Eph Sports tackles social media outreach, virtual recruiting, and more

Kedar Veeraswamy

What is the most visited page on the College webpage? The unexpected answer, according to Director of Sports Information Dick Quinn, is the Eph Sports Information site, where one can find everything sports-related: score updates, event livestreams, and player profiles.  Along with its Instagram account @EphSports, which boasts around 3500 followers, the page touches on all aspects of athletic life, from on-campus presence to recruiting and everything in between. It speaks to the broad reach that Sports Information exerts on its followers. 

By and large we post items to our Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram accounts that are positive stories about Williams varsity teams, athletes, and alums,” Quinn said. 

“We have a lot of different audiences and the older folks prefer Facebook, somewhat younger folks prefer Twitter, and now Instagram is mostly a younger audience. I do most of the Tweeting and Facebooking,” Quinn added. He also highlighted YouTube, where they post in-game highlights and Eph Spotlight video interviews with one member of each varsity team each year. 

Like everything else, Sports Information has evolved during the COVID-19 pandemic. With the supply of highlights plummeting during a COVID-induced sports drought, Quinn’s office shifted its focus. “During the pandemic we have had other offerings such as Ephs Greatest Games [and] Sports Infographics featuring former Eph students who went on to careers in the sports world and elsewhere after working for us. So far, 98 Eph Sports Info alums have submitted infographics, and one [submission] runs each Wednesday,” Quinn said. 

Sports Information has used the pandemic to showcase aspects of athletic life that many may not have known existed; one area that they explored was the history of sports at the College. Both Eph Talk and the Williams Athletics Time Travel Trivia Contest, where athletes and coaches recount the College’s sports history were “introduced to show another side of Eph athletics,” Quinn said. 

Quinn and his team have also tried to illuminate facets of student-athlete life that are not directly related to sports. “Women’s golf [head] coach Tomas Adalsteinsson got other Williams coaches to ask their athletes to submit info that [is] posted as student profiles in a graphic created by Lucera Whitmore [’23], who is a student here and also runs our Instagram page. Student profiles run Mondays and Thursdays,” Quinn said. The profiles feature questions about students’ favorite classes, things about the College they want everyone to know, and aspects of their team that extend beyond the field. 

The pandemic has also presented a reminder of the importance of many athletic staff besides coaches and trainers, such as facility staff, groundskeepers, and custodians, and Quinn’s office has made sure to grant them their proper credit. “We also did some video features on folks in the Athletic Department who are not necessarily visible to the public, but are indispensable in the operation of athletics like sports medicine, athletics operations, physical education, diversity and inclusion and more,” he said. These videos, which pay tribute to the daily work that the staff members do to keep the athletics program running, are released on Instagram and YouTube.   

The pandemic has also caused some trouble for the department. There was a nine-month position in the office designed specifically to handle social media, but it was eliminated under pandemic measures. Without the position, more responsibility fell on Quinn and Associate Sports Information Director Kris Dufour, and they had to adjust accordingly. 

During the pandemic, virtual recruiting became paramount in advertising the school to those who could not experience it in person, and translating the athletic atmosphere has been a focus of Quinn and Dufour’s efforts. While the impact of social media on virtual recruitment is difficult to quantify, Quinn said he notifies Eph coaches of high school athletes who are following @EphSports most weeks, so coaches can be aware of interest from student athletes.

In constructing the Sports Info platform, Quinn also hopes to recruit not only athletes, but also those who seek a career in the broader sports industry. “One of our student workers will be working for [ESPN’s The Last Dance director] Jason Hehir [’98] this summer,” he said. “Another Eph Sports Info worker will be traveling to Tokyo to work for NBC Sports. We’ve had folks go to ESPN, NBC Sports, ABC Sports, CBS Sports, several regional networks and more over the years.”

“We like to say working in Eph Sports Info is the best job on campus,” Quinn added. “We pay you to watch the Ephs win.”