student services assistant there.
“As a student-athlete and former staff member at UAlbany, I knew Ed had a bright future in Intercollegiate Athletics,” McElroy explains. “Ed understands the importance of consistent leadership based on core values, which allows him to contribute significantly to any endeavor he engages in.”
During his time with the MOAA, an affiliate organization of the NACDA, Scott and approximately 12 other members will be responsible for providing direction for minorities in intercollegiate athletics. Each board member works in a certain area of expertise, and Scott hopes to focus on membership and professional development when his four-year appointment begins this fall.
“Being able to work with an outside organization for intercollegiate athletics that is aligned so closely with the diversity initiatives on campus is a tremendous overlap,” he says.
Last May, Scott was named to the NCAA Division I Baseball Selection Committee and had to wait a full calendar year to see the opportunity come to fruition. The youngest and sole minority member on the committee, Scott was assigned as the chair of the northeast region and the vice chair of the south region. Before arriving in Omaha, Scott received a first-hand look at the selection process and found out it was much more intricate that he initially thought.
“Being named to the committee was a great honor,” according to Scott. “But actually seeing it up close and personal was an eye-opening experience. The amount of data that you have to breakdown is ungodly,” he says. “From the outside looking in, most people don’t understand how much thought goes into the process . . . a typical day could last as long as 10-12 hours.”
Committee Chair and Big West Commissioner Dennis Farrell notes that Scott was 100 percent ready for the job. “Ed came in and hit the ground running,” Farrell says. “There was no learning curve for Ed, he just jumped right in and fit in great with the group.”
Coincidentally, Scott’s first year came with an added bonus, as the Binghamton baseball team earned its second-ever trip to the College World Series by virtue of capturing the 2013 America East title. When the discussion of the Bearcats’ placement in the tournament began, Scott was asked to leave the room, which was a special kind of honor.
“Watching Binghamton win the America East title was one of the coolest things about the process,” Scott says. “Binghamton was actually the last school to get the automatic qualifier and having all these guys from major conferences high-fiving and congratulating you was really awesome.”
While in Omaha, Scott found out his sports administration experience would be put to use as several of his duties were very basic. He met with the staff of each team he was responsible for, which included LSU, North Carolina State and Oregon State. “The experience was very similar to a game-day administrator’s job,” Scott notes. “We meet the team off the bus, help them with any needs and also aid in conducting post-game press conferences.”
A few aspects of his trip to Nebraska surprised Scott, including the opportunity to interact with so many administrators from other schools. He also enjoyed learning how to run a major NCAA Championship tournament — from the finances to the day-to-day operations.
As one of four rookies on the committee, Scott just soaked in his time in Omaha. “It was extremely exciting more than anything,” he says. “To be part of a process I’ve watched for years was a great feeling. And to hear how some of the coaches spoke so highly of the Binghamton baseball program was special.”
Scott’s future on the committee seems bright, according to Farrell. “Ed did a fabulous job and was well-respected by the other committee members. He is a very valued member of the committee and we are lucky to have him for the next three years.”
In Seattle, Scott embarked upon a new journey, joining the faculty at the University of Washington. Although he had been a teaching assistant and a graduate assistant, and he had spoken in public previously, this was his first experience as a full-fledged faculty member.
“Being able to teach on the master’s level and teach graduate-level students was really neat,” says Scott. “Seeing what their perspective on intercollegiate athletics is was interesting for me because it’s different from what we’re used to.”
Scott was brought in by Dr. Sara Lopez, the director of the Intercollegiate Athletics Leadership (IAL) master’s program at Washington. Lopez had witnessed his facilitating sessions at the NCAA Career in Sports Forum in 2010 and 2011 and thought he would be a perfect fit for her newly founded program. The program at Washington is one of just a handful across the country.
“Right off the bat, Ed caught my eye,” says Lopez “In terms of the energy and style of facilitating he brought to the students…he really made them reflect on their experiences and future within the industry.”
While at Washington, Scott taught a class on leadership and critical thinking. The one-year program consists of an eight-month internship and two months of coursework in Seattle. Students are also required to attend the NCAA convention and an abbreviated summer program the following year. “It’s a very intense experience for the students, but being able to have a hand in the next wave of athletic administrators is very gratifying,” he says.
Lopez echoed his ability to connect with the students. “Ed hit a homerun during his time here. He has a wealth of practical knowledge of the industry and that really allowed the students to grasp what he was teaching. He really helped the students reflect on their own values and beliefs and got them to think about how they would operate as a leader in intercollegiate athletics. Being an administrator in the field made his message that more powerful.”
The teaching opportunity there also gave Scott a chance to broadcast Binghamton’s name on the west coast and, as an ambassador for the IAL program, to talk about Binghamton on the east coast, too. “From an organizational standpoint, I think I was able to get Binghamton’s name out there where people would have no other affiliation with the University,” he says.
“I truly hope he becomes an ambassador for our program,” says Lopez. “He now understands what we are trying to accomplish. He is an example of the type of people we want in our program. We want to be able to tell our students, ‘look at Ed Scott, he is the kind of leader you should strive to be, he demonstrates the kind of values and intentionality we want you to have.’ And he did a phenomenal job connecting with the students through his sincerity and conviction.”
Already having demonstrated that he is a desired talent in intercollegiate athletics Lopez fears Scott will pulled in several different directions in his bright future. “We would absolutely love to have Ed back in any capacity possible. But as he displayed, his abilities could take him a number places.”
Scott, who did actually find a few days for a family vacation, hopes that when he looks back at the summer of 2013, he sees it as a great beginning, noting, “As time passes, I hope this summer serves as a launching pad and the impetus for greater things.”
Already on the horizon for Scott are two major accomplishments. First, he has been accepted into a PhD program in Binghamton’s College of Community and Public Affairs, where he will be focusing on interdisciplinary studies. Second, he has been asked to serve as one of six liaisons campus-wide to the newly created Office of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, headed by Chief Diversity Officer Valerie Hampton.
“These experiences, and future experiences, broaden my perspective and I hope the reach of Binghamton University,” says Scott. “I understand how difficult each endeavor can be and how everything is intertwined. However, I would not be able to accomplish any of this without the help of so many people including Dr. Sara Lopez, President Harvey Stenger and Director of Athletics Pat Elliott. Also, special thanks go out to the MOAA selection committee, the NCAA, America East and, most importantly, my staff at Binghamton.”