When people turn on the television or go to the Orange Bowl to watch their beloved Miami Hurricanes do battle on the gridiron, they see the players and the coaches, but what the fans fail to see are the people in the background, the people who work their tails off behind the scenes to make sure that the ‘Canes are actually on that field.
Rick Korch is the main guy who takes care of the media and puts together the wonderful media guides the media have that contain more information than one can possibly imagine. These guides make the job of the members of the press much easier.
Enjoy our Question and Answer period with Rick Korch as we continue to introduce you to the inner workings of the Miami Hurricanes football program.
CanesTime - What is a day in the life of the SID of the football team like?
Rick Korch - Hectic. Every day is different because I never know what might happen. The job entails serving the needs of the media and working with the coaches and players to put the football program in the best light. That means setting up interviews from newspapers, radio, television and magazines, writing news releases, looking up statistics. It's a busy day every day.
CT - What is it like putting together all those media guides and how much work does that entail?
RK - The media guide is the biggest job I have during the offseason. I'll spend a lot of the six months working on it, updating records and bios. Next year it will be easier because I won't have to cut 112 pages like I had to do this year to meet a new NCAA rule that mandated every school's media guide be no more than 208 pages. But I plan to re-design the Media Guide for 2006.
CT - What do you enjoy about being the SID for one of the best football teams and programs in the country?
RK - I come from an NFL background, and I call UM the NFL's 33rd team. I like the visibility of the football program, since we get so much national media coverage, on television and in magazines like Sports Illustrated and ESPN Magazine. That makes my job fun when the national media is calling and there are a lot of demands and interview requests. And most of our games are on national television, so that means our fans and the media can see the Hurricanes play most weeks.
CT - What brought you to Miami and how did you end up at SID, talk about the road you took to get into your position?
RK - Like I said, I came from the NFL, spending nine years with the Jacksonville Jaguars before I came to UM in July of last year. Prior to that, I was the editor-in-chief of Pro Football Weekly for nine years, and before that I was PR Director for the NFL Alumni, and I actually started my football career with the Dolphins in 1978, working in ticketing, then moving into PR. I like being on the inside.
CT - While at a football game, are you actually able to enjoy the game or is it constant work?
RK - Both. If everything is going well in the press box and there are no problems to deal with, I watch the game, but I'm also working at the same time. I keep track of our team's participation, because I know the players better than the people on the stats crew, such as when a backup might go in on the extra point team. I also keep track of records and other notes that we give out to the media throughout the game. And I keep in touch with the TV truck for whatever needs they might have, such as injury updates.
CT - How often do you contact and talk to Larry Coker about the different things going on in the position that you hold?
RK - I see him pretty much daily, since he is available to talk to the media four days a week. Mark Pray, UM's Assistant Athletic Director for Communications, is the main liaison with coach Coker, but rarely does a day go by that I am not in coach Coker's office going over something such as an interview request or telling him where the team is ranked in the latest polls. Or he might call me to ask about something statistical that he wants to share with the team in his meetings.
CT - How does it feel to truthfully be the most powerful man in the program when it comes to the media because we cannot do our jobs without you allowing us to do them?
RK - I don't think it's a power thing at all. My job is to help the media, through setting up interviews, making players available, putting out news releases and helping the people who cover the Hurricanes do their jobs. Plus, I have a good assistant in Evan Koch, who helps me and is invaluable to what we are trying to accomplish.
CT - Talk about some of the experiences you've had dealing with people in the media. Any bad experiences that you remember?
RK - For the most part it is a good relationship. I spent nine years working in the media, so I understand their side. I've been there. I also respect the role of the media. What I don't like is all the negativity that is out there these days, and the fact that most people do not trust the media. However, I can honestly say the people who cover the Hurricanes are not a negative group. When the team is ranked sixth or seventh in the country, there's not a lot of bad things to write about. Now there are times I shake my head, but hopefully not too many of those.
CT - How are you able to balance the many interview requests that you probably get for players with their academic and practice schedules?
RK - That part is difficult sometimes. School comes first, and that comes down all the way from Coach Coker and President Shalala. Football is second. After that, we work interview requests around the players' schedules, which includes not just classes but their meetings and weightlifting workouts prior to practice. We're able to get it all done, but sometimes I have to remind myself that these players are truly student-athletes, not like the NFL players I used to deal with. When the day is done here, they have to go home and study. Most days I look at a printout of a players' class schedules to see when they will be available for interviews, and I work around that with players such as Kyle Wright and Eric Winston, who get the most requests.
Check out the first two editions of 'Around the Program'
#1 David Wyman, Director of Academic Services
#2 Jeff Merk, Director of Football Operations
Rudy Rodriguez-Chomat is a Staff Writer with CanesTime and can be contacted by emailing him at firstname.lastname@example.org
Around the Program: Rick Korch
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